Saturday, 21 January 2012
The feral rich
A major article by Peter Oborne, chief political commentator in the "right-wing" Daily Telegraph newspaper, appeared today under the title "The Rise of the Overclass". Oborne argues that the middle and working classes are now caught between an overclass and an underclass that are effectively out of control – on the one hand the class of super-rich who seem "immune from the restraints that govern the lives of ordinary people", and whose wealth and immunity has grown steadily for the past 30 years, and on the other a "dependent and sometimes criminal class of welfare claimants", among whom "the idea of responsibility, duty, patriotism and neighbourliness has been destroyed". The interesting point is that Oborne shows that these last comments (about lack of patriotism and so forth) apply just as much to the overclass as the underclass. "These feral rich pose, in their way, every bit as much of a danger to society as the rioters who stole and pillaged London streets last August." It is a significant addition to the ongoing debate about the future of capitalism.