11 thoughts on “The Downward Mobility of the Virtuecrats”

  1. Certainly does make sense to me, as well as explaining why OWS is getting the warm sloppy tongue-bath from the news media (in spite of the on-going law-breaking) as opposed to the various Tea Party rallies. I’d have to add that the Tea Partiers I knew were working-class or small-business owners, with a fair sprinkling of military veterans among them. The one college professor was a professor of accounting.

  2. I was starting to read this and it would seem Kenneth has violated a basic rule of writing – defining his terms up front.

    Who is this “new class” and how were they formed?

    What the !@#$%^ is he talking about?

    Of course it is very early and I haven’t had my coffee ;-)

    This lofty essay could in reality be going right over my head.

  3. New Class was originally a term in dissident Marxist theory to describe communist party apparatchiks and nomenklatura.

    It is akin to terms like chattering classes, Bobos, tranzis, etc.

  4. “The prospects of the lower tier New Class semi-professionals are dissolving at an alarming rate. Student loan debt is a large part of its problems…”. That’s the first good argument I’ve seen for the otherwise catastrophic American student loan system. It’s impoverishing a bunch of rent-seekers. That’ll do them a power of good.

  5. Re the preference for RULING the labor of others versus actually doing useful work oneself, see “English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit, 1850-1980,” by Martin Weiner. Excerpt:

    “The standards of value of this new elite of civil servants, professionals, financiers, and landed proprietors, inculcated by a common eduction in public schools and ancient universities and reflected in the literary culture it patronized, permeated by their prestige much of British society beyond the elite itself. Those standards did little to support, and much to discourage, economic dynamism. They threw earlier enthusiams for technology into disrepute, emphasized the social evils brought by the industrial revolution, directed attention to issues of the “quality of life” in preference to the quantitative concerns of production and expansion, and disparaged the restlessness and acquisitiveness of industrial capitalism.”

  6. There’s a lot to this theory. It reminds me of David Cannadine’s argument (http://www.amazon.com/Ornamentalism-How-British-Their-Empire/dp/0195146603 — actually, it was not original to him, Orwell among others saw it too) that a lot of the machinery of the Third British Empire had the effect (which aided its perpetuation and growth) of providing jobs with suitable status to the bottom rung of respectable middle class British people. Not much money, but you could have a house, servants, children’s educations, and job status that you couldn’t have had back in England, so long as you didn’t mind an often-horrible climate and the fact that the servants and many of your work underlings wouldn’t be white. Orwell talked a lot about these people. The Lower Party in 1984 were the totalitarian-society version of them.

  7. David – it is really Bill – incognito – at work ;-)

    i used to write business letters on the level of Tolstoy’s War and Peace until I finally learned that brevity is the soul of wit, to quote a famous writer. `

    Someone told me that Eisenhower, when in charge of he European allied forces, used to demand memos to be no more than a page long – forcing writers to be succinct and to-the-point.

    For some reason Kenneth’s piece and I didn’t get along this morning ;-)

  8. I’m with Dearieme. These people are perhaps the most noxious tyrants of all; the ones that will crush you in order to achieve a progressive utopia. With a sickeningly smug expression on their faces the entire time.

    May they end up bagging groceries at Whole Foods until they are in their 70s.

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