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.
How Big Law Became Big
As US capitalism boomed, attorneys from a handful of New York law firms became powerful viziers of America’s elite.
The Crime of the Century
The mystery of Agatha Christie’s enduring popularity is rooted in a nostalgia for the certainties of the Victorian class system.
From New Labour to Nouveau Riche
Meet Tony Blair, a “democratic socialist.”
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.
An Army of Pete Buttigiegs
McKinsey consultants have packaged capitalism for decades, offering a glimpse into the moral compass of the ruling class.
Take Me to Your Leader: The Rot of the American Ruling Class
For more than three centuries, something has been going horribly wrong at the top of our society, and we’re all suffering for it.
The Political Wing of American Capital
After the upheavals of the 1960s, business leaders were losing control. They fought back through the Chamber of Commerce.
Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams
The TV series Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous inaugurated an era when the ruling class was there to be envied more than to be abolished.
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?
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?
Billionaire Garage Bands
Under capitalism, New York Knicks owner James Dolan can make bad music. Under socialism, we can all make bad music.
At the turn of the last century, Alexandra Kollontai identified the problem with elite feminism.
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.
The Ruling Class Doesn’t Rule — But It’s Got Veto Power
Capitalists don’t need to directly govern the state, or even be particularly organized, in order to get what they want.
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.
They Have the Money, We Have the People
No one wants a world where Billionaire magazine exists but Jacobin doesn’t.