Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Re: Stop Listening to Rich People

I've given Matthew Yglesias crap in the past, so it's only fair to note when he's right, here about Tom Perkins, the foolish billionaire who thinks the 1% is about to be gassed in communal showers:
Concurrently with the publication of the Perkins letter, a fair swathe of the world’s elite was gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for a conference based on the presumption that a Tom Perkins would never write a stupid letter. The presumption of the annual World Economic Forum meeting is that leading policymakers and scholars ought to mingle with very, very, very rich businessmen (and, yes, it’s overwhelmingly men) to talk about the leading issues of the day. The idea, in other words, is that CEOs and major investors have unique and important insights on pressing public policy issues. After all, they’re so rich! How could they not be smart?

Well, ask Tom Perkins. Or ask Michael Jordan how he could be so good at playing basketball and yet so bad at owning and managing the Charlotte Bobcats.

Outside the business world, we tend to take it for granted that just because you’re good at one thing doesn’t automatically make you a mastermind at other things. Nobody expects Taylor Swift to make important contributions to a panel on sustainable growth in Africa or rethinking global food security. But the Davos panels on such topics always include a rich executive from the business world. Because who better to solve the world’s problems than the people who benefit from the status quo?

1 comment:

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