A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy.
Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another - from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball - imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters.
How did we get here? With Twilight of the Elites, Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite - one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it.
Mixing deft political analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding, Twilight of the Elites describes how the society we have come to inhabit - utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the bottom - produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but our day-to-day lives.
Upending well-worn ideological and partisan categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times. Twilight of the Elites is the defining work of social criticism for the post-bailout age.
©2012 Christopher Hayes (P)2012 Random House Audio
"[L]ively and well-informed.Offering feasible proposals for change, this cogent social commentary urges us to reconstruct our institutions so we can once again trust them." (Publishers Weekly)
"[A] forcefully written debut.... A provocative discussion of the deeper causes of our current discontent, written with verve and meriting wide interest." (Kirkus Reviews)
"This is the Next Big Thing that we have been waiting for. Twilight of the Elites is the fully reported, detailed, true story of a 21st century America beyond the reach of authority. It's new, and true, and beautifully told - Hayes is the young left's most erudite and urgent interpreter. Brilliant book." (Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show and author of Drift)
The author picks the worst developments of the last decade or so to make the point that everything is worse than ever. It is the availability heuristic in a book. I wasted a credit.
Christopher Hayes narrates his own work brilliantly, pointing out the many pitfalls in our current institutions. He is a voice for change that our society sorely needs to listen to.
Facinating. Thought provoking. Truely a book that intelligent people interested in the current state of the political sphere should read. He interweaves the history that lead us to this point with the psycology of the masses in the waves of the failings of authority.
Good recognition of problems and gets close to the most logical solution before retreating into orthodoxy. Devolution of authority to the lowest competent level would help.
I read a lot of political books and this one really stood out from the pack. A novel thesis backed by compelling arguments. Any thinking person owes it to themselves to give it a listen.
Twilight of the Elites was informative and opens yours eyes to just how much power has been concentrated in a small group of the last few decades. However, the author's obsession with global warming is annoying; if you don't agree you're obviously an idiot for not reading and agreeing with all the "elite" scientists. His left leaning views permeate the book and are demeaning by choice; i.e. John McCain came from naval royalty, owns lots houses, and is married to a wealthy heiress. No mention of his service or sacrifice for the country as a POW. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'reilly were singled out as media pundits who used their status to write NYT best selling books; "another example of the rich getting richer." Perhaps, but why single them out when plenty of lefty's do the same. However, I will give him credit, the discussion of revolving door of wealthy business execs given lucrative govt jobs where they supervise the industry they just came from was pretty entertaining. The discussion of fractal inequality was pretty interesting too.
The subject of the concentration of power is something that should be of interest to everyone, not just the left, so I'm not sure why he went out of his way to harp on the right so much. IMO it detracts from the book.
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