Customer Reviews


32 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The super-rich and the dramatic and increasing wealth inequality
In order for the reader to gain an appreciation of what exactly means 'dramatic wealth inequality', I present results of research both in terms of absolute numbers and as income multiples. I also draw the attention of the reader that the super-rich occupy the very apex of the wealth pyramid that is the 0.01 percent rather than the 0.1 percent much less the top 1 percent...
Published 16 months ago by Serghiou Const

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of insight into the details but lacking perspective
Chrystia Freeland takes us on a detailed tour of the world (in fact global village) of the super-high-net worth individuals that are growing in wealth and power in today's economy. She evidently knows the Davos set rather well and her access to their world allows insights that others would be hard pressed to discover. On the flip side, knowing this elusive and massively...
Published 3 months ago by bomble


Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rambling and repetitive, 5 Jan 2013
By 
R. P. Sedgwick "Grim Rob" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you were to pick up this book in a random place and read five pages you would probably think it was quite good. The problem is it doesn't really say much different from cover to cover beyond the blurb on the fly leaf - the gap between the rich and everyone else is getting wider. For nearly 300 pages this point is drubbed in with numerous examples to the point of nausea. There seems to be no structure or purpose to the book. It just goes on and on and on about the top 1% and the top 0.1%!

I'd give it one star but it's obviously been well researched and the author obviously knows her stuff and has spoken to a lot of people.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history in the making, 21 Nov 2012
By 
Mr. R. G. A. Thomas "RussT" (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the not too distant future historians will look back and ask "where did it all go wrong" ... the answers are in this book.

The one really important determinant of how well human beings do is the number of folks who live in a society where the gap between rich and poor is small. Absolute wealth is unimportant, it is relative wealth that matters. Countries that people admire, and would like to live in, all have one thing in common ..... sufficient financial equality whilst allowing for some range to encourage healthy competition. Places like Canada, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore consistently come top in measurements of education levels, citizens happiness and economic performance. Of course they all have some very rich residents who choose to live in such nice places - but not too many. Ordinary folk are content with their freedoms to access high employment with health and pensions benefits. Really bad countries have a wide and growing gap between the richest few % and the poor masses .... currently there are places like Russia, Columbia, Greece and the USA - run by criminal gangs who pay negligible taxes and fund the creation of lunatic political parties who dupe the mass electorate to vote for retarded representatives who do the bidding of their masters. This will not last much longer. The masses are heaving with discontent and the screaming rage of revenge - pretty soon this will explode into something resembling the French Revolution ... with perhaps fewer guillotines.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging worthwhile read, 28 Oct 2012
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Billionaires today are the millionaires of my childhood: some are selfish while others devote themselves to philanthropy. How times have changed in nigh on fifty years where the phrase 'to be a millionaire' means little more than being able to buy a bigger house (although two or three million is needed in many parts of London). The world is riven by disparities but what is interesting about this book is the insights it offers on the billionaires of the emerging economies (the so called BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China - although other nations can now be added). If you thought that financial shenanigans were the preserve of the Western banking/financial sector then think again. The author's style is engaging, as you would expect from a journalist. It's an interesting book. But I would have liked more critical analysis on why income trends are what they are/have been (e.g. middle incomes in Western countries). I also have a gripe. The narrative approach is based on the author's many interviews with the super rich from around the world but when quoting from secondary sources she also presents that content in the same way and for me that jars. Quoting from other books shouldn't really be converted into what reads like a conversational style. That said, Plutocrats is well worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well researched, 29 Dec 2012
By 
roy ansell (fallbrook, ca United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich (Hardcover)
too much detail on some subjects. Too much of a liberal bias for me. But I enjoyed reading most of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Super Rich People Are Greedy - Read All About It, 5 Nov 2012
By 
K. Petersen "Ken" (Hemsby,UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm afraid that I didn't understand this book. I do not mean that it uses complex terminology, or that the concepts are beyond the average reader (me!). The book is all about, "The rise of the new global super rich". After reading a few pages, I was shocked at the super affluence that the top 0.1% of society has awarded itself but, the more that one thinks about life, the more one realises that the super-greedy have always been with us. Do I think that it is right that a small percentage of people are paid vastly exorbitant salaries? No. Am I going to lose sleep over it? No.

This is a group of incredibly sad people, who work 15 plus hours every day of the year, rarely interact with their family, or any human being, unless that interaction will earn them more money than the average person can comprehend. The book did nothing to convince me that these people are significant, in any way and, when I reached the last page, my only thought was, "I hope these people find a way to use all their money to buy themselves another life - they seem to be wasting this one."

Ms Freeland seemed surprised that these super rich people were almost exclusively male. As a man, I am sadly not: whilst it is true that ladies have a harder time getting to the highest positions in business, etc., I also believe that, in the main, women are much more emotionally mature. This is a rather silly boys' game and not worth any more of my time...........
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A touch more invective would have been nice..., 7 Dec 2012
By 
chuggachugga - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is no doubt that the economic turmoil of recent years has shone a very bright spotlight on the widening gap between those who have, and those who have not. More specifically, the highest echelons of the 1% and it is the emergence of this new class of super-rich, nation-less individuals that Chrystia Freeland examines in this book

Ms Freeland is plainly a meticulous journalist and a fine writer. Her mix of facts, figures and anecdote does a good, objective job in profiling this new class of global citizens who have done rather well out of the new financial 'gilded age' which has gleamed since the fall of communism and the resurgence of Asia.

But it is this very objectivity that is the books main failing. To be blunt, why do we care about the rich unless we can either lambast them or envy them (or truthfully, often both)

This is no Spirit Level-style expose of the societal risk of such a gulf between rich and poor (or in fact, as the book focuses on here, between the rich, the very rich and the mega rich) so the left leaning will not find food for the spleen here. And it is too intellectual and economically focused for the aspirants who want a lascivious taste of what they might aspire to.

One can detect an undercurrent of disquiet in the writing, but very little judgement on whether things are good or bad, acceptable or dangerous. I can only assume the near-neutral tone is the author's carefully-thought intent - but this book suffers for it. I am probably best described as a lily-livered liberal who dislikes party politics and swings to the left as much as to the right, depending on the issue. But what Freeland charts here is the corruption and failure of global capitalism, a distinctly unfair phenomenon that could help fuel significant sociological challenges. It is important and you have to take a position.

Frankly, I would have enjoyed this far more if it had been written with Guardianista anger. Or failing that, maybe even in the style of a Daily Mail fawnfest, and glossy photos of oligarchs and their uberyachts and bikini-bodied WAGs...)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 5 star book, 16 Feb 2013
By 
Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
CF is editor of Thomson Reuters Digital and formerely deputy editor of the Financial Times. The opening chapter charts the changing economic history of the last two centuries and the move from the USA from a broadly equal society in the early 19C to the present era of extreme inequality globally. The current Plutocrats have made their own money rather than inherited it, are usually middle class from top universities,and have made their fortune early. They are bankers and financiers or technology titans or outsiders like the Russian oligarchs who have been able to take advantage of the sell off of state owned companies.The USA has around 400 billionaires out of 1226 world wide. Underlying their rise is the overall ever increasing inequality world wide and decrease in social mobility and the growing unrest this causes. Freeland's book is a well written and enjoyable account of a serious and growing phenomenon. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important subject treated well, 3 Jan 2013
By 
G. P. Wilkes "Gileyb" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich (Hardcover)
This is a well written book, treating on a subject so large that it seems to be ignored by policymakers. Why are there now so many very wealthy people, and at a time when economic distress and dislocation appears to be increasing? The author uses individual anecdotes and broader figures to tease apart the many strands to this story. The most disturbing and entertaining chapter is the last, where you hear the political views and self-pitying voices, the crushing sense of entitlement, of the plutocrats that Chrystia Freeland was able to interview directly. The feedback between their wealth, the political systems that help create it, and the self-sustaining lobbying that glues them together, is what makes this so disturbing and could tempt a reasonable reader to pick up his or her Marx again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating in a worrying way, 23 Feb 2013
By 
The Emperor (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I know that this could be criticised as merely an extended magazine article but I really liked it. It is well written and persuasive. The author doesn't seem as biased as some authors and journalists who have written on this subject. She is a business journalist which might explain it.

I thought that there was just the right amount of detail and she lets the stats and facts speak for themselves rather than becoming overtly polemical.

This is an excellent, cool and clear headed piece of journalism.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How the 0.1% think, 21 Jan 2013
By 
Chuck E (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Chrystia Freeland has taken some flak for 'going native' in this exercise in the financial equivalent of embedded journalism, and it is true that much of this tome comes across as a eulogy to inequality. Freeland is apt to talk in breezy journalese about her meetings with the titans of corporatocracy, talks over coffee overlooking Central Park, co-chairing the odd Davos assemblage of the high rollers, or snatching some time with a CEO in Aspen. That far it's like Whicker's World on steroids.

But there is more nuance to her narrative than that. Underlying her contention that the generation of such extreme inequality has been a natural process, achieved through the best of intentions, is the suggestion that it is ultimately an exercise in self-destruction.

Early on she claims that the elite 'tend to believe in institutions that permit social mobility, but are less enthusiastic about the economic redistribution it takes to pay for those institutions', and that supplies the basis of her concerns. For all the go-getting, entrepreneurial zeal that has made them billions, the `'self-made men' (and it is an overwhelmingly male-dominated microcosm) threaten the very conditions that enabled their rise - drawing parallels with the decline of Venice following `La Serrata', when the most privileged decided that social mobility was more of a threat than a promise.

The sycophancy breaks to the fore when, for example, Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs talks glowingly about the emergence of a global middle class even as the middle class in the West is being eviscerated by the onward march of market fundamentalism, or when she meekly enquires as to whether Chinese workers might be jailed for striking and accepts without comment the reply that: `It is just the government nicely talking, what do you need? I'm taking care of you. Don't worry. You should go back to work.' Or when Larry Page over-sells the saintly objectives of 'Don't Be Evil', tax-adjusting Google by explaning how it can help people recognise when they're having a heart attack [a tip for readers: if you experience stabbing chest pains and shooting pains up the arm, don't Google-it - call 999].

Nevertheless, Ms Freeland keeps the counter-point motif playing in the background. We hear from Leon Cooperman (ex Goldman Sachs hedge fund legend) that: "I was the first member of my family to earn a college degree. I benefited from both a good public education system and my parents constant prodding." But who now wants to pull up the ladder. Instead of seeing his own story as an endorsement of the era known as 'the great compression' when inequality was reducing and the prospects for those from blue collar families improving (a background that is echoed in the biographies of many of Wall Street's big players) he is intent on eradicating those very advantages by gutting the educational and social programmes that made them possible. Pete Peterson's 'philanthropic' efforts include spending $1bn on setting up a foundation to cut entitlement spending ('self-taxing' philanthro-captalism is another of Freeman's themes).

Dissenting voices like Josh Brown argue that people don't hate the rich, they hate the predators, the rentiers and unjustified privilege. The import of Freeland's argument is that many of those justified wealth-creating activities are in danger of mutating into that kind of unjustified privilege.

We learn of the rampant rent-seeking and crony capitalism that has characterised the growth of the BRICs, we hear of Raja Gupta's move from Goldman Sachs to KKR justified on the account that he can `make $100m over the next five or ten years without doing a lot of work'. This is set in contrast to the image of `the heroic businessman who brilliantly surfs the wave of revolution ... that usually creates lot of value for the rest of us.'

We are told of Simon Johnson's description of the regulatory capture of Washington by Wall Street via K-Street, and the revolving door that exists between the White House and Goldman Sachs' boardroom, or the nexus between the Communist hierarchies in Russia and China and its emergent plutocrats. And yet, Freeland argues: even `some of the most egregious examples of rent seeking in recent decades have been the unintended consequence of liberal reforms designed to loosen the state's grip on the economy'. In her view the subordination of government to the markets has been engineered with the best of intentions, rather than any grubbier motives. It is, no doubt, this attitude that has kept her on the inside looking out, rather than - as with Thomas Frank's Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right outside looking in!

Freeland does highlight the `epistemological wrong turn at the centre of their mistake' - i.e. 'the premise of [the] conversation about the regulation of US financial markets that you learn whether your rules are working by asking the banks upon which they are imposed' (she cites a particularly toe-curling example from our own Howard Davies, calling for more deregulation in 2006).

But I would take issue with her naive contention that: 'what looks, from the outside, as if it must be a nakedly corrupt decision is at least sometimes the work of reasonably honest and genuinely well-intentioned market reformers. That was true, astonishingly, of Russian reforms at the outset and is certainly true of financial deregulation. But legal corruption gets more complicated and more compromising once you start dividing the spoils. Eventually the material gap between the true believing technocrats and the businessmen their reforms enrich becomes an obstacle and a temptation for even the most upright civil servant.' Which sidelines the rampant corruption and fraud that has been endemic in the financial services sector at least since the Savings and Loans fiasco.

However, having suckered us in with the rope-a-dope defence, in which she allows the arguments of the William Kristols, Kochs, and those with a John Galt fixation, which sees billionaires as saviours we should be prostrating ourselves before, quoting Foster Friess: `I think we ought to honour and uplift the 1%', and Denis `we celebrate income inequality' Gartman, Freeman ends the book with the cautionary tale of the decline of the Venetian republic through the desire of those who had made it big to create a moat around their privilege and pull up the drawbridge by establishing the `Book of Gold'.

As Freeland argues, today's `Book of Gold' is a degree from an elite university - something that becomes more remote from blue collar families' aspirations as fees rise and debts mount - or the transfer of privilege from one generation to the next as the 'working rich' of the 80s and 90s become the 'born rich' of their progeny, with those at the top having 'an ever greater ability to tilt the rules of the game in their favour' - thus giving rise to the `Gatsby Curve II' as the concentration of wealth chokes off social mobilty.

Freeland closes with a reminder that capitalists like Henry Ford from an earlier 'Golden Age' understood the need for a growing domestic middle class, while today's plutocrats believe they can rely on a global middle class living in global gated communities. As she warns: 'Elites don't sabotage the system that created them on purpose. But even smart, farsighted plutocrats can be betrayed by their own short-term self interest into undermining the foundations of their own society's prosperity.'

You won't get any answers as to how this can be reversed, returning 'extractive states' controlled by ruling elites 'whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society' to the era when nations like America represented an 'inclusive' approach, allowing 'more people a say in how that society is ruled and access to economic opportunity'. But if you want to get an inside view of how the 0.1% think this book is highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa0a8aae0)

This product

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich by Chrystia Freeland (Hardcover - 19 Oct 2012)
15.54
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews