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The Super Rich

The rise of the super-rich and how it’s re-ordering not just the U.S. economy, but the whole world’s.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, walks with Laura Arrillaga-Andressen, center, wife of Marc Andressen, left, at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. Marc Andreessen is founder of Netscape. (AP)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, walks with Laura Arrillaga-Andressen, center, wife of Marc Andressen, left, at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. Marc Andreessen is founder of Netscape. (AP)

The super-rich are getting richer, all over the world.  Not just well-off, wealthy, but toweringly rich on a scale that challenges our understanding of how things work and ought to work.  Editor and correspondent Chrystia Freeland has worked around the world as a high-profile reporter for some of the bibles of big business:  The Financial Times, The Economist, Thomson Reuters.

Now she’s reporting to us on what she’s seeing.  An explosion of concentrated wealth so great it’s changing the way the US and the world work.

This hour, On Point:  Chrystia Freeland on plutocrats.  The super-rich.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Chrystia Freeland, editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, she’s the author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

Nicholas Carnes, assistant professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and the Co-Director of the Research Triangle chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network.You can find his recent New York Times op-ed here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Reuters “Today’s plutocracy, as described by Chrystia Freeland, can make for an ugly spectacle. It is an increasingly stateless and distant class. The very rich may sometimes dress scruffily or express an affection for common tastes, but their wealth naturally separates them from the rest of the public. It isolates them physically, as they flit from palace to palace in private jets. And it isolates them psychically, as they grow comfortable with the view that their wealth is not merely the fruit of talent and work but the mark of superiority.”

Daily Beast “Becoming a plutocrat is like being one of those 18 men. This is not to suggest that women are somehow biologically precluded from breaking into the plutocracy, in the way that the female physique may never run a marathon as quickly as the male one. But the image is a way of illustrating a significant and rarely remarked-on aspect of the rise of the super-elite: it is almost entirely male.”

The New Yorker “The richest man in the room was Leon Cooperman, a Bronx-born, sixty-nine-year-old billionaire. Cooperman is the founder of a hedge fund called Omega Advisors, but he has gained notice beyond Wall Street over the past year for his outspoken criticism of President Obama. Cooperman formalized his critique in a letter to the President late last year which was widely circulated in the business community; in an interview and in a speech, he has gone so far as to draw a parallel between Obama’s election and the rise of the Third Reich.”

Excerpt: Plutocrats

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