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Elite Privilege

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

In this country, we have a division between the elite and the rest of society. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, David Brooks asks a question of this elite class: “What if We’re the Bad Guys Here?” He has his peers consider a different story.

“This story begins in the 1960s, when high school grads had to go off to fight in Vietnam, but the children of the educated class got college deferments. It continues in the 1970s, when the authorities imposed busing on working-class areas in Boston but not on the upscale communities like Wellesley where they themselves lived.”

He reminds us that the elite have taken over whole professions and thereby locked everyone else out. He even describes his own profession of journalism. Most working in the media today come from one of the most elite universities in the nation.

He quotes Daniel Markovits whose book, The Meritocracy Trap, explains that “elite graduates monopolize the best jobs and at the same time invent new technologies that privilege superskilled workers, making the best jobs better and all other jobs worse.”

Armed with so much power, he argues that elites “support policies that help ourselves. Free trade makes the products we buy cheaper, and our jobs are unlikely to be moved to China. Open immigration makes our service staff cheaper, but new, less-educated immigrants aren’t likely to put downward pressure on our wages.”

David Brooks doesn’t believe they are the “bad guys,” but at least provides some insight into why so many Americans feel they have been left behind and live in a world that benefits the elites often to the detriment of the rest of society. This next election will determine if this changes or continues.viewpoints new web version

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