Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog


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Go here.  It’s the theory I usually see explaining Islamism and Islamic terrorism.  But this is about us.



Written by janeh

November 21st, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses to 'Elites'

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  1. Much of this makes sense. I do note that we have violence spikes in the 1850’s and 1970’s at the very beginnings of “elite overproduction” and then, even though elite overproduction gets worse, not again until 1920. (And, presumably 2020?)

    He also–and I know it’s not altogether fair to criticize a book-size subject on the basis of an article–doesn’t address WHY wealth becomes more concentrated, or the competency of the ruling class, both of which surely play some part in social disintegration.

    I might suggest that elite overproduction is perhaps a different cycle, so that displacing southerners with Yankees in 1865 eased the surplus elite problem, but didn’t fix the “Gilded Age” problems of tariff barriers, government grants and monopolies and anti-union legislation. When those were addressed in the Progressive Era and New Deal, the violence died down. By analogy, if we get rid of some of our surplus elites, but keep our corrupt and corrupting regulatory structure, we may not solve our present problems.

    But the article is suggestive, and I’ll keep the book in mind.


    21 Nov 13 at 2:26 pm

  2. I have a couple of superficial quibbles. First, while I understand that the definition of “elites” is very flexible, I don’t agree that wannabe elites, ie those who pretend that they are “educated” just because they have a college degree should fairly be included in that group. In my admittedly jaundiced view of the world, elites is as elites does, and I don’t see any surplus of genuine elites. More’s the pity.

    Second, and this harkens back to a point Jane made lo, these several long years ago while discussing, IIRC, Christopher Lasch’s “Revolt of the Elites”. The problem is that they ain’t getting enough of the love that they think they deserve as of right.


    21 Nov 13 at 7:11 pm

  3. True, Mique! One of the problems is that wealth and education are pretty much infinite potentially, but fame and political power are pretty much zero-sum. That ought to lead to a smaller percentage of the wealthy and educated going into politics, and even–in theory–to a more highly qualified governmental elite. Instead, we’ve got just what he describes: hordes of Clinton and Obama types who can’t imagine any career but ruling over the masses.

    What he doesn’t mention is how badly prepared they are to do so. One suspects the author’s own education resembles that of our recent string of incompetents. Everyone who gets to the top thinks the present promotion system is a good one.


    22 Nov 13 at 9:29 am

  4. Eating crow here. Turchin has real degrees in biology and zoololgy.



    22 Nov 13 at 9:32 am

  5. Going back to history, I keep thinking about the Goth invasion of the Roman Empire. The US and Western Europe seem to have lost control of their borders and are making no attempt to assimilate the immigrants. The parallels to Rome are distressing.


    22 Nov 13 at 7:08 pm

  6. Another revolt of the elites, perhaps?


    Just gotta love that “micro-aggression”.


    23 Nov 13 at 6:52 pm

  7. jd

    24 Nov 13 at 12:51 am

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