Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Twilight of the Elites

It was an interesting read, but it would be nearly impossible to summarize. It draws from many threads of history to try and weave a narrative of the decline of American institutions and the trust of people in those institutions and then link that to the increasing inequality we are observing in our society. It's a tall order, and I think he does a decent job of building the case that our fundamental posture in the US of distrusting authority, and authority continually doing things to cause us to distrust them is undermining our ability to even approach issues with common understandings. The more forward looking ending piece is hopeful, but nothing more. He thinks that a radicalized upper middle class of well educated people that are not getting the opportunities that are increasingly being accrued by the top percentage of elites will form the core of a body that works to topple the status quo. 

Again hopeful, and overly optimistic without much of a chart forward. See occupy movements for how much good optimism and faith in people will get you, mostly some brutality and some annoyed people that otherwise might have supported you.  If you stuck with me through the Rise of the Meritocracy and are interested in this type of thinking Twilight of the Elites[?] is a good follow up from the American perspective.  Hayes mostly uses the meritocracy as a canvas to paint the American struggle on so while having read Young's book did make the terms Hayes used more concrete and added weight to his argument, Rise of the Meritocracy isn't a prerequisite for reading Twilight of the Elites.

Interview doesn't add much gravity to the book, interesting to put a face to the author I suppose.  I did expect him to be a little older.

The National has a fairly long excerpt from the book at this link or if you want a very digested version that lacks some of the emotional punch of the book The Daily Beast has that here.

1 comment:

  1. Too busy studying to consider other books, sorry. :(