The new power elite (2018)
inequality, politics and greed
in: Anthem's key issues in modern sociology
Elites have always ruled - wielding inordinate power and wealth, taking decisions that shape life for the rest. In good times the '1%' can hide their privilege, or use growing social mobility and economic prosperity as a justification. When times get tougher there's a backlash. So the first years of the twenty-first century - a time of financial crashes, oligarchy and corruption in the West; persistent poverty in the south; and rising inequality everywhere - have brought elites and 'establishments' under unprecedented fire. Yet those swept to power by this discontent are themselves a part of the elite, attacking from within and extending rather than ending its agenda. The Trump plutocracy, the entrenchment of Chinese 'communist' rule and the separatist movements now splitting Europe fit a recurrent historical pattern. 'Greedy Elites' shows how major political and social change is typically driven by renegade elite fractions, who co-opt or sideline elites' traditional enemies. Many recent analyses have chronicled elites and their excesses, bemused at their post-crisis resilience. This is the first book to combine the politics, economics, sociology and history of elite rule to present a compact, comprehensive account of who's at the top, and why we let them get there.