circulation of elites

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pages: 1,073 words: 314,528

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Black Swan, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, defense in depth, desegregation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, endowment effect, Ford paid five dollars a day, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, lateral thinking, linear programming, loose coupling, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mental accounting, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, unemployed young men, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

As neither group would endure on its own, the most stable regime would have a mixture of both types. In practice, each would tend to recruit their own kind. Fox regimes would degenerate over time and become vulnerable to a sudden show of force; lion regimes would more likely be infiltrated by foxes and would thus experience more gradual decline. Out of all of this Pareto postulated the “circulation of elites.” There was always an elite, but it could change in composition. The advantage should be with the shrewd and the cunning, but not to the point where violence could never be advised. The idea that political history can be viewed as a dialectic between practitioners of force and guile had a certain appeal. But Pareto was generalizing out of his own political context, reflecting his skepticism of democratic claims and distaste for the corrupt and cynical politics of his time, and then looking for historical parallels to bolster his theory, playing down the impact of material changes and the growing importance of bureaucratic organization.9 This did not, as we shall see, prevent his ideas from influencing conservative circles as they looked for intellectually robust alternatives to socialism and Marx.

Just as approved political strategies no longer sufficed at revolutionary times, so with approved scientific methods and reasoning. What made the difference at critical moments were factors extraneous to the scientific method, such as force of personality or the scientific equivalents of the revolutionary mob and coercive pressure. A new paradigm would acquire a form of collective consent, there would be a consequential circulation of elites, and normal science would continue until the process began again with the accumulation of more anomalies.11 As revolutions went, this was more Pareto than Marx. Kuhn himself stressed the underlying conservatism of his view when discovering to his horror during the student rebellions of the 1960s that he was being cast as a revolutionary for having identified paradigms as instruments of intellectual oppression.

Although he dominated the circle, with a seminar technique that was said to be “only feebly imitated by a pile-driver,” the group did include people such as Talcott Parsons and George Homans among the most influential of their generation of sociologists.22 It was also a refuge for conservative academics seeking an alternative to Marx and attracted by the underlying treatment of society as an interdependent and largely self-correcting system. Henderson was impressed by Barnard as a man who not only had read Pareto originally in French but had sought to apply his ideas in the real world. Pareto’s influence can certainly be detected in Barnard. This was evident in his stress on nonlogical factors in human decision and action, on how choice was shaped by the logic of situations, and on the circulation of elites. Pareto is there in the idea of organizations as social systems analogous to human bodies seeking some sort of equilibrium. To achieve equilibrium, the organization needed to achieve both effectiveness and efficiency, and he emphasized how many declined because they failed both tests. By efficiency he meant the ability to satisfy the individuals who made up the organization; effectiveness involved the ability to meet goals.


pages: 198 words: 52,089

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, longitudinal study, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working-age population, zero-sum game

No bill becomes law without Royal Assent, which means the monarch’s signature. The upper chamber, the House of Lords, still has hereditary legislators. (My party did try to eliminate these when we were in government, but that’s another story.) The idea of inherited status, whether political, social, or economic, flies in the face of America’s self-image as an open society with a healthy circulation of elites. Here, if you do well, you get a medal, not a title. Nobody gets to be somebody just because they were born to the right parents. I’ve noticed that Americans love the Royal Family and princesses and princes, but that’s because they are not ruled by them. Foreign kings and queens are like Disney characters: fun to watch and entirely harmless. This is not to say that Americans don’t want leaders.


Global Financial Crisis by Noah Berlatsky

accounting loophole / creative accounting, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, energy security, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, George Akerlof, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, moral hazard, new economy, Northern Rock, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South China Sea, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, working poor

Indeed, the only issue on which an ideological left-right divide mattered appeared to be on attitudes toward the [George W.] Bush administration. Domínguez described five voting cycles in Latin America since the transitions to democracy began 30 years ago. These cycles show patterns of defeat and victory for incumbents only partially correlated with economic trends (incumbents tended to win in South America since the early 2000s, a period of macroeconomic stability and the commodity boom.) The circulation of elites serves democracy well, he observed, and even leaders who have governed well are likely to lose in coming years as a result of the recession. 162 Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on Developing Nations The United States Hopes to Work with the Region Robert King, acting senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, said that the new administration was still in the process of determining what it wanted to accomplish in Latin America and how to follow through regarding principles laid out during the campaign.


pages: 316 words: 87,486

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American ideology, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Burning Man, centre right, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, full employment, George Gilder, gig economy, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, microcredit, mobile money, moral panic, mortgage debt, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, payday loans, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Republic of Letters, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, union organizing, urban decay, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional

What moved the unions to such an effort, per White, was the alarming white-backlash campaign of George Wallace.   2. Here is how White characterized the change: “The new reforms had by 1972 given categorical representation to young people, to women, to blacks—but yielded no recognition at all, as a category, to men who work for a living.” The Making of the President 1972 (Harper Perennial, 2010), p. 38.   3. Ibid.   4. Shafer calls this a “circulation of elites, the replacement of one group of specialized political actors with another of noticeably different origins, values, and ways of pursuing politics.” Specifically: “The old coalition was based in blue-collar constituencies, while the newer version was white-collar from top to bottom.” Byron Shafer, Quiet Revolution: The Struggle for the Democratic Party and the Shaping of Post-Reform Politics (Russell Sage Foundation, 1983), pp. 7, 8, 530.   5. 


pages: 285 words: 86,174

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Chris Hayes

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, carried interest, circulation of elites, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kenneth Arrow, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, mass incarceration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

“The socialists might conquer,” he prophesied, “but not socialism, which would perish in the moment of its adherents’ triumph.” In our own case, the end point is nowhere near as violent or dire. But if The Iron Law of Meritocracy has corrupted a society founded upon the twin principles of difference and mobility, we might ask what kind of social order would result. It would be a society with extremely high and rising inequality yet little circulation of elites. A society in which the pillar institutions were populated by and presided over by a group of hypereducated, ambitious overachievers who enjoyed tremendous monetary rewards as well as unparalleled political power and prestige and yet who managed to insulate themselves from sanction, competition, and accountability, a group of people who could more or less rest assured that now that they have achieved their status, now that they have scaled to the top of the pyramid, they, their peers, and their progeny will stay there.


pages: 287 words: 82,576

The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, business climate, business cycle, circulation of elites, clean water, David Graeber, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, East Village, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Google Glasses, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, income inequality, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, security theater, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Vilfredo Pareto, working-age population, World Values Survey

Short of having another war or major catastrophe, there is just no way that, in this kind of setting, the third or fourth generation of wealthy people will all come directly from poor backgrounds. Matching and assortative mating—connecting one well-off family to another—may make this all the less likely. And thus we can see some very natural reasons why income mobility, across the generations, is often either stagnant or declining over time. To use the language of early twentieth-century Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, over time, the “circulation of elites” will naturally decline, at least compared to earlier situations of poverty and chaos. And indeed in China today, the special privileges held by children of prominent Communist Party members have become a major social issue and source of complaint. In other words, the richer, more stable, and happier your society is, the harder it is to generate high or rising levels of income mobility over time.


pages: 372 words: 92,477

The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cashless society, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Etonian, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberal capitalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Nelson Mandela, night-watchman state, Norman Macrae, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old age dependency ratio, open economy, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, pension reform, pensions crisis, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit maximization, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, too big to fail, total factor productivity, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, zero-sum game

“We are in a transition from a big state to a small state,” she says, “and from a small society to a big society.” All this won Ma her country’s most prestigious award for public-sector innovation—and she is typical of a slice of the mandarinate: global, well informed, and with a long-term plan. But China is a big place. How well does the system work in practice? The Chinese system can claim two victories: the circulation of elites and a long-term approach. The top three officials—the general secretary, president, and prime minster—now serve a maximum of two terms in office, or ten years. In recent times that changeover has been completely peaceful. The party has put safeguards in place to prevent the reemergence of a Mao-style personality cult. The incoming leader is chosen not by the outgoing leader but by the collective wishes of the senior leaders.


pages: 538 words: 121,670

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--And a Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig

asset-backed security, banking crisis, carried interest, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, correlation does not imply causation, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Pareto efficiency, place-making, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

Ilya Zemtsov, The Encyclopedia of Soviet Life (Transaction Publishers, 1991), 177; John Löwenhart, James R. Ozinga, and Erik van Ree, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Politburo (London: UCL Press, 1992), 118. 2. Matthew Eric Glassman and Erin Hemlin, “Average Years of Service for Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, 1st–111th Congresses, Cong. Res. Service (Nov. 2, 2010), available at link #169. 3. James R. Ozinga, Thomas W. Casstevens, and Harold T. Casstevens II, “The Circulation of Elites: Soviet Politburo Members, 1919–1987,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 22 (1989): 609, 614 4. Norman Ornstein, “District of Corruption,” The New Republic, available at link #170. 5. Lisa Rein, “Federal Officials Fight Back over Criticism About Salaries,” Washington Post, Aug. 17, 2010, available at link #171 (describing debate about higher pay for federal officials). 6. Erika Lovley, “Report: 237 Millionaires in Congress,” Politico (Nov. 6, 2009), available at link #172; Center for Responsive Politics, OpenSecrets.org, Personal Finance Disclosure, available at link #173. 7.


pages: 935 words: 267,358

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index card, inflation targeting, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, market bubble, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, twin studies, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

In particular, inherited wealth will make a comeback—a long-term phenomenon whose effects are already being felt in Europe and that could extend to other parts of the world as well. That is why it is important for present purposes to become familiar with the history of demographic and economic growth. There is another mechanism whereby growth can contribute to the reduction of inequality, or at least to a more rapid circulation of elites, which must also be discussed. This mechanism is potentially complementary to the first, although it is less important and more ambiguous. When growth is zero or very low, the various economic and social functions as well as types of professional activity, are reproduced virtually without change from generation to generation. By contrast, constant growth, even if it is only 0.5 or 1 or 1.5 percent per year, means that new functions are constantly being created and new skills are needed in every generation.