Plutocrats – The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland is an important work which demonstrates how in recent years there have been huge transfers of wealth from the average workers to a new elite class of the top 1% and 0.1%. Plutocrats proves that the wealthiest 0.1 percent are outpacing the working class at lightning speed.
There are numerous examples of this phenomenon, according to Freeland. For instance, the 70 wealthiest members of China’s National People’s Congress have more wealth than our entire Congress, the Supreme Court, the president and vice-president combined. Apple’s iPod workforce got a wealth transfer of $525MM to 6100 elite engineers. Russia has 87 billionaires and India is not far behind.
In the ’70s, the top 1% controlled 10% of the national income; today they control 33% of the national income. The Indian middle class left behind millions of peasants. The same story is happening throughout Russia, China, and other countries including in the Americas.
Freeland explains a huge shift from agrarian societies to the industrial sector now occurring throughout the world. Previously, this phenomenon was happening principally in the United States and Europe. Now, the wage disparities are becoming global.
The author believes that the brunt of the wage inequality starts with the college-educated who control businesses both large and small. In particular, math and engineering graduates gain full control over the new technologies, as well as the data management systems, processes, and algorithms in areas like operations research and artificial intelligence.
Freeland points to stories of dorm room geeks who made millions of dollars straight out of college. Yet the American middle class suffered a pay cut in comparison. One of the ways out of this disparity is to tax excess consumption in order to upgrade infrastructure and hire new blue collar workers.
Plutocrats is an important book to read in order to glean avenues where there is money to be made for the college-educated. The author doesn’t, however, place enough emphasis on the huge need for blue collar workers to rebuild failing infrastructure throughout the world.
In addition, the weather patterns this decade call for a renewed emphasis on civil engineering to put new infrastructure in place in order to protect the megacities of the future.
In addition, the existing stock of roads, bridges, rails, highways, and aquaducts will require continuing maintenance and upgrades. Finally, a huge transfer of wealth will be happening as the World War II generation dies off and leaves billions of dollars of wealth to their progeny.Powered by Sidelines