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Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich Hardcover – 19 Oct 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (19 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846142520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846142529
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 421,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read a number of the books relating to the 1% and this one seemed to focus much less on the size of their yachts etc. I got a lot from the section about how they made it. While that perhaps wasn't rocket science, it isn't always easy to piece together in the mind.
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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 Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book will be of interest to several demographics,indeed,to most of us who aren't globalist billionaires given the power of great wealth to shape the worlds destiny through the ages.

The writer does seem to be a fan rather than a critic of the characters delineated and discussed in this book and this isn't a technical treatise about economics,it's bent is more sociological although that doesn't mean she is a hireling,either.

Her style is clear and even witty and I'd call it an easy read,even populist but quite palatable intellectually for all that and books aren't films whose plots can easily be given away but she discusses all the big and rich names in some detail as you'd expect,so you'll have to read it or not.

There is enough about the Russian oligarchs and Bill Gates to keep the interest of those curious enough about these Masters of the Universe but in fairness it wouldn't matter if the writer was for or against these plutocrats as their existence is a fact just as the existence of millions of starvelings worldwide is and is a simultaneous fact,too...I would say she is careful in her political and philosophical conclusions so this book wouldn't appeal to radical Libertarians or Communists much less Nationalists of any nation.

'Unpretentious' and readable,a good primer, would be my conclusion if you like this sort of relatively superficial analysis.
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Format: Hardcover
Contrary to the views of some reviewers below this is not an extended Hello article on the super-rich. It is a serious and well considered study of the emergence of today's plutocrats, on their impact on society, and on their possible future impact on society. Having been a first rank financial journalist for many years, with a vast range of senior financial sector contacts, Freeland is ideally placed to pull this complex and controversial subject together.

As one would expect, the book is clearly written, and generally a pleasure to read, although there are half a dozen absurd errors which the editor should have caught (Cameron did not go to Westminster; a knight is not a Peer; a lagoon is not an island etc etc). These minor irritants don't detract from the satisfaction of reading a very convincing account of a world of which most of us will only have fragmentary knowledge.

Some of the reviews suggest that the book is simply a puff for the Plutocrats, but this probably reflects the reviewers' preconceptions rather than what was in the book they read. Freeland's great success, in my view, is to have resisted journalistic capture and to have produced a balanced yet critical assessment of this intriguing and rather frightening phenomenon.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an interesting book, it has a contents, index and the chapters are well laid out, about the right length for the established pace and the narrative manages to be interesting throughout.

The introductions does a good summation of the book itself and you will be able to tell from reading it whether or not you want to proceed through the book itself, despite this being the point of an introduction not every book and certainly not every book of this kind can manage that. Freeland clarifies that she wishes to provide an account which is not simply a kind of magazine piece on the lives of the rich and famous but which also takes into account the wider implications for politics, economy, society and the world of there existing a plutocracy or plutonomy.

The basis for there being a plutonomy, are memos circulated within the world's key finanical institutions the that effect, the conclusion is that the economy or social structure is neither pyramid, nor diamond shaped but has become like an hourglass with the uber rich at one end and the rest of the population catered for at the base. So growth markets are those tailoring to either end, roughly stated yachts for one and pound stores the other.

I am not sure that, while decrying the negative consequences of the plutocrats and the plutonomy that Freeland makes much in the way of suggestions for restructuring the economy or society, her explanation as to how the status quo came into existence is fine, the outlining of the negative consequences likewise but beyond a sort of appeal to the ethics of responsibility elitism there's not much.
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