“The oligarchs are playing a dangerous game by pouring trillions into woke causes.”

Joel Kotkin:

Beware of plutocrats bearing gifts. The annual clown show at Davos epitomises how today, the global elites have embraced an unholy trinity of ‘progressive’ doctrines: climate-change apocalypticism, a belief in systemic racism and racial ‘equity’, and radical gender ideology. The super-rich hope that by genuflecting to these causes, they can buy themselves political protection and fend off the activists lurking in the ranks of their own companies. Yet, in the long run, this could end up fuelling their demise.

The recent ‘Great Awokening’ of our elites reflects a long-standing shift among executives in terms of priorities and perspective. The capitalist class first arose out of the middle orders, and even from within the peasantry, as the industrial revolution, particularly in the Netherlands and Britain, challenged the autocracy of both the church and the monarchical state. These were often tough, ruthless entrepreneurs embodying values of hard work, thrift, family and faith. 

But with the managerial revolution of the 1950s, the nature of executive elites changed. As sociologist Daniel Bell first identified half a century ago, business leaders were no longer upstarts and thus the natural opponents of state power. Instead, they reflected a new type of individualism, unmoored from religion and family, a worldview which transformed the foundations of middle-class culture. The goal of this new executive class, as Bell saw it, was not so much building great companies, but gaining accolades from their peers, the press and the public – a trend also set out in Alvin Toffler’s 1980 book, The Third Wave.

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