Book Club

Book Club: The Culture of the New Super-Rich

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As part of our new book club, we’re working our way through Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, by Chrystia Freeland.

Last week, we used Plutocrats and other sources to draw some similarities between the first Gilded Age and the plutocracy we’re seeing re-emerge today. But in Chapter Two of the book, Freeland points out one notable difference: Many of today’s rich work, hard. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were a notable few at the top who “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps:; many were born rich and just became richer. Freeland quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald: The rich of his time knew what it was to “possess and enjoy early.”

Freeland writes that today, the story is different. “Fat cats who owe it to their grandfathers are not getting all the gains,” economic historian Peter Lindert told her. “A lot of it is going to innovators this time around. There is more meritocracy in Bill Gates being at the top than the Duke of Bedford.”

That was just one part of Chapter Two that stood out to us. What about Plutocrats surprises or interests you? Let us know in the comments — and keep reading!

We’re looking forward to hosting a discussion with you next month, when author Chrystia Freeland will join us to answer your questions and talk about the book. (We’ll announce the date soon. Like us on Facebook to get updates on Book Club activities.)

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