Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Conference Devoted to Studies of Rich People

Paul Sullivan's has a story in NYTimes -- Scrutinizing the Elite, Whether They Like It or Not -- on a recent conference on elites:

Many of the younger scholars said their goal was to do more than just look at tax returns and see who sat on boards. Instead, they said, they want to start looking at the relationships between the elite and the non-elite.

“If you look at the poor as a problem, you’ll be angry at elites or you’ll expect them to come up with a solution,” said Mr. Venkatesh, who took the most pragmatic line. “You have to come in accepting that there will always be poor people in society and there will always be wealthy people in society, and neither of the two reached that status by their own efforts.”

That’s not the usual description of this issue. But otherwise, you risk viewing the rich as rapacious thieves or seeing the poor as lazy freeloaders.