“Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy.
Why don’t American oligarchs fear the consequences of their corruption, and how can that be changed?
Yet even in the wake of the oligarch-caused 2008 financial crisis that has spawned extreme levels of sustained suffering around the globe, and even as social unrest emerges in several places in the Western world as a result of this insecurity and sense of outrage and betrayal, the American elite class still seems remarkably free of any such fear. The main reason I was and remain so enthusiastic about the Occupy movement is precisely because something is needed to pose a credible threat of unrest if America’s elite class continues on the same course. Yesterday, New York Magazine published a profile of Jeff Greene, a typically vapid, bombastic American billionaire who has devoted his wealth to piggish, flamboyant personal consumption and yacht parties with Lindsay Lohan, but what struck me was this passage:
I see no evidence that “rich people are very, very afraid” — at least not by their actions. And that, to me, is the problem. That fear — a lot more of it — is necessary. Their ability to rope themselves off from the society they are degrading, combined with the para-militarization of domestic police forces (aggressively displayed in response to the Occupy movement and related protests), and the rapidly increasing domestic powers of surveillance and detention (designed to intimidate the citizenry and thus deter and guard against mass protests), have convinced them, I think, that they need not fear any protest movements or social unrest, that America can and will become more and more of a police state to suppress it. An elite class that is free to operate without limits — whether limits imposed by the rule of law or fear of the responses from those harmed by their behavior — is an elite class that will plunder, degrade, and cheat at will, and act endlessly to fortify its own power.”