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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

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Maps
  • 19-02-21

Educational

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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."

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  • 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