Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Bourgeois Overproduction and the Problem of the Fake Elite

The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 36 Elite overproduction is a concept that was forwarded by the anthropologist Peter Turchin to attempt to explain some part of why we face growing social instability in today’s society. This is an insightful concept that deserves serious consideration in our present circumstances. It is characterized by a society engaging in practices, like sending too many people to college or for advanced degrees, that create conditions for potential elites to end up underemployed and underaccomplished in the existing socioeconomic power structure of society, and it breeds resentment in this class of people. Indeed, it generates a bourgeoisie, which in turn generates social instability due to the overproliferation of their values and, eventually, ressentiment. In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay walks through the idea of elite overproduction to focus in on the operant problem that it leads to, bourgeois overproduction, and posits that this problem is the seat of the Woke menace and many of the large-scale ills that have arisen in similar form over the past few centuries in prosperous societies. He also discusses the ways in which the Marxian characterization of the bourgeoisie was imprecise in a way that led to identifying something akin to this problem while misdiagnosing its true foundations (or his own role in it). Join him for a detailed discussion of this phenomenon.

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