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Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else Hardcover – Oct 16 2012
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2013 Lionel Gelber Prize Winner
Winner of the National Business Book Award
“Plutocrats takes a reflective, insightful and well-researched look at the economic disparity that has emerged between the ‘super rich’ - a small number of immensely wealthy people - and the rest of society.”
—National Business Book Award
“Plutocrats took the prize for its immediacy and authority about the future —the world that we must comprehend and hope to manage in radically new circumstances.”
—Lionel Gelber Prize Jury Chair William Thorsell
“Freeland explores consequent issues of equity and accountability with fluency and intimacy, capturing the human dimension of a powerful and disturbing phenomenon.”
—Lionel Gelber Prize jurors
“Chrystia Freeland is an example of the strength and creativity of Canada's authors.”
—The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, on the presentation of the 2013 Lionel Gelber Prize
“If you want to understand the forces that are shaping democratic capitalism, I have a terrific book for you. It’s Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats, the winner of this year’s Lionel Gelber Prize for the best English-language book on international affairs. . . . Plutocrats is an intimate portrait of the world’s new super-elites.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Plutocrats isn’t a book about the lifestyles of the fabulously wealthy, but rather the global trends the book’s titular class surfed to success. . . . Rife with impressive analysis.”
“Chrystia Freeland’s new book Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else throws a hand grenade into the (hopeful) belief that the economic system is just going through a bad patch. . . . Her message is both ground-breaking and chilling.”
“The issue of rising inequality poses a threat to all economic systems but none more so than those anchored in the free market and democracy. Those who agree with this statement will not be able to put Chrystia Freeland’s book down once they have picked it up. For those who disagree, Plutocrats should be required reading.”
—The Right Honourable Paul Martin
“Ms. Freeland is a storied journalist and a superb raconteur. The book is a page-turner, equal parts voyeurism and analytic tour de force. . . . You may celebrate or disdain the Return of the Gilded Age, but Freeland meticulously lays bare the feedback loop between economics and politics that brought us here. . . . Reading [Plutocrats] is a bit like watching capitalism eat itself and wondering . . . will it all end with a Cheshire Cat's smile?”
About the Author
CHRYSTIA FREELAND is the global editor-at-large at Reuters news agency following years of service at The Financial Times both in New York and London. She was the deputy editor of The Globe and Mail, and has reported for The Financial Times, The Economist, and The Washington Post. Freeland's last book was Sale of a Century: The Inside Story of the Second Russian Revolution. She lives in New York City.See all Product Description
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P.S. Having read this book a little more thoroughly, I think my previous dismissal was mostly too generous. The first third of the book is as meandering as described above, the bulk of the middle is much worse (deserving of a negative two stars Amazon rating), but the end gets better.
In her portrait of Western and Russian billionaires, Freeland ignores politics and economics while focusing the biographies and physical appearances of billionaires; she frequently implies that these billionaires are quite simply rich because they are super-ultra-mega geniuses. "Revolution" is her weasel word to omit all political economy, at least until her discussion of China and India. She emphasizes how darker-skinned billionaires in the far east have become rich by capturing state structures to ensure themselves monopoly profits, or something analogous, at public expense. That white-skinned billionaires are immune from such factual analysis can only be called racist.
In between the love letters, Freeland sprinkles in some facts (e.g., the massive increase in poverty and early death rates in the former Soviet Union and the increase in rural suicides in India under neoliberal regimes) to balance out the picture. These bits, while informative, seem an afterthought.
Freeland's forte seem to be sycophantic "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" coverage of new billionaires rather than overt propaganda on their behalf; the two, however, are very similarly offensive -- both morally and intellectually.
I admit, I did not read past this passage in the Introduction. I have never done this before. So I am sceptical of my own review. But the passage above was so blatantly assumptive and inaccurate that I could not read on with any confidence.
First, if we agree that capitalism needs constant growth, then we have to question the rationality of its continuance given that we live on a planet with finite resources - actually the best one we have figured out so far. If capitalism does not require constant growth my argument fails.
Second, many are questioning wether we live in a true democracy. The distribution of wealth evident today suggests we are approaching a plutocracy given the political persuasion that wealth buys. I believe income inequality has blurred the line between democracy and capitalism - if indeed a just society is our goal.
If your starting point has you facing the wrong direction, you will not reach your preferred destination. So I stopped.
Most recent customer reviews
Heavy going but you will learn a lot. It is completely annotated. I must say I skipped a few sections when the detail started to get too deep. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chuck
I was a little obsessed with 1% vs. 99% movement back in 2011. So I’ve naturally been a bit curious about the global super rich since then. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Nishant Mehrotra
Not sure if they loved the book as I had hoped they would. I will have to follow up with them to see what their thoughts are on this book.Published on Jan. 22 2014 by H & M Kilian
The author knows her stuff -- purchased this book for my husband who loves to read books that are based on real content
and Plutocrats is a real eye opener --