Alex's Reviews > Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy

Twilight of the Elites by Christopher L. Hayes
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Sep 17, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: thinkers
Read in September, 2012

I was recently turned on to Chris Hayes and his MSNBC program "UP" by my parents. His discussion, while "left" leaning, tend to be thought provoking. His book, Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy, is no different. Hayes central theory is that Meritocracy, while excellent in theory (as most social structures are) suffers from a few fundamental problems that keep it from excelling the way most Americans citizens envision.

What it isn't - a "Communist Manifesto." Hayes is all about the American principle of the best rising to the top. What he would argue - I would suspect most Americans, regardless of identified political perspective, would agree - is that the playing field is skewed to benefit the up class, removing them from the influence of lower classes. It's almost that our Elites can't help but live in a different world, governed by different rules.

I've been having a great many similar thoughts. This book seemed to voice what I was trying to say, in a way that makes me wish I had written it. I find the text vital and necessary. If you're a fan, I would thoroughly recommend "Next Generation Democracy" by Jared Duval. Hayes hints at the power of networks through "Elites" while Duval blows the door off this promise.

My parents asked me, "Are you disappointed by Obama and why?" I think my frustration with him was his lack of using modern networking technologies (as found in Next Gen. Democracy) to bridge mend the gaps between Elites and the "common man" (Twilight of the Elites). The two volumes together are perfectly complimented for those interested in what the future of politics might look like.

As expected, there are no easy answers, but it's exciting to see common threads emerge.
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