Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Economic Worries and the Global Elite. By Chrystia Freeland.

Economic worries and the global elite. By Chrystia Freeland. Reuters, June 17, 2013.

The age of global plutocracy: Chrystia Freeland at TEDGlobal 2013. By Karen Eng. TED Blog, June 12, 2013.


Disclosure alert: I was a speaker, too. I talked about my chief obsession, soaring global income inequality, particularly at the very top of the pyramid, and the uncomfortable fact that the same forces that are enriching the global super-elite are hollowing out the middle class in the Western developed economies. Making capitalism work for everyone, and not just the plutocrats, I argued, is our most pressing political and economic problem.

Taken together, and given the gilded venue, all of these comments amount to a significant shift in tone. Charlie Robertson, the global chief economist for Renaissance Capital, the Russian-based investment bank, was moved to post on Twitter, in reaction to the TED lineup, that the “intellectual ascendancy of neo-liberalism since 70s may be in retreat.”

That is probably going too far. But we do seem to be at a turning point, or the beginning of one. Judging by this week in Edinburgh, even the winners in the global economy are beginning to realize that there are a lot of losers, too, and that that’s a problem. You might see that as too little too late; you might also see it as, at long last, a start.