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jerryking : accomplisher_class   4

Opinion | How the Superrich Took Over the Museum World
Dec. 14, 2019 | The New York Times | by Michael Massing, the author, most recently, of “Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther and the Fight for the Western Mind.”

The wealthy have always influenced the art scene. But in recent years, in an age of mounting anger over income inequality, they've come to dominate it......
Of MoMA's 51 trustees who vote, 45 work in finance, the corporate world, real estate or law, or are the heirs or spouses of the superrich.....both MoMA and the Met expect wealthy newcomers to their board of trustees to donate millions of dollars as the price of membership..........Art has always depended on wealthy patrons; see the Medicis, Frick and Morgan. In contrast to Europe, where museums receive significant (though now decreasing) state funding, most American museums rely heavily on private donors. .............Many of MoMA’s trustees are devoted collectors of modern and contemporary art, and the museum has benefited accordingly....... with trustees funding or donating to the museum various artistic works.......Yet dependence on the kindness of billionaires comes at a price. Today’s museum world is steeply hierarchical, mirroring the inequality in society at large........MoMA's curators seem very well paid; people in more junior positions much less so........Among the biggest losers in the current system are artists themselves. With art now considered an asset class similar to equities and commodities, collectors are forever on the lookout for rising stars whose work can be bought at bargain prices and then resold for many multiples as their reputation soars. When the market moves on, careers are often shattered (except in the case of a few ever-in-demand stars)......And even those artists who do remain popular usually benefit only from the initial sale of their work; as its value appreciates, the profits go mainly to collectors and auction houses. Museum trustees have ready access to curators and gallery owners who can point out emerging artists whose work they can buy at an early stage and benefit as the demand for it grows.......the most serious concern raised about baronial boards is the possible constraints they place on what museums can exhibit......For example, Why is there not more art inspired by such urgent matters as income inequality, deindustrialization or the rise of populism. Or why was there not more art inspired by the impact of Wall Street on Main Street or the continuing fallout from the 2008 financial crisis — the root of so much unrest in the world today?...... trustees have no decision-making role in its exhibitions, which are determined solely by the museum’s “strong curatorial staff” in regular consultation with artists....Yet a board’s influence need not be overt to be profound; curators are no doubt savvy enough to know how far they can go in challenging a system of which their trustees are such pillars.....For the superwealthy, membership on museum boards brings many benefits, including an increase in social status, access to other powerful people and an enhancement of one’s image.
Is there an alternative to the current system?
An obvious one would be to substantially increase public funding for the arts in general, and museums in particular......In 2018, MoMA received a paltry $22,000 in government funds (from New York City), compared with the $136 million it got from private sources. In fact, MoMA does not seek or receive federal or state funding. But MoMA in fact gets substantial public support through the tax write-offs its wealthy donors receive as well as its own nonprofit status. The public is in effect subsidizing the museum without getting any corresponding say in its governance.
In return for nonprofit status, the government could require MoMA and other museums to allocate a certain portion of board spots to people whose lives are not devoted to making money. The presence of art critics, historians, architects and nonprofit leaders could force museums to consider a much broader array of viewpoints.....As for more direct public funding of museums, this might seem a long shot in modern-day America, but the current political moment has created new opportunities. If taxes on the rich were raised, which most Democratic presidential candidates support, more public funds could be earmarked for museums — and for libraries, performing arts centers and other cultural institutions. 
Accomplisher_Class  art  artists  asset_classes  boards_&_directors_&_governance  collectors  contemporary_art  cultural_institutions  culture  curators  high_net_worth  income_inequality  intellectual_diversity  Manhattan  moguls  MoMA  museums  New_York_City  overachievers  patronage  patrons  performing_arts  philanthropy  public_funding  subsidies  tax-deductible  The_One_Percent 
december 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | The Meritocracy Is Ripping America Apart
Sept. 12, 2019 | - The New York Times | By David Brooks.

savage exclusion tears the social fabric.

There are at least two kinds of meritocracy in America right now. Exclusive meritocracy exists at the super-elite universities and at the industries that draw the bulk of their employees from them — Wall Street, Big Law, medicine and tech. And then there is the more open meritocracy that exists almost everywhere else.

In the exclusive meritocracy, prestige is defined by how many people you can reject....The more the exclusivity, the thicker will be the coating of P.C. progressivism to show that we’re all good people.

People in this caste work phenomenally hard to build their wealth......People in this caste are super-skilled and productive.....These highly educated professionals attract vast earnings while everybody else gets left behind......Parents in the exclusive meritocracy raise their kids to be fit fighters within it....affluent parents invest on their kids’ human capital, over and above what middle-class parents can afford to invest......the Kansas Leadership Center. The center teaches people how to create social change and hopes to saturate the state with better leaders. But the center doesn’t focus on traditional “leaders.” Its mantra is: “Leadership is an activity, not a position. Anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere.” The atmosphere is one of radical inclusion.....People in both the exclusive and open meritocracies focus intensely on increasing skills. But it’s jarring to move from one culture to the other because the values are so different. The exclusive meritocracy is spinning out of control. If the country doesn’t radically expand its institutions and open access to its bounty, the U.S. will continue to rip apart.
Accomplisher_Class  Big_Law  caste_systems  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Brooks  elitism  exclusivity  hard_work  human_capital  inequality  law_firms  leadership  medicine  meritocracy  op-ed  parenting  political_correctness  social_classes  social_exclusion  social_fabric  social_impact  social_inclusion  social_mobility  society  technology  values  Wall_Street  winner-take-all 
september 2019 by jerryking
What Jeffrey Epstein’s black book tells us about Manhattan
AUGUST 23, 2019 | Financial Times | Holly Peterson.

...it makes perfect sense that Epstein would need a black book of people he knew — and wanted to know. He couldn’t get to the top of the totem pole otherwise. His career was so secretive, his CV so sparse, that no one knew where his money came from. What he needed was a social network.

The primary axiom to remember in this hideous saga: rich people don’t get richer only because of tax windfalls. Rich people get richer because they hang out together....Most of the Americans included in the black book have one common denominator: they are socially and professionally voracious people who form part of New York’s “Accomplisher Class”. The accomplishers appear at book parties, Davos, the Aspen Ideas Festival, benefits and openings. They understand that to be avidly social is to assure recognition and prominence. Remember, the rich covet convening power: the ability to reach a point where one’s social and professional life are confused as one....Tina Brown has been an astute observer of New York society....“The alpha energy of Manhattan is far more intense than anywhere European: more money, bigger stakes. Every achiever who wants to get to the top, has to fight like hell to be seen and heard on this island.”.....The now ossified Wasp culture may still count for country club memberships or the preppy glow of a Ralph Lauren advertisement, but not much else. New York high society has been paradoxically meritocratic for a few decades, at least since the go-go 1980s......On a grander scale, the accomplisher class is neither defective nor debauched. When accomplishers exchange ideas, much good can come in the form of entrepreneurship in technology, business or innovative arts.....At its best, the American system of philanthropy launches museums and hospitals, urban and charter schools, and relief to the poor in towns all over America. Much of this is enabled by the accomplishers, aided by tax laws that promote charitable deductions. People in this group have multiple invites most weekday nights to attend benefits that help the causes they care about most, with the added value of showing off how magnanimous they are in programmes that list precisely how much they gave....Attending a high-end event in New York is a way of taking a victory lap with other accomplishers around the room......It would be a mistake to assume that the accomplisher class is all about wealth. If you want access to capital or airwaves, boring and rich doesn’t get you that far in this high-testosterone playground. If you ran your father’s company into the ground, you’re a nobody in this town. The paycheck is not all that matters: editorial media power controls the conversation, foundation power means you write the big checks. What people admire is top achievement in almost any field....Accomplishers in New York society may be particularly American in that they do not necessarily shy away from a bad reputation. They are so interested in a story and a comeback that they can forgive human failings, and are often intrigued with flaws as much as success.

What’s more, New York is so relentlessly fast-paced and ambition among the accomplishers so colossal, they don’t always take the time to be discerning.
Accomplisher_Class  Bonfire_of_the_Vanities  comebacks  elitism  high-achieving  high_net_worth  Jeffrey_Epstein  Manhattan  New_York_City  overachievers  philanthropy  political_power  reputation  the_One_percent  Tina_Brown  meritocratic  The_Establishment  social_networking  social_classes  tax_codes 
august 2019 by jerryking
Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming” – TIP
Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming”

By NICK HANAUER | politico

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

_h3218_w4866_m2_bwhite(Image: news.msn)


Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.

The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.

What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.

It’s when I realized this that I decided I had to leave my insulated world of the super-rich and get involved in politics. Not directly, by running for office or becoming one of the big-money billionaires who back candidates in an election. Instead, I wanted to try to change the conversation with ideas—by advancing what my co-author, Eric Liu, and I call “middle-out” economics. It’s the long-overdue rebuttal to the trickle-down economics worldview that has become economic orthodoxy across party lines—and has so screwed the American middle class and our economy generally. Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.

Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.

On June 19, 2013, Bloomberg published an article I wrote called “The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.” Forbes labeled it “Nick Hanauer’s near insane” proposal. And yet, just weeks after it was published, my friend David Rolf, a Service Employees International Union organizer, roused fast-food workers to go on strike around the country for a $15 living wage. Nearly a year later, the city of Seattle passed a $15 minimum wage. And just 350 days after my article was published, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed that ordinance into law. How could this happen, you ask?

It happened because we reminded the masses that they are the source of growth and prosperity, not us rich guys. We reminded them that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers—and need more employees. We reminded them that if businesses paid workers a living wage rather than poverty wages, taxpayers wouldn’t have to make up the difference. And when we got done, 74 percent of likely Seattle voters in a recent poll agreed that a $15 minimum wage was a swell idea.

The standard response in the minimum-wage debate, made by Republicans and their business backers and plenty of Democrats as well, is that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. Businesses will have to lay off workers. This argument reflects the orthodox economics that most people had in college. If you took Econ 101, then you literally were taught that if wages go up, employment must go down. The law of supply and demand and all that. That’s why you’ve got John Boehner and other Republicans in Congress insisting that if you price employment higher, you get less of it. Really?

The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor.

Because here’s an odd thing. During the past three decades, compensation for CEOs grew 127 times faster than it did for workers. Since 1950, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio has increased 1,000 percent, and that is not a typo. CEOs used to earn 30 times the median wage; now they rake in 500 times. Yet no company I know of has eliminated its senior managers, or outsourced them to China or automated their jobs. Instead, we now have more CEOs and senior executives than ever before. So, too, for financial services workers and technology workers. These folks earn multiples of the median wage, yet we somehow have more and more of them.

140624_fatcats_grid_1160
The Art of the Fat Cat A century and a half of soaking the rich—with ink.
By MATT WUERKER – (politico)

The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor. So for as long as there has been capitalism, capitalists have said the same thing about any effort to raise wages. We’ve had 75 years of complaints from big business—when the minimum wage was instituted, when women had to be paid equitable amounts, when child labor laws were created. Every time the capitalists said exactly the same thing in the same way: We’re all going to go bankrupt. I’ll have to close. I’ll have to lay everyone off. It hasn’t happened. In fact, the data show that when workers are better treated, business gets better. The naysayers are just wrong.

Most of you probably think that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is an insane departure from rational policy that puts our … [more]
Accomplisher_Class  economics  feudalism  high_net_worth  income_inequality  middle_class  minimum_wage  politics  social_fabric  the_one_percent  via:enochko  worldviews 
september 2016 by jerryking

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