Arnold Kling has long been following and promoting Martin Gurri’s book: The Revolt of the Public.
A similar 1930 Spanish book by Jose Gasset has been translated, The Revolt of the Masses, reviewed in GoodReads:
Ortega’s mass-man was supremely self-centered, threatened by greater intellect or knowledge, refinement, superior skill, etc. Rather than respecting people with such attributes, the mass feels compelled to ridicule them and tear them down. One can hear echoes of this attitude in the phrase, ‘Sure he’s smart, but it’s all from books. He has no common sense.’
This seems similar much that Gurri talks about in
Other quotes (from Amazon):
“All over the world, elite institutions from governments to media to academia are losing their authority and monopoly control of information to dynamic amateurs and the broader public. This book, until now only in samizdat (and Kindle) form, has been my #1 handout for the last several years to anyone seeking to understand this unfolding shift in power from hierarchies to networks in the age of the Internet.” —Marc Andreessen, co-founder, Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz
“We are in an open war between publics with passionate and untutored interests and elites who believe they have the right to guide those publics. Gurri asks the essential question: can liberal representative democracy survive the rise of the publics?” –Roger Berkowitz
What we are really upset about is the loss of our American Dream: a spouse, buying a home in a reasonable neighborhood, a good job (good enough?), some kids who can have their own dreams. A big part of the Dream is to live better than our parents, to aspire to a “better life”. We are losing that, as Joel Kotkin says in The End of Aspiration.
Since the end of the Second World War, middle- and working-class people across the Western world have sought out—and, more often than not, achieved—their aspirations. These usually included a stable income, a home, a family, and the prospect of a comfortable retirement. However, from Sydney to San Francisco, this aspiration is rapidly fading as a result of a changing economy, soaring land costs, and a regulatory regime, all of which combine to make it increasingly difficult for the new generation to achieve a lifestyle like that enjoyed by their parents. This generational gap between aspiration and disappointment could define our demographic, political, and social future.
This is also related to ever increasing income inequality, and especially wealth inequality. Various proposals, some more silly than others, are being proposed. My own current thoughts are both a low but progressive wealth tax and various more progressive income taxes that are revenue neutral, with the money mostly going back to married people with kids. We also need better measures, like the top 1% income, top 10% income, median 50% income. Here’s poverty report.
The money income Gini index was 0.482 in 2017, not statistically different from 2016. Changes in money income inequality between 2016 and 2017 were not statistically significant as measured by the other indicators: the Theil index, the MLD, or the Atkinson measure.
So, more work to find out these other measures. I’m not thinking of my own 1-median and 10-median ratios:
(income at top 1%) / median = 1-median ratio.
(income at top 10%) / median = 10-median ratio.
(income at top 20%) / median = 20-median ratio.
(income at top 20%) / (income at bottom 20%) = 20 top/bottom ratio. (80/20 percentiles).