Oligarchy in the Twenty-First Century

Sean Eldridge mingles with a local commoner. (Facebook)

“To see what is in front of one’s nose,” George Orwell famously wrote, “needs a constant struggle.” In front of my nose as I write this is a copy of last Sunday’s New York Times. I have opened it to the business section. Below the fold is one of many Times articles on Thomas Piketty, the French economist and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which argues that America has entered a second Gilded Age of vast inequality, inherited fortunes, and oligarchic politics, where the shape of public discourse and public policy is determined by a wealthy few.

The Media Mogul Protection Racket

Carlos Slim, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Hughes

I was halfway into the latest celebratory profile of Chris Hughes, the Facebook multi-millionaire and owner of the New Republic, when I was struck by the following idea, which I provide free of charge. If you are a millionaire or billionaire looking to avoid negative or critical or even remotely credulous press coverage, stop what you are doing, invest in a media property, and employ liberal writers and editors. You will probably lose a lot of money, but the intangible benefits of slavish praise and deflected criticism will be priceless.