Book Club

Audio Chat: Chrystia Freeland on the Perils of Plutocracy

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Chrystia Freeland

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, hosted a live chat with Chrystia Freeland about her book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. Use the player above to replay our discussion.

Ms. Freeland answered some questions that we at had after reading Plutocrats, and also responded to questions that readers submitted through our Facebook page, Twitter and in the comments section of this website about the personality types of today’s self-made oligarchs, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and the economic consequences of the world’s wealth being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

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  • John Champagne

    This makes a case for popular control of public funds, so that the certainty of a government bailout can be eliminated. (We should never say ‘never’ allowed to fail. These are policy questions that should reflect the will and interests of the people.

    We want to decrease problems of disparity. We should start with an equal sharing of natural wealth.

  • John Champagne

    If most people felt that walls are an adverse impact on the community and environment generally, we could readily create a public policy that would bring an overall limit on the prevalence of walls on the landscape. We could create a publicly administered program to sell whatever total number of permits for linear feet of walls would match what most people would say is an acceptable amount overall. (Short walls might be exempt from regulation, or may enjoy a lower fee, if the people perceive a distinction in how offensive/attractive the different types appear.) The people could vote, within a context of a system of random surveys, for fewer walls next year, to bring the reality in the direction they prefer, IF there is a preference for a change over time. The system of random surveys, married to the permitting and fee system (with proceeds shared with all people) becomes a straightforward, efficient, fair, democratic way to bring people’s preferences into reality. Biodiversity as a public good:

  • george jessel

    Bill Moyers: boxers or briefs ?

  • Jerry Fair

    I would like to know why the government does not get serious about ending the national debt? Ron Paul is the only one who had a realistic plan of debt reduction with his proposal of cutting one trillion in his first year in office. That is what we need, real cuts. Obama is a lost cause when it comes to fiscal responsibility. His plan of balance tax increases with spending cuts has no credibility since he will never cut anything in a meaningful way.

  • Anonymous

    Please excuse my naievete, but it seems we Americans demand our entitlements, social programs, a healthy infrastructure and sound military etc., etc., but would rather avoid paying for them. And each of us would complain if government spending on the particular programs we individually rely on were reduced or cut. So, I’m wondering, how can we have it all and not pay for it all. How can we reduce our national debt? During the second world war, the country became unified in the war effort, surrendering much for a common goal. It seems we somehow, long ago, got off that together we stand, divided we fall, we’re all in this together track. And I think about JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country” view. But, maybe my perspective is missing a piece of the puzzle or is basically flawed. I hope to find out.

  • Jenny

    Now that they (the plutocrats) have it all what will they do with it?

  • suzimore

    Have yet to hear anything from this blog, maybe something is wrong at my end.

  • Theresa Riley

    We’re back on now, Suzi, after some technical difficulties. Hope you can join us.

  • Pat Downs

    It’s been buffering for 5 minutes. ?

  • Nirmala

    Why aren’t the plutocrats donate to charity like they used to instead of super-pacs? Is there anyways we could reach them and make them realize that?

  • ann harris

    True, but WWII was a declared war with a common purpose and a visible threat.
    We could have it all (social/medical services for the people who live here) if the surplus left by President Clinton had been used wisely by Mr. Bush. Instead, unnecessary and unfunded debt was incurred: two wars, drug benefit for seniors, tax cuts for the rich.

  • Raj Pandian

    I have to leave -sorry. Broadcast is cut off. (buffering too long). I guess people want to block this show? If have it again like a chat on facebook, I will join. I am buying your book.

  • Robert Roy Foresman

    I was wondering if Ms. Freeland has ever read any of Charles Beard’s work and if it influenced her at all? I found an interesting quote by Beard that says something about Plutocrats I believe almost fifty years ago: “Madison, writing in 1829-1830, hoped there
    might be a way out of the calamity that would come when the fairly equal
    distribution of property had given way to a plutocracy on the one side
    and a property-less multitude on the other. He thought that the crisis
    would arrive in about a hundred years, about 1930-which was not a bad
    guess. Yet he hoped that the tendency to concentration of wealth might be
    ‘diminished and the permanency defeated by the equalizing tendency of
    the laws. In other words, Madison contemplated the use of government to
    provide an economic underwriting of the Republic by laws designed to
    control the concentration of wealth and to force a more equal
    distribution of wealth. For this, he admitted, experience had as yet
    provided no sure test by experiment. To accomplish the end so necessary
    to the maintenance of popular government, he concluded, would require
    ‘all the wisdom of the wisest patriots.'”–Charles A. Beard, taken from
    “The Republic”

  • Zora Renee

    First off working Americans have to start understanding that voting for republicans is voting against their own best economic interests. We have to stop letting ourselves be divided by “social issues” and focus on “common ground” issues – jobs, fair pay, raising the minimum wage, stop trying to privatize schools & everything else, tax breaks for businesses that hemorrhage jobs to low/no wage nations, infrastructure development, research & development, climate change, alternative energy – these are starts and we have to start somewhere!

  • Middleway

    An easy way to understand what is happening in the world is to recognize that Wall Street, Global Corporations, and most Governments are basically modern day Pirates (the super-greedy)

  • Barbara Jarvis

    Where do you get off and why must some suffer so that what you consider ‘adequete profit’ can be had. Such crass capitalism is destroying the planet.

  • Barbara Jarvis

    So true and the Rapeuglycans are the ones we need to put in prison soon as they enable those greedy bloodsuckers with their addiction. “There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is destruction.” Everyone’s. “save these last days be shortened there shall be no life left on the earth”. It’s so toxic now I do not think we’ll survive. goodby humanity.

  • Barbara Jarvis

    We have already paid for them, which is why they are entitlements. The govt is still giving OUR tax dollars we earned and pay into the system to do work of caring for the people which are the govt. to the Banksters quietly and giving our money to kill people in other nations that then are called terrorists when they complain. What the he!! is wrong with some pple they can’t see that? The super rich want it ALL so they can use our money to pay for more laws and ways to oppress and suppress us. Yourself included. You’ve been putting their chains on your mind.

  • Barbara Jarvis

    The uber riche have been getting unwarrented tax cuts for years and that is only the beggining of the help they get such as govt. LOOKING THE OTHER WAY AT OVERSEAS BANK ACCOOUNTS. OR CLEANUPS OF TOXIC WASTE for which resulting illnesses we must be entitled to free medical care. The outright mischief they do is unconscienceable. Then they get FOX news to blame the victims. Makes you want to vomit.

  • Barbara Jarvis

    Right on.

  • Anonymous

    Very reasonable!