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The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Metropolitan Elite Paperback – 28 februari 2021
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In this controversial and groundbreaking analysis, Michael Lind, one of America's leading thinkers, debunks the idea that the insurgencies are primarily the result of bigotry and reveals the real battle lines. He traces how the breakdown of class compromises has left large populations in Western democracies politically adrift. We live in a globalized world that benefits elites in high income 'hubs' while suppressing the economic and social interests of those in more traditional lower-wage 'heartlands'.
A bold framework for understanding the world, The New Class War argues that only a fresh class settlement can avert a never-ending cycle of clashes between oligarchs and populists - and save democracy.
- Uitgever : Faber and Faber; 1e editie (28 februari 2021)
- Taal : Engels
- Paperback : 240 pagina's
- ISBN-10 : 1786499576
- ISBN-13 : 978-1786499578
- Afmetingen : 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Plaats in bestsellerlijst: #231,950 in Boeken (Top 100 in bekijkenBoeken)
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In the tradition of Rorty, Goodwin and Goodhart, he points to the legitimate grievances, the middle classes don't want to hear. He also points, in retrospect with great foresight, to the brewing disaster of outsourcing to China.
To get a flavour, read his recent piece in the Us Jewish magazine called "Tablet".
Lind does what is so hard to do these days, he rises above the factionalism and fear created by those at the top and just explains how things got like this, why people are angry and how demagogues simply rode upon the very real and understandable frustrations of people ignored by a liberal elite that sees itself as morally superior but really just serves itself.
I think he missed a trick in not exploring the current politics of moral 'inquisition' created by the same elite, as well as skipping the impact of social media - both in its good and bad aspects.
But, let's face it - these days with the BBC effectively a one-trick pony, the main newspapers dumbed down or manically moralistic, there are scant opportunities to engage with intelligent discussion of politics and economics today.
If you are reading this Michael Lind - well done! Keep up the great work!
The problem of this being a ludicrously wide net should be obvious. Lind's theory is contradictory, it's confused. It attempts to separate the economic, the political and the cultural, all while providing rational explanations for changes that fail to acknowledge anything emotive or linked in these three groups. He even acknowledges in chapter 7 that being university educated is not an indicator of gaining from neoliberal policy, that owning capital or shares is. He quotes a socialist on letting downtrodden people in positions of power not changing the fact of domination and merely changing the faces. Yet he still brings it back to his 'university-educated managerial overclass', failing to ever recognise the distinct lack of any power managers tend to have until the board level, beyond hiring or firing team members, nor that earning $30,000 or $50,000 as a teacher or manager is is no way an appropriate measure to put millionaires or billionaires in the same "class".
His working class (for much of the book, he prefers to focus on the "native" working class, as any immigrant working class is an inconvenience) is one that votes against immigration purely for the sake of preserving their power of negotiation against "the managerial overclass" - again, a wide net from teachers to the actual capitalists that do the vast majority of the legwork for Lind's theory to make even remote sense. His solution is to increase working class power in his divided economic, political and cultural spheres, primarily by re-installing labour unions, mass parties and churches for each of his respective divisions of politics. He assumes this will create a balance of power that would stop either neoliberal technocrats or populist demagogues winning elections.
Lind's idea is in dire need of post-structuralist critique for Lind to recognise the issue with trusting institutions to instill power into the masses, but it's his cultural division that drastically lets him down. Lind both fails to recognise that there is a conservative elite regularly manipulating the culturally regressive working class as much as there is a neoliberal elite regularly manipulating the culturally progressive sections of the working class (which at times Lind recognises, at times Lind confines to simply being part of his "overclass"). He paints progressive ideas as a boogeyman of neoliberal bosses, attempting to steal steak from the plate of the proletariat. He fails to understand the difference between bigotry which is acted upon as an individual and bigotry which is held but only voted upon. He is furious at the idea of authoritarian values in a way that reveals he is almost certainly unfamiliar with the way philosophical value tests use loaded language to judge tendency based on how the subject interprets that language - going so far as to posit that those who would question the idea of a strong leader, state, and national identity as 'amoral sociopaths'.
Lind's failure ultimately appears to be a lack of reading material outside of the political confines of US politics. He is a product of his nation's norms attempting to think outside it, and sadly he fails to do so sufficiently to create a theory that doesn't rely on abstraction of society into two poorly designated opposed groups.