Illustration by Rose Wong
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Issue No. 41 | Spring 2021

The Ruling Class

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The Invention of Inequality

From chiefs and kings to billionaires today, a small handful of humans over thousands of years have figured out how to amass tremendous power and wealth. We talked to an anthropologist about how the ruling class got started.

I Was a 1970s CIA Brat

At the height of the Cold War, my father was a station chief for the Central Intelligence Agency. It was a front-row seat for the last gasp of the WASP spy.

More Fun for More People

The architect, planner, and landowner Clough Williams-Ellis dedicated his estate to an experiment in “propaganda for architecture.” How did it become best known as the cutest of all the fictional dystopias?

Monopoly Music

Today’s ruling class treats all culture as either commodity or plaything. We should not accept either definition.

Pop of the Fops

From Boy George to Bryan Ferry, the New Romantics were working-class youths who created their own imaginary aristocracy through 1980s pop stardom. Did the mask end up eating the face?

Twilight of the Boarding School Boys

East Coast boarding schools once prepared “ordinary” boys from the elite for national leadership — helping them forge friendships, networks, and marriages to rule the country.

Political Elites Aren’t Worried About Inflation

With the passage of a $2 trillion stimulus bill, deficit-phobia appears to be waning in Washington. But it’s not because lawmakers have been won over to redistributive policies — it’s because they think the working class is too weak to set off inflation.

Know Your Enemy

G. William Domhoff’s work is a vital reminder that the task of changing society begins with understanding who holds power in it, and how.