For much of the last part of the 20th Century, the world’s middle class was ascendant, expanding and, in most countries, firmly in control of national politics and culture. Yet in more recent decades, this process has been slowly reversed, in the United States as well as in Europe and, increasingly, East Asia.
Host: Amanda Vanstone
What happened to social democracy? Joel Kotkin reminds us that it was ‘born of the radical Left in Marx’s own time, social democrats worked, sometimes with remarkable success, to improve the living standards of working people by accommodating the virtues of capitalism’. Now, he says that ‘in its place, we find a kind of progressivism that focuses on gender, sexual preference, race, and climate change’. He takes us through the history of social democracy to today’s progressives and says that ‘arguably the single greatest distinction between social democracy and the new progressivism lies in the word agency. The original social democrats sought “to enhance their economic power” by mobilizing grassroots support. In contrast, today’s “Left” tends to favour rule by experts’. They have a preference for censorship and the political repression of uncooperative political tendencies’. How did this happen and why?
Click to play the audio:
Host: Virtual Salon
On: Fieldstead and Company
Fieldstead opened its 2021 salon series with Joel Kotkin, described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer.” Joel is an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political, and social trends. His work over the past decade has focused on inequality and class mobility as well as how regions can address these pressing issues. Joel discusses his research findings from his recent book, The Coming Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class.
By: Brendan O’Neill
Joel Kotkin, author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism, joins spiked’s editor for the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show. They discuss the aristocratic arrogance of the tech oligarchs, the failure of ‘progressive’ politics and the battle to preserve liberal democracy.
By: Howard Husack, Daniel Kennelly
On: City Journal
Howard Husock is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor at City Journal, and author of Who Killed Civil Society? The Rise of Big Government and Decline of Bourgeois Norms (September 2019), Philanthropy Under Fire (2013), and The Trillion-Dollar Housing Mistake: The Failure of American Housing Policy (2003). He recently spoke with Daniel Kennelly, associate editor of City Journal, about what cities can do to bring back residents and businesses after the pandemic, what to look for as the New York mayoral race heats up, and how conservative politicians might appeal to big-city voters.
What are your thoughts on New York’s prospects for the coming year?
In the near term, it’s hard to be optimistic. Even if a Covid-19 vaccine becomes widely available, there will be a hangover from the pandemic crisis. Families with school-age children have suffered under a dysfunctional Department of Education, and homelessness and lawlessness have spread. Many suburbanites who patronize the theater and restaurants have not even come into the city since March. A return to reliable city services is key to recovery. Read more
Casey Chalk reviews The Coming of Neo-Feudalism
Perhaps one of the great cons of the twenty-first century has been corporate America’s success in deceiving middle-class and lower-class Americans that corporations are on their side, while profiting from international tax havens and cheap foreign or immigrant labor that reduces American jobs and keeps money from American taxpayers. Major American businesses declare their woke credentials vis-à-vis Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and other activist causes, while they send their jobs (and even sometimes their headquarters) overseas. Companies denounce “toxic masculinity” while benefiting from foreign child labor. Read more
Robert Grant Price reviews The Coming of Neo-Feudalism
Feudal times are here again. This is a thesis Joel Kotkin hammers to a fine point in The Coming of Neo-Feudalism, a clarifying study-of-the-moment presented as sweeping history.
The idea behind the book is simple: Kotkin says the social hierarchy of the Middle Ages closely traces the lines of today. If our society continues down the current path of economic disparity and social disintegration, the feudalism we left behind will return. With force. And it will be the middle class, the benefactors of liberal capitalism, who will suffer most. Read more