Tag: elites

My notes on Pacewicz, J. (2018) It’s The Political Economy, Stupid: ​A Polanyian Take On American Politics In The Longue Durée. Perspectives 40(2) This short piece is a valuable reminder that Trump’s capacity to endure countless scandals while retaining the support of his party wouldn’t have been possible without a degree of political polarisation in which […]

My notes on Davies, W. (2017). Elites without hierarchies: Intermediaries,‘agency’and the super-rich. In Cities and the super-rich (pp. 19-38). Palgrave Macmillan, New York. Who are the super-rich, and what do they want? This is the question which a thought provoking paper by Will Davies begins with and it’s one which has preoccupied me in recent years. […]

There’s a powerful extract in Oliver Bollough’s (superb) Moneyland talking about about the role offshore capital in inflating assets such as wine, art, cars, yachts and most of all real estate, with the latter then used to house these inflated assets. In the process it empowers a new class of fixers, helping manage this wealth […]

What does it mean for policy to be insulated from politics? That’s the question we ultimately confront when investigating the putative depoliticisation of the economy. Matters which should be publicly resolved, through organised processes of contestation, instead get decided privately. We can cite examples of such transitions, consider whether they embody a broader tendency and […]

In his political memoir, Adults In The Room, Yanis Varoufakis recounts a meeting with Larry Summer which took place in April 2015. Only months into his tenure as Finance Minister, he looked to this architect of the neoliberal world order for support as hostilities with European leaders over Greece’s fiscal future rapidly intensified. Coming straight […]

From Four Futures: Life After Capitalism, by Peter Frase, loc 1370-1383: Ironically, the life enjoyed within Elysium’s bubble appears not too different from the Communist scenario sketched out several chapters earlier. The difference, of course, is that it is communism for the few. And indeed, we can already see tendencies in this direction in our […]

An interesting thread I’m following up from Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. This is Samuel Bowles and Arjun Jayadev on ‘guard labour‘: Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number in 1980. And that’s just […]

From Four Futures: Life After Capitalism, loc 234-246: the key question surrounding climate change is not whether climate change is occurring, but rather who will survive the change. Even in the worst-case scenarios, scientists are not arguing that the Earth will become totally uninhabitable. What will happen—and is happening—is that struggles over space and resources […]

From this fascinating paper by Roger Burrows, Richard Webber and Rowland Atkinson: To talk of ‘Pikettyville’ is then to conjure up an image of an urban system that has become hardwired to adopting, channelling and inviting excesses of social and economic capital in search of a space in which the rich not only find safe haven […]

From Rethinking Social Exclusion, by Simon Winlow and Steve Hall, pg 116: One of these is the apparent desire of the rich to retreat into private enclaves free from the malignancies of the real world. They want to encounter only those judged safe, subservient or ‘like them’ –and even then only in sufferance –and to […]

A fascinating observation in No Such Thing as a Free Gift, by Linsey McGoey, loc 785. I wonder if the digital elites who interest me see their wealth in similar terms? It was a Janus-faced ideology; one side of Carnegie was extraordinarily generous, expending time and vast financial sums on goals such as military disarmament […]

I had no idea how rapidly this was growing. From No Such Thing as a Free Gift, by Linsey McGoey, loc 282: Nearly half of the 85,000 private foundations in the United States alone were created in the past fifteen years. About 5,000 more philanthropic foundations are set up each year. There are questions that […]

From Common Wealth, by Jeffrey Sachs, pg 327-328. Quoted in Jefffey Sachs, by Japhey Wilson, loc 1457: There are now around 950 billionaires in the world, with an estimated combined wealth of $3.5 trillion. That’s an amazing $900 billion in just one year. Even after all the yachts, mansions, and luxury living that money can […]

An interesting point in Intern Nation, by Ross Perlin, reflecting on the long term consequences of the institutionalised internship system for the constitution of the professions. From loc 3035-3051: Besides, it’s probably too early to gauge the deepest effects—the internship explosion has only gone fully mainstream, integrated into every white-collar field, since around the turn […]

From Digital Methods, by Richard Rogers, loc 769: research has found that there is only a tiny ratio of editors to users in Web 2.0 platforms, including Wikipedia, illustrating what is known as the myth of user-generated content. Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales has often remarked that the dedicated community is indeed relatively small, at just […]

I realise this is a question I’ve been trying to articulate for ages. This is how Paul Mason articulates it in the Guardian (my emphasis): To the mature democracies of the world, the Panama Papers – as with the Lux Leaks, Swiss Leaks and numerous other data dumps before them – are a warning. If […]

I wonder how widespread this sentiment is? Obviously there are particular aspects of the Cameron case that this analysis applies to, but it’s hard not to suspect that it reveals a broader world view in which wealth is seen as a constraint due to residual class antagonism: You often hear of people being “trapped in […]

A really interesting idea offered by Aditya Chakrabortty in yesterday’s Guardian: To flesh out the corrosion of democracy that is happening, you need to go to a Berlin-born economist called Albert Hirschman, a giant in modern economic thinking. Hirschman died in 2012 at the age of 97, but it’s his concepts that really set in […]

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 255-256: The quality of blind self-absorption is not confined to our national security elites. Many Wall Street and Valley billionaires, living a hermetically sealed existence surrounded by sycophants and coat holders, appear genuinely surprised that their public reputation is not that of heroic entrepreneurs selflessly creating jobs […]