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Billionaires

Reflections on the Upper Crust

Darrell M. West (author)

ISBN: 9780815725961

Publication Date: Jul 2014

Format: Paperback

Also available as: Hardback  

The top one percent own about one-third of the assets in America and 40 percent of assets around the world. This concentration of financial resources in many countries gives the ultra-rich extraordinary influence over elections, public policy, and governance. Darrell West's Billionaires analyses the growing political activism of the ultra-rich and the manner in which they have pioneered more activist forms of politics and philanthropy.
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The top one percent own about one-third of the assets in America and 40 percent of assets around the world. This concentration of financial resources in many countries gives the ultra-rich extraordinary influence over elections, public policy, and governance.

In his new book, Darrell M. West analyzes the growing political activism of billionaires and how they have created more activist forms of politics and philanthropy based on their net worth. With this "wealthification" of politics and society, it is important to understand how this concentration of wealth affects system performance as well as social and economic opportunity.

Through personal interactions and rich anecdotes, West takes us inside the world of the super-wealthy through a balanced and insightful analysis of U.S. billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson, David and Charles Koch, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Peter Thiel, Donald Trump and Tom Steyer. And looking abroad, West analyzes the billionaires who have run for office in nations such as Austria, Australia, France, Georgia, India, Italy, Russia, Thailand, and the Ukraine. From oligarchs in Russia and Eastern Europe to princelings in China, tycoons raise important questions about political influence, transparency, accountability, and government performance. This book argues that countries need policies that promote better transparency, governance, and opportunity.

Reviews

"Darrell West has taken us on a thoughtful romp through the world of our new billionaire class… to understand and explain who they are and what they do. This is both an important book and a good read."–E. J. Dionne, Georgetown University, USA

"In the United States and across the world, billionaires are front and center in politics – running for office, bankrolling campaigns and lobbies, pushing policy messages. With a riveting mix of facts and stories, Darrell West tells us who these new plutocrats are, what they think about politics, and how they manuever to get what they want. West faces the tough ethical issues, too, and asks whether watchdogs can still bark at billionaires operating in secret. BILLIONAIRES is a must read for all who care about the future of democracy."–Theda Skocpol, Harvard University
Language English
Pages 269
Dimensions 216 x 140
Date Published 30 Jul 2014
Publisher Brookings Institution Press
Subject/s Social classes   International economics   Political science & theory   Pressure groups & lobbying  
Darrell M. West is vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is also the founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation. His previous books include Digital Schools: How Technology Can Transform Education, Digital Medicine: Health Care in the Internet Era, and Brain Gain: Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy.

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