Summary of Plutocrats

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Rating

7

Qualities

  • Eye Opening
  • Hot Topic

Recommendation

Journalist Chrystia Freeland’s exhaustive research into the rise of the ultrawealthy class provides a bird’s-eye view of the global economy and a harbinger of where the world is headed. She presents history, modern data, facts and occasional snippets of conversations verging on gossip. Finding nuggets gleaned by eavesdropping on cocktail party chatter in an intellectual book is fun, and it illustrates clearly why you should be less concerned about the gap between the 1% and the 99%, and more worried about the disparity between the rich 1% and the far richer 0.01%. With its insights into the lifestyles and ideations of the “superrich” – plus its snapshots of the plight of the middle class and the increasing peril of the impoverished – this analysis contains more socioeconomic information than a semester of graduate school. Though the narrative is disjointed, Freeland presents solid, thought-provoking insights. getAbstract recommends her work to anyone concerned about the social and political impact of concentrated wealth and power.

About the Author

Chrystia Freeland, former deputy editor of Canada’s The Globe and Mail and a veteran of the Financial Times in New York and London, is the digital editor at Thomson Reuters.

 

Summary

There’s Wealthy, and Then There’s Really Wealthy

Globalization and technology have given rise to a stratum of society made up of the superelite and the ultrawealthy. These individuals typically are young and make $20 million to $40 million annually; their fortunes are self-made, not inherited. They are the 0.01%, the tip-top stratum of the top 1% of the population, and that 1% now earns about one-third of the nation’s income.

The mechanisms that create the gap between the simply rich and the megarich have devastated the US’s workforce. When the majority of American employees end up with a smaller slice of the economic pie, globalization threatens them further. Corporations run by members of the elite ultrarich often amass more wealth by finding laborers in developing economies to do the jobs of skilled Americans for less money. This devalues American labor.

The uberrich are usually active members of the global society; they’re competitive, well-educated and dedicated to their businesses. They believe they have earned their status and wealth by “winning” the economic competition. Their belief systems isolate them from the rest of society and draw them into a pack...


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