- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465091067
- ISBN-13: 978-0465091065
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shadow Elite: How the Worlds New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Using her expertise in Eastern European communist governments, author and public policy professor Wedel (Collision and Collusion) has pulled together a shocking expose of those dismantling U.S. democracy from the inside. Labeling the new breed of U.S. political operators "flexions," she finds individual roles as lobbyists, government insiders or elected officials converging into a single network "snaking through official and private organizations, creating a loop that is closed to democratic processes." Wedel shows how a core group of flexions (neo-conservative cold-warrior Richard Perle, retired four-star army general Barry R. McCaffrey, Obama financial advisor Larry Summers, etc.) have risen to power on an unprecedented confluence of four transformational 20th and 21st century developments: government outsourcing and deregulation, the end of the Cold War, the growth of information technologies, and "the embrace of 'truthiness.'" By wearing several hats simultaneously (think tanker, retired military or government official, corporate representative, "objective" expert), Wedel shows how a flexion can gain extraordinary insider knowledge and influence in order to custom-tailor a version of the "truth" benefitting the highest bidder. In this way, they not only "co-opt public policy agendas" but "craft policy with their benefactors' purposes in mind." This fascinating, authoritative wake-up call should satisfy any American who wants a handle on the republic's most successful agents of corruption.
Peter Bergen, Author ofHoly War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know
"Janine Wedel has written a thought-provoking and interesting book that explores the rise of powerful, informal networks that often drive what governments actually do. Her account of the 1990s "reformers" in Russia and their allies in the United States, as well as her analysis of the interlocking relationships and effects on history of the American neoconservatives are especially persuasive.”
Charles Lewis, Bestselling author and founder of the Center for Public Integrity
"Shadow Elite is a powerful, searing work about how, over time, public and private have become blurred—three out of four people doing the work of the federal government today are actually private contractors. Self-dealing and corruption have become endemic, with those wielding political influence and getting rich at our expense becoming less and less accountable. With this book, Janine Wedel has provided a magnificent public service."
"This fascinating, authoritative wake-up call should satisfy any American who wants a handle on the republic’s most successful agents of corruption."
Financial Times, January 3, 2010
"A clarion call against some insidious threats to a healthy democracy."
Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post, January 6, 2010
"…a gripping, disquieting book that exposes and explains why it's been so hard to bring about any real change in our country. "
BuzzFlash, November 25, 2009
" What makes Wedel's book so valuable is that she doesn't indulge in conspiracy theories that can't be proven; she provides the facts and describes how this informal group of elitists is fluid in moving among the powerful institutions that control public policy, including government."
James K. Galbraith, Author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too
"Of huge value. With an eye that sweeps from Poland and Russia to Cambridge and Washington, Janine Wedel has reinvented the study of public administration for an era of blurred roles and secret networks. Shadow Elite is a must-read for all who care about the future of government—even the possibility of decent government—in the age of flexians and truthiness."
Top customer reviews
This is the beauty of words and language, because they define our understanding of our world. Without understanding our surroundings we remain ignorant and our responses to our environment are limited and in many cases such as the Iraq war disastrous.
Janine R. Wedel showed me that my experience with the organizational and enforcement tactics of street gangs in New York City slums was the best business education I could get. She explains how chaotic conditions are the best opportunities a resourceful person can get to break into the elite world controlled by monopolistic streaks in capitalism or the nomenclature/clan controlled world of post-communism. I have seen it, participated in it and benefited from it!
What I didn't realize was that this world I swam in was a recent social and political development. Janine R. Wedel in her masterful "Shadow Elites" has enlightened me to this nefarious world of greed, amorality and in the extreme cases, of traitorous behavior in the "Shadow Elite".
She has done what Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations did, namely describe to the unsuspecting public the obvious. She has named names and their odious supposedly saintly deeds, their methods and the evolution of today's political and business climate and their symbiosis.
She has given as an example the Trotskyist party in America in the forties and how it morphed into the Neo Cons of today. She describes their gaming of today's government, which led our Nation into a criminal enterprise, namely the second Iraq war.
She also gives as an example the Harvard University-Russian Mafia Nexus in the guise of Larry Summers of Harvard and Anatoly Chubais of Russia. I have seen that work in real life when I did business in 1991-93 in Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
She is the real thing. I can see a trained scholar of public policy and anthropology. Her training and perceptive abilities are on par with Tocqueville.