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Posted July 9, 2008
David Rothkopf, an ex-director of Kissinger Associates, has written a revealing book. He notes that a tiny group of about 6,000 people has vastly more power than any other group on the planet, and that the richest 1,000 have more than twice the wealth of the poorest 2.5 billion. This class comprises mostly top businessmen, mainly from the USA and the EU. Concentration of capital leads to fewer and richer CEOs. Giant firms, banks and private equity companies are this class¿s base. It advances its interests through self-regulation, liberalised markets, privatisation, and the free movement of capital, labour and services. Increasingly, private firms now decide what public, elected bodies used to decide. This class pretends to help solve AIDS and Africa¿s poverty by throwing money at the problems ¿ but who does the work of doctoring and nursing, of planting and harvesting? Not Bill Gates or George Soros! What drives this accumulation of wealth at one pole and of poverty at the other? Could there be some connection? Rothkopf never thinks to ask where all this wealth comes from. He notes that some `defend elites for their role in globalization, believing that by globalizing they will ultimately help create a more equitable system¿. But this globalising has created this hugely unjust system. How could it turn into its opposite and create a fairer society? He argues, of course, against national sovereignty, and praises all capital¿s favoured bodies - the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, etc. But far from analysing what is happening and why, Rothkopf tells us little stories about his brief chats with the rich and famous. His favourite meeting is the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, where he can fawn on the godlike figures of Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown and Straw. This is an embarrassing book, like a long Hello! Magazine without the pictures. Preparing it doubtless extended Mr Rothkopf¿s social network, but it reveals little of the class he dotes on, while showing all too clearly that he has the mind and morals of a groupie.
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