Tag Archives | Elites

Why The Rich Are Freaking Out

Dollar symbol goldPolitico‘s Ben White tells us that the 1%, the super wealthy elite, are having a collective meltdown at the prospect of less favorable attitudes and laws targeting them:

The co-founder of one the nation’s oldest venture capital firms fears a possible genocide against the wealthy. Residents of Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side say the progressive mayor didn’t plow their streets as a form of frosty revenge. And the co-founder of Home Depot recently warned the Pope to pipe down about economic inequality.

The nation’s wealthiest, denizens of the loftiest slice of the 1 percent, appear to be having a collective meltdown.

Economists, advisers to the wealthy and the wealthy themselves describe a deep-seated anxiety that the national — and even global — mood is turning against the super-rich in ways that ultimately could prove dangerous and hard to control.

President Barack Obama and the Democrats have pivoted to income inequality ahead of the midterm elections.

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The Handbook of Human Ownership

A friend and cohort recently sent me a link to the Handbook of Human Ownership: A Manual for New Tax Farmers by Stefan Molyneaux of Free Domain Radio. I don’t agree with every point he makes, but the satirical and wry delivery of a supposed powered elite’s motivations, their twisted view of history and philosophy is fairly compelling. I may just be a newly devoted listener to this spectacular ”veneer of critical thinking.

“If a reporter imagines that he is some sort of free-thinking iconoclast, he is in complete denial about the reality of his enslavement. This denial always manifests itself in hysterical attacks against anyone who dares to point it out, or who actually is a free thinker… To sum up: if we attack the slaves, we lose. If the slaves attack each other, which is so easy to orchestrate, we win.”

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Elite Panic In The Aftermath Of Disasters

Relevant in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a conversation between BOMB Magazine and Rebecca Solnit about this hazardous, even deadly, phenomenon:

The term “elite panic” was coined by [sociologists] Caron Chess and Lee Clarke of Rutgers. Elite panic [is] the way that elites, during disasters and their aftermath, imagine that the public is not only in danger but also a source of danger. In case after case how elites respond in destructive ways, from withholding essential information, to blocking citizen relief efforts, to protecting property instead of people.

[Elites] believe that only their power keeps the rest of us in line and that when it somehow shrinks away, our seething violence will rise to the surface—that was very clear in Katrina. Timothy Garton Ash and Maureen Dowd and all these other people immediately jumped on the bandwagon and started writing commentaries based on the assumption that the rumors of mass violence during Katrina were true.

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Intelligence As The Marker Of The Meritocratic Elite

Historian C.F. Goodey on the varying terms the elite have used to justify their elite status, via New Left Project:

Four hundred years ago, religious elites saw themselves as superior because they possessed “grace.” This was an inner ability that God had predetermined in a small, distinct group. It was fixed in your nature, “seminally” (i.e. before birth or even conception). “Election” to grace guaranteed your elite status in this life and salvation in the next.

Secular elites, on the other hand, were superior because they possessed “honour.” This too was a predetermined psychological ability. It was fixed not by God but by the quality of certain natural particles in your blood – with a passing nod to the idea that the odd commoner might gradually cultivate enough “virtue” to earn himself a title, as long as he topped the virtue up with services to the state, or flat cash.

Modern meritocratic elites, meanwhile, are superior because they possess “intelligence.” This again is a predetermined psychological ability.

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Why Our Elites Stink

David Brooks, undoubtedly a member of “an” elite set of people in the New York/Washington media/politics world, if not what the Alex Jones crowd usually and ungrammatically call “the” elite, describes the failings of a meritocracy in the New York Times:

Through most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Protestant Establishment sat atop the American power structure. A relatively small network of white Protestant men dominated the universities, the world of finance, the local country clubs and even high government service.

Over the past half–century, a more diverse and meritocratic elite has replaced the Protestant Establishment. People are more likely to rise on the basis of grades, test scores, effort and performance.

Yet, as this meritocratic elite has taken over institutions, trust in them has plummeted. It’s not even clear that the brainy elite is doing a better job of running them than the old boys’ network. Would we say that Wall Street is working better now than it did 60 years ago?

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The Club Of Rome’s Predictions: How Accurate Are They?

Via DW:

Fourty years ago, the Club of Rome released “The limits of growth.” Now, it has released another look into the future. But how accurate are such predictions?

In its latest publication “2052—a Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, the Club of Rome takes a bold look into the future. The 66 scientists and economists that make up the club predict—similarly to their first report (“The limits of growth”) in 1972—that the current economic development could soon tip over. But differing from their view back then, they now put climate change at the heart of their study. Their prognosis is mainly influenced by the assumption that a warming of more than 2.5 degrees Celsius is likely: There will be more floods, draughts and climate extremes.

The use of fossile energy is still on the rise. The goal to keep the global temperature rise under 2 percent will probably not be reached, the report concludes.

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