Insights from the American Elite

Some remarkable insights were disclosed in the FT report of the Milken Institute’s annual gathering of the investment, business and political elites this week in California.

I don’t know who these people are but no matter – if they are indeed the elite then they seemed to have garnered marginally more insight than our lot…

Alan Schwartz put the risks of rising income inequality……starkly. “You take the average person . . . they’re just basically saying something that used to be 50:50 is now 60:40; it’s not working for me,” he told another conference session, pointing to the gap between wage growth and the growth of corporate profits.

“If you look at the rightwing and the leftwing, what’s really coming is class warfare,” he warned. “Throughout centuries what we’ve seen when the masses think the elites have too much, one of two things happens: legislation to redistribute the wealth . . . or revolution to redistribute poverty. Those are the two choices historically and debating it back and forth, saying ‘no, it’s capitalism; no, it’s socialism’ is what creates revolution.”

…another financial services executive, who donated to Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign in 2016, told the Financial Times: “I’d pay 5 per cent more in tax to make the world a slightly less scary place.”

So there are some signs of realisation the neoliberal capitalism is not going too well.

Even if the destruction of our natural ecosystems were not enough, the result of an economic system that is based on the exploitation of people and planet seems to have engendered a little doubt.

Let us hope more of it arrives – and quickly.


  1. Andrew Dickie -

    Peter, I’d be willing to bet that Nick Hanauer has a lot to do with this change of perception.

    Anyone who hasn’t seen it before should see Hanauet’s TED talk “Beware, the pitchforks are coming”, which can be accessed from here.

    As to “the class war” meme, Warren Buffet said ages ago – maybe a decade ago, certainly 5 years ago – words to the effect that: “Sure there’s a class war going on, and my class is winning!”

  2. Peter May -

    Many thanks, Andrew

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