Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £13.79

Buy Now for £13.79

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Following a remarkable epoch of greater dispersion of wealth and opportunity, we are inexorably returning towards a more feudal era marked by greater concentration of wealth and property, reduced upward mobility, demographic stagnation, and increased dogmatism. If the last 70 years saw a massive expansion of the middle class, not only in America but in much of the developed world, today that class is declining and a new, more hierarchical society is emerging. 

The new class structure resembles that of Medieval times. At the apex of the new order are two classes - a reborn clerical elite, the clerisy, which dominates the upper part of the professional ranks, universities, media, and culture, and a new aristocracy led by tech oligarchs with unprecedented wealth and growing control of information. These two classes correspond to the old French First and Second Estates. 

Below these two classes lies what was once called the Third Estate. This includes the yeomanry, which is made up largely of small businesspeople, minor property owners, skilled workers, and private-sector oriented professionals. Ascendant for much of modern history, this class is in decline while those below them, the new Serfs, grow in numbers - a vast, expanding property-less population. 

The trends are mounting, but we can still reverse them - if people understand what is actually occurring and have the capability to oppose them.

©2020 by Joel Kotkin (P)2020 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Coming of Neo-Feudalism

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    111
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    7
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    105
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    102
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    10

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Catchy title but intellectually lazy thesis

The problem of an increasingly rentier & financialised economy is a real one as demonstrated by Thomas Philipon. I was hoping this would be of similar quality to something like The Great Reversal, detailing the strangling of US competition. I had separately coined the reversion to feudalism to describe spiralling housing & living costs in the west.

However this is mainly an excuse by the author to rant & make broad statements where examples to back up is thesis are sparse or non existent. It is barely above the level of a Twitter rant saying down with SJWs. The authors claim of environmentalism as faith is particularly bizarre, & one that he makes little attempt to justify. Half way through & id be surprised if there isnt a rant about trans towards the end.

While the author hits on one or two decent headline indicators of inequality it is only to fit a pre existing narrative, he does little to embellish or further justify his arguments. Even the parts I was sympathetic too are just far too poorly contextualised or supported via studies & examples. The result being a glorified opinion blog.

I fear this may ruin the neo feudalism term for me as by association if this becomes a popular book.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A diatribe against the modern world

Read this and you'd think there was nothing good in the world or no such thing as human progress. The author goes on and on railing against everything in the modern world in a way that is extremely unbalanced and doesn't reflect the world we live in. There is almost a narcissism to this type of Chomsky left wing self bashing that seems founded on a sense of the person's superiority to the rest of the world. It's not really helpful for those who want to live in a better world, as while trashing everything is easy, proposing solutions to a complex world is very hard. For that I'd recommend the books of Thomas Pickerty.

To the books merit the basic observation that the middle and working class are being hollowed out and a new overlord elite is forming may be valid, but the book was messy in its structure and poorly argued.

As to it's very negative portrayal of the modern world, I think a month in mediaeval Europe or parts of sub Saharan Africa would probably help the authors perspective as the last time I checked I had food in my fridge, an internet connection, access to healthcare and a police force and army to protect me, all of which are the fruits of the modern world succeeding and which are not to be taken for granted. This book is the opposite of Stephen Pincker's overely positive view of the world, maybe they should be read together as I'm suggesting reality lies somewhere in between these two extreme positions.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely riveting / superb

A real page turner, i couldn't stop listening. The author puts his finger on everything of concern in regard to recent unsettling developments and illuminates it.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 22-10-21

interesting and insightful but has some flaws

Kotkin's overview of current society, raises several points suggest a decline of the middle class in importance, prosperity and morality. It also makes a point of a moral collapse. This seems deeply flawed leading to a "young people suck these days" argument which damages the overall thesis. it adds fuel to the misnomer that the media keeps peddling serving as a distraction to what unabashed captial disparity is doing to our soceity. There also seems a lack of engagement with where we should go from here, other than to try a revert back fifty years. Something that seems complete pipe dream since Reagan and Thatcher. It however still has some very accurate points of a economic trend which is certainly happening. His historical summaries are also fairly insightful. Worth a read if this stuff is of interest to you- it probably should be but take it with a pinch of salt. He values the middle class above all which gets laughably bizarre at some points, as if he is correct its already far too late and ultimately inevitable.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

very educational and eyes opening

Very educational and eyes opening, what our children are facing in their near future, problems which have been brought upon us by the greed and will to multiply the profits on the cost of the rest of the society

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The most important book in years

Everyone should hear the information and ideas put forth in this book. Well structured, easy to digest, good performance.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Thought-provoking yet tendential

Kotkin gives a stark warning - in the near future, we might find ourselves in the new middle ages with its three separate classes, the nobility, the clerical estate, and the peasants. Chances are, most of us will end up being in the most unenviable class of mere commoners. While this is a fascinating idea, Kotkin seems rather too fond of it to recognise when facts don't always support his argument. The writing can be overly emotional and relying on its rhetoric to carry the argument rather than on thoroughly researched evidence. All in all, read and think, but take with a grain of salt.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Must Read

The points highlight very important characteristics and conundrums of the modern civilization. The take is surprisingly global and isn’t blinding focused on the USA as if no other place on the planet mattered, as it usually happens in similar works. It’s simply brilliant.

Yes, each 3 minute segment could have an entire hour to be more detailed and layered and 360-degree viewed , but the summaries are focused, clear and backed by numbers. One can’t achieve both depth and width in terms of the spectrum of the topic, or else we’d be here for 50 hours.

Disclaimer: I am overall in 95% agreement with the author which certainly skews my judgement of the book. But in my defense I’m in 95% agreement with only one in every hundred books I read/listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read for anyone who cares about their future.

A very concise and accurate portrayal of the meta trends at work. I think to get a more accurate picture one also has to take into account the other historical cycles at play. Read Wheeler, Armstrong, Harari, Davison and Rees-Mogg + Howe and Strauss to get a really accurate understanding of how the coming neo-Feudalism fits into the changing epoc of human interaction; the Information Age.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An important book

This is a really important book that’s beyond simple left or right ideology and instead discusses inequality in all its ghastly forms.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ClothingMonster
  • ClothingMonster
  • 25-01-21

Pretty good but not a lot new

I am inspired by the neo-feudalism but saddened by the book's description of the collapsing traditional USA family. It's cliché in 2020 but it really seems to be the case that "our elites want us broke, dead, our kids brainwashed, and they think it's funny."

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeremy Seifert
  • Jeremy Seifert
  • 19-12-20

Sobering but engaging read

This book taps into many of the dynamics I've noticed in our society and expand on them. Kotkin weaves history, sociology, economics and more into this well - done work. It feels bleak at first but it is a call to arms to observe what's going on, draw conclusions on whet these paths lead, and take action as a people to reverse it. Very worth the read.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wayno
  • Wayno
  • 28-04-21

sneaks up on you.

about halfway through, I realized he was shaming liberals for not playing fair with conservatives.
nothing about the inverse.
curious.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gabriel
  • Gabriel
  • 23-02-21

Politically unbiased and timely

This book is a rare find. It is a very good analysis of our contemporary society and economics without being either left or right. One of the most important books I have read the past years

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-03-21

Makes sense of the current era

This book put everything into perspective for me, instead of fluctuating wildly between wild conspiracy theories to the new "normal" as defined by society I now at least can understand why societal issues such as the Qanon phenomenon, Soros' open society, and SJW movement.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Maps
  • Maps
  • 19-02-21

Educational

The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens. Good information in how the world works.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Julie Schmidt
  • Julie Schmidt
  • 30-10-21

A must read before it is too late for America

This is a profound warning to what remains of the American middle class. Either we rise up and boldly reclaim what our parents and grandparents built or we will lose all to a small minority of technocrats. Disengage from the conditioning of social media and re-engage with your neighbors. Our future depends upon it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-03-21

scary real.

only 4 chapters in and I need to gwt my hand on a physical copy. this book is scary real. must be protected

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kilgore Trout
  • Kilgore Trout
  • 25-12-20

Analysis or political manifest?

Author describes the actual concentration of wealth and how the actual aristocrats want to remain in power. He ignores the fact that technical innovation always brought inequality. Train displaced couches, and chariots, leaving a lot of freelancers unemployed,vehicle making rich people with money to invest and land owners. The difference now is that new technologies are frictionless, Vanderbilt monopolize railroads in US but he couldn't monopolize in UK, while an app can monopolize users all over the world. Another thing that I didn't like, is mixing the green energies in the political discussion, he says that investing in wind or solar can produce problems while investing in nuclear and hidro is safer. Because we know what are the problems are? Nuclear accidents and damage on river ecosystems? He doesn't brings arguments for his energy opinion, and he is biased. Also he is contradictory regarding population, he complains that US lost jobs in manufacturing but he complains of decrease in population, and implicitly in workforce in the future. He upheld the idea that the backbone of the democracy is the propriety owning middle class, which I agree

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-04-22

Grim Truth

Well explains how we are all being reduced to being serfs. Even physicians often find themselves employees by venture capital firms that have bought up once physician owned practices. The once pro und and independent middle class now all work a masters field. The masters all have an HR department and DEI officer that regulates their public speech and even private opinions