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bludog

"Plutocrats" by Chrystia Freeland

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The full name of the book is: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else

 

Once you read far enough into "Plutocrats" it becomes obvious that Chrystia Freeland equates wealth with virtue. One after the other, the lifestyles of various Plutocrats are described in glowing terms. Every one of them seems to have risen to wealth and power through merit alone, with no help from good fortune, on the way. According to Freeland, superior education and unrivaled intellect are what separates the .01% from everyone else. In Freeland's world, what benefits the plutocrats is invariably the best thing for everyone else, in the end.

In this book, critical discussion is almost nonexistent. Instead unchecked adulation prevails. There is a chapter on plutocratic charitable giving in which various, sometimes dissonant opinions of different plutocrats are all presented as equally valid. It turns out most of the charitable giving is just a tiny percentage of income.

There is zero discussion of plutocratic manipulation and control of government for profit. Outsourcing is mentioned but with only a passing acknowledgment of the damage it has done developed countries.... Or the damage virtual slave labor and starvation wages have done in the countries providing cheap labor for the plutocrats additional enrichment. Nothing is said about plutocratic tax avoidance by hoarding wealth in Switzerland and Caribbean islands.

I found the plutocratic lifestyle descriptions interesting at first but later, the book becomes repetitious. I really didn't need the book to know that the ultra rich lead luxuriously nomadic, global lifestyles and are increasing isolated in their own social class. The title is misleading because there is virtually no discussion of "The Fall of Everyone Else". I would imagine the publisher had a big influence on the title because, judging by the text of the book, I can't imagine that Freeland would have used anything but the beginning of the title herself.

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Hey, you have some good reviews here, but not this one. You're review is way skewed. This book doesn't glorify the uber rich man. All it does is take a look at some personal lives without an accompanying hate festival.

 

It also makes observations about globalization and how new economic power seeks to alter the rules of trade and tax.

 

Freedland is a Liberal party member in Canada, now the minister of trade in the Trudeau govt. How would you explain that from your review?

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Thanks RudeParrot.

 

From my own point of view, I'm reviewing the content of the book; What's between the covers... Not whether Ms Freeland's politics reflect or conflict with what she wrote.

 

I bought the book on Amazon.com and this is the same review I added to the hundreds already posted there. When reading through a sampling of the reviews, you see many opinions. Some are similar to mine. Others, even more scathing. But "Plutocrats" and Ms Freeland get high praise from a big majority of Amazon reviewers. That doesn't mean one must agree with the majority.

 

You might want to write your own review in this room, presenting your unique assessment.

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Thanks Bludogg. My unique assessment.... errr.... there might have been some undue adulation to certain lives in the book.... that's a matter of perspective. If you insist it's what she was doing, maybe we can chalk it up to her trying to be 'balanced' for the sake of the critique that was on the way.

 

Anyhow... reviews/opinions... we can go straight to the source. Heres her talking about the subject matter, for anyone else who happens by this thread.

 

 

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Thanks for posting the video.

 

Freeland's ideas as set forth in the video, encapsulate the type of discourse I would have expected, judging by the title of the book. Her speech is full of insightful analysis. She mentions the uncommon gifts many of the super rich share, but unlike the book, it's only in passing. And she goes into some depth about how plutocratic meritocracy tends to deteriorate into crony capitalism. How, while lifting millions out of poverty in the third world, globalization is hollowing out the middle class in the first world.

 

I don't want to regurgitate the whole speech, but I'm very impressed. The book gave no hint, to me at least, that Ms Freeland was possessed of such depth. At the end of the speech she even calls for the pursuit of ambitious social programs and a new New Deal.

 

I was inspired by most of what Ms Freeland said in the speech but I felt let down by her book.

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