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Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich by [Freeland, Chrystia]
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Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Length: 328 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"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

About the Author

Chrystia Freeland is 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 Canada's Globe and Mail and has reported for the Financial Times, Economist, and 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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1423 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009CTYWLS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #238,410 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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 influential group of people - the unelected powers behind much of the `democratic' decision making process - she also seems to lack some more fundamental perspective that might come of not being so closely entangled in their lives.

She states that we live in unprecedented times of growth when compared to previous times of wide disparity between rich and poor; she states that much of the wealth of the newly-minted plutocrats comes from their salaries rather than their properties and yet I don't believe she once mentioned the simple mathematics of exponential (percentage) growth and how it can widen the rich-poor divide. She also falls into the classic pitfall of assigning too much agency to the results. Yes there are some super-rich individuals and they did leave many of their peers behind. But this doesn't necessarily mean that they did `something right'. Most entrepreneurial ventures will fail (statistically speaking) and those that fail don't often get asked what they did wrong simply because they don't feature on the journalistic radar. In fact, if you did ask them, those that failed will cite external difficulties - those that succeeded will cite their cunning and guile, grit and determination or whatever `special sauce' they believe they possess. Of course I'm not suggesting it's all luck.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 of the population.

Respected Berkeley professor of Economics Emmanuel Saez presents the following research findings on income inequality for the U.S. in 2010: Families at the top 0.01 percent made $23,846,950; that dropped sharply to $2,802,020 for those in the top 0.1 to 0.01 percent. Those at the top 1 percent made $1,014,089; those in the top 10 percent made $246,934. While the bottom 90 percent made an average of $29,840.

Meanwhile Winters, a U.S. political scientist, has created a 'material power index' (MPI), which measures the income of the 10 percent of Americans as a multiple of the average income of the bottom 90 percent. His material power index shows that income polarization in America gets sharper the richer you are: the top 10 percent have an MPI of 4 - meaning their average income is four times that of the bottom 90 percent - while the top 1 percent have an MPI of 15. But when you get to the top 0.1 percent, the MPI jumps to 124.

But who are the individuals that comprise this class of super-rich? what are their characteristics? and what catapulted them to fabulous riches?

The author dubs this class the second 'gilded age' as a parallel to the first 'gilded age' which related to the 'robber barons' of the industrial revolution. They are the multibillionaires of the present era corresponding to the multimillionaires of the industrial era.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Don't call the rich rich - because the rich don't really like it - it rhymes with bitch!

The sub title of this book is "The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else" Trouble is the book bangs on about the mega rich and pretty much ignores the rest of us, the ones who create the immense wealth that keep the objects of Ms Freeland's book in yachts, jets and three million dollar birthday parties. I could not afford a birthday present for my unemployed son (unemployed because so many UK jobs have been 'outsourced' to low wage economies) on my miserable state pension - as I spent most of my working life in low paid work, sustaining the one tenth of one percent of our population that reap the rewards of our labour and give back the absolute minimum in the form of wages, pensions,social benefits and spend half their working life scheming how to avoid paying taxes. So their average working day is 15 hours, poor things, so was mine when I was working on the cross channel ferry boats. In fact it was more like 19 hours a day for three weeks at a time with two x two and a half hour breaks for sleep, yet the mega rich shipowners thought that a zombie like crew was safe and secure to run their ships across the busiest stretch of water in the world on an average of five hours sleep/rest per day. No wonder they used to sink!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not jealous, just very, very angry.

This book does little to abate my anger about a system that leaves a few in control of the economic lives of billions, unelected, undemocratic and working only for their own self-gain. The author throws out the odd comment such as "Capitalism was not meant to be like this" but all in all seems very uncritical.
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