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Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making Paperback – March 3, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Books on world elites tend to focus on the superwealthy, but political scholar Rothkopf (Running the World) has written a serious and eminently readable evaluation of the superpowerful. Until recent decades, great-power governments provided most of the superclass, accompanied by a few heads of international movements (i.e., the pope) and entrepreneurs (Rothschilds, Rockefellers). Today, economic clout—fueled by the explosive expansion of international trade, travel and communication—rules. The nation state's power has diminished, according to Rothkopf, shrinking politicians to minority power broker status. Leaders in international business, finance and the defense industry not only dominate the superclass, they move freely into high positions in their nations' governments and back to private life largely beyond the notice of elected legislatures (including the U.S. Congress), which remain abysmally ignorant of affairs beyond their borders. The superelites' disproportionate influence over national policy is often constructive, but always self-interested. Across the world, the author contends, few object to corruption and oppressive governments provided they can do business in these countries. Neither hand-wringing nor worshipful, this book delivers an unsettling account of what the immense and growing power of this superclass bodes for the future. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Whether you like it or not, there is no way to deny the enormous, disproportionate, concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a relatively small number of people in the world today. David Rothkopf has vividly described who they are, and how they operate and interact, in his valuable (and often disturbing) new book.” ―Richard Holbrooke, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
“No, no vast conspiracy runs the world. But, according to Rothkopf's book, a tiny but diverse global elite, a Superclass, comes close. His finely-honed prose takes the reader on a joyous, entertaining, and erudite romp around the globe in search of that class.” ―Alan Blinder, Former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States
“Thanks to Rothkopf's special blend of analysis, direct interaction with his subjects and vivid writing, this is a must read book for people interested in understanding the genesis of leadership in the new global economy.” ―Ernesto Zedillo, Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and Former President of Mexico
“David Rothkopf has written a super book about the people presently executing an historic shift of world economic and political power and about how they are doing it and why. If you want to know how your choices are being determined and the circumstances of your life conditioned, you must read this book.” ―Clyde Prestowitz, President of the Economic Strategy Institute and author of Three Billion New Capitalists
“The activities of a growing cosmopolitan elite are having profound effects. They can be highly desirable when they promote international cooperation or more problematic when the interests of the elites diverge from those of their citizens. David Rothkopf's Superclass skillfully probes these issues and many more and should be read by all those concerned with the international economy and the evolving global system.” ―Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
“Superclass is a timely and detailed analysis of the disproportionate power and hence responsibility of an incredibly small group of individuals: the global power elites whose strongest allegiances are not with their countries but with each other. Understanding the implications of this shift beyond the nation-state is of great importance and Rothkopf has made a significant first step.” ―Bob Wright, Vice Chairman, General Electric, and former President and CEO, NBC Universal
“An entertaining and well researched taxonomy of the rich and powerful who shape foreign policy and business in our globalized world. Rothkopf gives us the story behind Davos Man.” ―Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics and author of Making Globalization Work and Globalization and its Discontents
“A masterful portrait of this century's global elite: who they are, how they run the world, and why you should worry about the increasing concentration of influence, wealth and power they represent. An insider and a globalizer himself, Rothkopf knows his people and his politics, and uses history, psychology, economics and a lot of awfully good stories to ask troubling new questions about globalization as we know it. It's smart and it's fun. And if you are a globophile who trusts greater prosperity and stability to disinterested markets, it will make you think again.” ―Nancy Birdsall, President, Center for Global Development
“In his lively and brilliantly written book Superclass, David Rothkopf has captured the multitude and density of cross-border connections and interactions among the influential, rich and famous throughout the world. He compellingly describes how those links are shaping the global economic and political landscape today--and how they will powerfully influence the future institutions and politics of our planet.” ―Robert Hormats, Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs (International) and author of The Price of Liberty: Paying for America's Wars
Top customer reviews
I had the feeling during my days of reading that the author had a schizophrenic outlook on the world's elites, the 6 000 at the top of the pyramid. He takes paragraphs of writing to tell us about these people and the money and power that they control and then a few pages later he talks about the disproportionate distribution of the world's wealth. On the one hand he seems truly to be concerned about the people that are producing the wealth for these few and then he talks about these elites seeming importance in the world and he falls into that old Kissinger thought pocket about how the elites are so deserving. A reader is taken on a rollercoaster of attitudinal changes; if it were not for the author's professional work-life I could almost believe that he really understood the plight of the people producing the wealth for the 6 000.
Rothkoph has given us a thorough examination of the nature of these elites (probably too much for this reader) and I guess this examination is ultimately worth the read. I started the book to try to more fully understand how the contemporary world works and I must admit that Superclass has put together many of the puzzle pieces on the table. Why then am I dissatisfied? I guess I wanted a book that could not be written, one that offered me more reason as to why events occur. Yes I am sure that I should do the extrapolation of facts for myself rather than relying on the author to do it for me. I feel, however, that I wanted the author to give me a book that was less descriptive and more speculative. As a reader, however, I should not fall into the trap of criticizing a book because it was not the one I wanted to read; I should have been more selective in the beginning.
He spends a good deal of time on the inequalities between the ultra rich and the ultra poor; how this seems to be widening. What he does not seem to understand or address is the nature of currency itself. As Jefferson and Andrew Jackson understood, printed paper bank notes bring about much more evil than they solve. They cause (or can cause) rampant inflation, controlled in the hands of those who are getting richer and richer. Of course, the potential for political corruption of the worst kind is also implicit with it. The writer (Rothkopf) also seems to accept the notion that government intervention ("funded" largely by the printing press), in some cases can actually solve this problem with social programs. By now we should understand that this approach does not work. Instead he gets into some deep introspection and some discussions with members of the superclass on the topic. But to look at and question the nature of currency itself is off-limits. Not seen here.
The author is a tool, his ace-kizzing is shameless, and he's definitely pro-Establishment, but there's a little bit of insight into the disgusting little global cabal of "Intellectual Property" gangsters ("Globalists"/corporatists) who are screwing over humanity...Davos, CFR, etc.
But seriously, I was surprised there wasn't a centerfold picture of Kissinger on a bearskin rug in front of a fireplace. 80% of the pages were that, or other fluff.