HuffPost Book of the Month!
Shadow Elite is Arianna's January Book Club selection.
How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market
(Basic Books; December 1, 2009)
Janine R. Wedel
Governments and administrations come and go, but not so a new breed of power brokers, who always seem to pop up just where the action is. Wearing different hats, they press their agendas in venue after venue. According to award-winning public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine Wedel, these are the "shadow elite," the prime movers in a vexing new system of power and influence.
Wedel charts how these players make public decisions without public input—in realms from domestic to foreign and financial policy. Maneuvering through their many spheres of influence, they challenge both governments' rules of accountability and businesses' codes of competition, ultimately answering only to each other. From the Harvard economists who helped privatize post-Soviet Russia and the neoconservatives who helped privatize American foreign policy for thirty years (culminating with the debacle that is Iraq) to many lesser-known global operators, these players flout once-sacrosanct boundaries between state and private, bureaucracy and market. This new breed, unseen by most, is steadily gaining power.
Original and eye-opening, Shadow Elite gives us the tools we need to recognize these players and understand the new system—which we ignore at our peril.