BOOK NOTE; Twilight of the Elites by Christopher Hayes

TWILIGHT OF ELITESTwilight of the Elites by Christopher Hayes

  • Hayes is an editor at The Nation magazine and has a program on MSNBC

Here is a highly reviewed book, well written and punchy, and focused less on partisan politics than in the rot and gridlock in the political system and dysfunction in the economic system—one of increasing inequality and, also, dysfunction.

We will review all of the books we have alerted you too in greater depth, but for now let’s settle for bullet points that  will take you to the book—an important one—and link it to Our Book’s projected themes.

**He starts out by pointing out that the system has failed by allowing median household incomes to Fall by 7% between 1999 and 2010. This is just the tip of a statistical iceberg that highlights the grinding of the middle class by a 1 or 10% of earners who have done far better than the 90% below them.

**He states that there is an existential failure of nearly “every pillar” of society: presumably government—including Congress the executive and bureaucracy and the courts, business, the press, educational institutions, medical ones, etc.

 

** He points out that the Iraq war killed 4500 American soldiers and 100,000 + Iraqis (almost certainly a too-low estimate), and cost $800,000,000 (no the figure is closer to 2 trillion when accounting for a broader range of expenses) and tops it off by observing the abject failure of response of all levels of government to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

** He cites egregious failures within the business community/”Private Sector” that go beyond the general inequalities: Enron, WorldCom, the big three auto companies, Lehman brothers, the credit default swaps, Bernard Madoff etc.

  • He notes that the jump-starting of the auto industry under the bail-out, by the Obama administration in 2009, was “stunningly successful” but was perceived in a way that showed modest gains, hiding the fact that thing would have been far worse without these interventions

This is all in the Introductory Chapter 1. Chapter Two deals with Meritocracy and shows how a promising concept has been tainted by a wealth driven higher education system that increasingly favors more prosperous students, thus perpetuating the elites, among other effects. More on this fascinating book later: it serves to reinforce our argument that income inequality, which increasingly after the past 40 years, has wrought multiple ill-effects within the U.S. socio-economic system—and its politics.

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