Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making

David Rothkopf, Author Farrar, Straus & Giroux $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-374-27210-4

Books on world elites tend to focus on the superwealthy, but political scholar Rothkopf (Running the World ) has written a serious and eminently readable evaluation of the superpowerful. Until recent decades, great-power governments provided most of the “superclass,” accompanied by a few heads of international movements (i.e., the pope) and entrepreneurs (Rothschilds, Rockefellers). Today, economic clout—fueled by the explosive expansion of international trade, travel and communication—rules. The nation state’s power has diminished, according to Rothkopf, shrinking politicians to minority power broker status. Leaders in international business, finance and the defense industry not only dominate the superclass, they move freely into high positions in their nations’ governments and back to private life largely beyond the notice of elected legislatures (including the U.S. Congress), which remain abysmally ignorant of affairs beyond their borders. The superelites’ disproportionate influence over national policy is often constructive, but always self-interested. Across the world, the author contends, few object to corruption and oppressive governments provided they can do business in these countries. Neither hand-wringing nor worshipful, this book delivers an unsettling account of what the immense and growing power of this superclass bodes for the future. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2008
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
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