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Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another - from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball - imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters.
How did we get here? With Twilight of the Elites, Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite - one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it.
Mixing deft political analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding, Twilight of the Elites describes how the society we have come to inhabit - utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the bottom - produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but our day-to-day lives.
Upending well-worn ideological and partisan categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times. Twilight of the Elites is the defining work of social criticism for the post-bailout age.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Matt on 10-11-12
Listen To This Immediately!
This is a PHENOMENAL book and the author does an excellent job narrating it. Twilight of the Elites will make you think. A lot. I used the "back 30 seconds" button on my app constantly to make sure I got all of many of the points he makes. It's not that they aren't well articulated, they're just full of important information. You'll likely want to listen to this one twice.
If you have the same vague feeling I did, that things aren't quite working the way they're supposed to, but you're not sure why, Hayes will explain it to you. He breaks down many of the things we take as fact about how American society works, explains the components, presents a mountain of evidence, and then blows apart the conventions that you thought were true.
This book is about explaining the system in which Americans live. It's not about trashing the left or the right. Simply explaining what we have, why we have it, and how it works. This is an important book.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Grant on 03-10-13
A lot of good information about inequality and how we got to our current unsustainable economic state. The insights here are also covered just as well in other books by Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz and Michael Sandel. Still, this kind of information cannot be conveyed too often or in too many formats.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful