“What does it mean when the capitalist vanguard starts talking about inequality?” asks Chrystia Freeland at Politico:
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Earlier this year, the most reliable way for a billionaire to make the headlines was to compare suggested tax increases to Nazi Germany. Lately, though, the more interesting shift in the politics of the plutocracy has been more genteel.
There will be more Hitler analogies, of course, but another camp among the superrich is starting to tack in the opposite direction. Some plutocrats accept the evidence that capitalism is no longer working for the middle class, and are trying to figure out what to do about that.
It is not just George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire, who cheerfully describes himself as a class traitor and has been worrying about the shortcomings of what he calls free-market fundamentalism for decades, anymore. Among the plutocrats, this once-radical perspective is going mainstream.You could see that in London in late May, at a conference on “Inclusive Capitalism.” In the graceful, gilded rooms of the Guildhall, the historic seat of the City, one of the world’s two centers of finance, international investors controlling $30 trillion worth of asset–one third of the global total—gathered to discuss, as Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever, put it, “the capitalist threat to capitalism.”
Capitalism, Polman and Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the conference’s organizer, wrote in an introductory essay, “has often proved dysfunctional in important ways.