The important takeaways from Kotkin’s work are these three basic points: 1) class relations in developed societies are increasingly resembling those in traditional (feudal), early capitalist or “Third World” societies; 2) the oligarchs of the new high-tech industries and financial institutions have replaced the old bourgeoisie as the dominant sectors of the capitalist class; and 3) the “ideas industries” (education, media/journalism, entertainment, advertising/marketing, human resources, law, etc) which are dominated by the urban professional classes have replaced organized religion as the arbiters and disseminators of values and ideology for the wider society. This transformation is the next phase in the development of capitalism, following the market revolution, the age of exploration, the industrial revolution, and the managerial revolution
By Joel Kotkin
The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the global shift already underway towards a neo-feudal society. With the middle-class economy largely shut down and, in the best-case scenario, in for a long and painful recovery, the population that is barely hanging on is expanding rapidly in America and around the world. In the U.S. alone, the ranks of the poor are projected to increase by as much as 50 percent, to levels not seen in at least a half century.
It’s interesting how class divisions in the US have become so wide that even the right-wing has started to pay attention, which was previously unheard of in the US. Trump got elected on an anti-neoliberal platform. Tucker Carlson often sounds like Bernie Sanders or even Noam Chomsky in his anti-capitalism. Many on the Alt-Right have become Nazbols. And now neocons are starting to promote Joel Kotkin.
By John Loftus
As recent events show, the elites simply don’t play by the same rules as the rest of the country. Joel Kotkin’s new book explores why — and offers a way out. NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE F or weeks on end, Americans were told to stay indoors. And for weeks on end, Americans listened (for the most part).
Joel Kotkin describes how the “California model” is being applied to the entire world. Kotkin’s analysis is the natural successor to Burnham’s “managerial revolution” thesis.
Joel Kotkin is one of the very best class theorists out there today. Kotkin’s analysis of the techno-oligarch/new clerisy alliance within a framework of metaphorical “neo-feudal” class relations is the natural update of James Burnham’s managerial revolution theory. Add to that Paul Fussell’s analysis of the traditional class system of the US and Tim Keating’s analysis of the lumpenproletariat and you will know most of what you need to know about class relations in the US,
Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and author Joel Kotkin explains how inner city communities will be hit hardest by Covid-19.
Wow. Rising actually interviewed Joel Kotkin. I’m impressed.
This is an interesting debate about the degree to which the US will remain the world’s leading power in the future. The participants are all far more establishmentarian than I am (who isn’t?).
What I think the actual trends show on this question is that while the US will recede as the world’s leading military power, and a more multipolar (i.e. traditional, historic) world order will emerge, the US will continue to be the world’s leading economic power by a wide margin. No other country comes even remotely close to having the economic output of the US. Even China only has half the GDP of the US, and only then because it is largely a province of US capitalism. India is a far distant third, and only because of its large population. Russia is barely on the map as a world economic power.
While the US will continue to be the world’s leading economic power, domestically its class structures will become increasingly stratified and more closely resemble those of Latin America. Joel Kotkin, whom I consider to be one of the very best social scientists out there today, has three books that I think get it right. One of these is The Next Hundred Million, which argues that the US will continue to be a major economic and technological power and one that is increasingly diverse and integrated along cultural and ethnic lines. Another is The New Class Conflict, which argues that the real conflict in the future of US society will be between the rising ruling class consisting of the Tech Oligarchy and New Clerisy (which are comparable to the rising capitalist class of the 19th century) and what Sam Francis called the “post-bourgeois proletariat,” i.e. the reproletarianized working to middle classes that have experienced a significant decline in recent decades, along with the growing masses of the poor generally. The third book is the forthcoming The Coming of Neo-Feudalism, which discusses the impact of globalization and the tech revolution on class relations worldwide.
Kotkin’s class analysis, his recognition that progressives are just as bad on class issues as conservatives, and his stating the obvious fact that racial demagoguery is a bad idea are all spot on. However, he seems to retreat into a naive civic nationalism that’s likely to prove increasingly untenable as class, cultural, racial, political and other divisions grow. The United States of the future will likely continue to be a wealth, technologically advanced society that is increasingly diverse in terms of population demographics. The society will become increasingly integrated as well (more Buddhists in Congress, etc). However, the emerging class system is one that resembles the kind of class structure traditionally found in Latin America, and social conflict between contending demographics will likely continue to escalate as well. The role of the increasingly all-pervasive public administration state will be in part to manage that conflict, largely through unprincipled means like buying off the loyalty of some groups, suppressing others, playing different groups off against each other, negotiating or forcing settlements between rival groups, etc.
By Joel Kotkin
Orange County Register
Overall, perceptions of worsening racial relations have been building since the Obama years. And now, with everything from the Kate Steinle murder verdict to President Trump’s dog-whistling Muslim tweets, they see destined to worsen further.
Ironically the strongest demand for racial exclusion comes mostly not from traditional racists — still not extinct — but from a campus left determined to address the evils of “whiteness” through policies of racial separation not seen since Jim Crow days. At some campuses, events are held that whites are excluded from and racially separate dorms are being developed. Even at the high school level, there are attempts to be “racially conscious” towards students, essentially teaching them to their racial “profile,” with dubious educational benefits.
President Trump’s unfortunate tendency to go out of his way to offend non-whites, whether they be Navajo war heroes, Hispanics or inner-city African Americans, makes this all worse. The president and the radical racialists both seem to find common purpose in the creation of kindling for racial bonfires.
Race in not the fundamental problem — class is