Tag: elites

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 […]

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 123-125: By secession, I do not mean physical withdrawal from the territory of the state, although that does happen from time to time. Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related by marriage to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as […]

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 86-87. I’m beginning to try and catalogue public examples of this defensiveness because some of the over-reactions seem fascinatingly unbalanced: It is surprising how much fear his timid policies have generated among the big-money boys. There are no rational grounds for the hyperthyroid reactions of hedge fund […]

I just came across a stunning quote by Larry Summers, economic and policy doyen of the Democratic establishment, reflecting on the rise of inequality in America. It’s from The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 363: “One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated […]

I’m really enjoying Humans Need Not Apply by Jerry Kaplan. Much more so than I expected to in fact. He offers a thoughtful and incisive insider’s critique, in the style of a less verbose Jaron Lanier, concerning the likely trajectory of contemporary digital capitalism. On pg 105 he writes about the “new regime” creeping up on […]

Peter Thiel describing how the ‘PayPal Mafia’ came about in his Less Than Zero, loc 1238-1251: The first team that I built has become known in Silicon Valley as the “PayPal Mafia” because so many of my former colleagues have gone on to help each other start and invest in successful tech companies. We sold […]

How Google Works is a fascinating book co-authored by Eric Schmidt in which he details, unsurprisingly, how Google works. In the section I just read, he describes how Google sets out to ensure that they only hire A’s, as detailed in loc 1413: A workforce of great people not only does great work, it attracts […]

An interesting extract from Steven Levy’s In The Plex about Google’s Associate Product Managers, a select group being groomed as future leaders. From page 3: The APM program, I learned, was a highly valued initiative. To quote the pitch one of the participants made in 2006 to recent and upcoming college graduates: “We invest more […]

A really insightful Paul Krugman article on a topic I’m getting increasingly fascinated by: Wealth can be bad for your soul. That’s not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it’s a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely […]

As over-the-top rants go, this one’s a doozy. It’s possible this is all a contrivance but why would a senior lobbyist come out with something so contrary to his industry’s interests? I’m really interested in the defensiveness creeping in amongst elites who see themselves as embattled, as well as the possible courses of action this might […]

From Untangling The Web, by Aleks Krotoski, pg 53-54: Joi Ito is the head of the Media Lab, a powerful thinktank based at MIT, one of the most respected academic institutions in the US. The Media Lab has been one of the most influential research laboratories for developing cutting edge technology. It’s also been in […]

From Gates, by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews, loc 10326: Aging brought another challenge—what one female friend called the “fear of not having any more brilliant ideas. The idea that after thirty, you’re kind of over the hill, that you’re not being clever anymore.” Steve Jobs, she believed, had a similar fear, one he and […]

This is the debate which the Financial Times says has been prompted by Mark Carney’s intervention on climate change earlier in the week. His point seemed rather incisive to me, observing that “Since the 1980s the number of registered weather-related loss events has tripled” and that furthermore “Inflation-adjusted insurance losses from these events have increased from an […]

From Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis, pg 302-303 One of the managing directors from London, who happened to be in New York, actually took me aside to practise an argument he planned to put to the Bank of England. He had calculated the sum of the losses of the banks underwriting BP to be 700 […]

From Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis, pg 302-303 One of the managing directors from London, who happened to be in New York, actually took me aside to practise an argument he planned to put to the Bank of England. He had calculated the sum of the losses of the banks underwriting BP to be 700 […]

Absolutely fascinating comments offered by Varoufakis in response to unfolding events in Greece: In the wake of Tsipras’s unexpected move on Thursday to call early elections, Varoufakis said: “Tsipras made a decision on that night of the referendum not only to surrender to the troika but also to implement the terms of surrender on the […]

From Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich pg 57-58. I’m very interested in how social expectations are generated amongst elites, how these in turn shape competitive pressures and the implications these have for how they orientate themselves towards non-elites. I’ve been looking through journalistic sources for examples of the super-rich complaining about their […]

From Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich pg 54-55: Carnegie asserted that knights of capitalism like himself “ and the law of competition between these” were “not only beneficial, but essential to the future progress of the race.” No one would talk like that today, but our champions of capital do like to […]