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Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Elseby Chrystia Freeland
Synopses & Reviews
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year
Winner of the 2013 Lionel Gelber Prize
There has always been some gap between rich and poor in this country, but in the last few decades what it means to be rich has changed dramatically. Alarmingly, the greatest income gap is not between the 1 percent and the 99 percent, but within the wealthiest 1 percent of our nation--as the merely wealthy are left behind by the rapidly expanding fortunes of the new global super-rich. Forget the 1 percent; Plutocrats proves that it is the wealthiest 0.1 percent who are outpacing the rest of us at break-neck speed.
Whats changed is more than numbers. Today, most colossal fortunes are new, not inherited--amassed by perceptive businessmen who see themselves as deserving victors in a cut-throat international competition. As a transglobal class of successful professionals, todays self-made oligarchs often feel they have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Bringing together the economics and psychology of these new super-rich, Plutocrats puts us inside a league very much of its own, with its own rules.
The closest mirror to our own time is the late nineteenth century Gilded Age--the era of powerful robber barons like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Then as now, emerging markets and innovative technologies collided to produce unprecedented wealth for more people than ever in human history. Yet those at the very top benefited far more than others--and from this pinnacle they exercised immense and unchecked power in their countries. Todays closest analogue to these robber barons can be found in the turbulent economies of India, Brazil, and China, all home to ferocious market competition and political turmoil. But wealth, corruption, and populism are no longer constrained by national borders, so this new Gilded Age is already transforming the economics of the West as well. Plutocrats demonstrates how social upheavals generated by the first Gilded Age may pale in comparison to what is in store for us, as the wealth of the entire globalized world is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.
Cracking open the tight-knit world of the new global super-rich is Chrystia Freeland, an acclaimed business journalist who has spent nearly two decades reporting on the new transglobal elite. She parses an internal Citigroup memo that urges clients to design portfolios around the international Plutonomy” and not the national rest”; follows Russian, Mexican, and Indian oligarchs during the privatization boom as they manipulate the levers of power to commandeer their local economies; breaks down the gender divide between the vast female-managed middle class and the worlds one thousand billionaires; shows how, by controlling both the economic and political institutions of their nation, the richest members of Chinas National Peoples Congress have amassed more wealth than every branch of American government combined--the president, his cabinet, the justices of the Supreme Court, and both houses of Congress.
Though the results can be shocking, Freeland dissects the lives of the worlds wealthiest individuals with empathy, intelligence, and deep insight. Brightly written, powerfully researched, and propelled by fascinating original interviews with the plutocrats themselves, Plutocrats is a tour-de-force of social and economic history, and the definitive examination of inequality in our time.
While the Occupy movement faces many strategic and organizational challenges, one of its major accomplishments has been to draw global attention to the massive disparity of income, wealth and privilege held by 1% of the population in nations across the world. In The 1% and the Rest of Us, Tim Di Muzio explores what it means to be part of a socio-economic order presided over by the super-rich and their political servants.
Incorporating provocative and original arguments about philanthropy, social wealth and the political role of the super-rich, Di Muzio reveals how the 1% are creating a world unto themselves in which the accumulation of ever more money is really a symbolic drive to control society and the natural environment.
A timely and innovative book that provides readers with the first global political economy of the 1%, whilst demonstrating how resistance can continue to challenge their rule.
A groundbreaking examination of wealth disparity, income inequality, and the new global elite
There has always been some gap between rich and poor in this country, but recently what it means to be rich has changed dramatically. Forget the 1 percent—Plutocrats proves that it is the wealthiest 0.1 percent who are outpacing the rest of us at breakneck speed. Most of these new fortunes are not inherited, amassed instead by perceptive businesspeople who see themselves as deserving victors in a cutthroat international competition. With empathy and intelligence, Plutocrats reveals the consequences of concentrating the worlds wealth into fewer and fewer hands. Propelled by fascinating original interviews with the plutocrats themselves, Plutocrats is a tour de force of social and economic history, the definitive examination of inequality in our time.
One of the major accomplishments of the Occupy movement has been to draw global attention to the massive disparity of income, wealth, and privilege concentrated in one percent of the world’s population. In The 1% and the Rest of Us, Tim Di Muzio offers the first empirical and theoretical study of the culture, politics, built environments, and social behavior of this extremely wealthy minority. In doing so, he examines the fallout of this socio-economic order and its devastating consequences for the other ninety-nine percent of the population.
Drawing on case studies and incorporating provocative insights into the worldviews, politics, and lifestyles of the economic elite, Di Muzio reveals how the one percent is creating a world unto themselves in which the accumulation of wealth has become a powerful symbol of control over society and the natural environment. This timely and thought-provoking book offers the first in-depth analysis of the global political economy of the one percent, and, at the same time, demonstrates how unflagging resistance can continually challenge and call into question its power and dilute its influence.
About the Author
Sebastian Mallaby has been a Washington Post columnist since 1999. From 1986 to 1999, he was on the staff of The Economist, serving in Zimbabwe, London, and Japan, and as the magazine's Washington bureau chief. He spent 2003 as a Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The New Republic, among others.
Table of Contents
Tables and figures
Introduction: Towards a Global Political Economy of the 1%
1. The Unusual Suspects: Identifying the Global 1%
2. Capital as Power and the 1%
3. Wealth, Money and Power
4. Differential Consumption: The Rise of Plutonomy
5. Society vs. the Superman Theory of Wealth
6. The Party of the 99%: Resistance and Future Prospects
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