I can remember reading an article in The Atlantic Monthly (now The Atlantic) years ago that examined what they called the Davos Crowd. The authors examined the class of wealth
that was international, worth billions, and travelled among the same world capitals. In their description, this global elite is separated from the rest of us by their wealth, of course, but also by their ignorance about the rest of the world.
They had no notion about everyday concerns like earning a living, getting medical care, or cramped seating on an airplane. This elite lives behind gates and travels in private planes. There are suites in Cleveland Clinic reserved for their health care. They call Senators directly when they want something done by Congress.
The Davos Crowd is not attached to a particular country either. They are not patriotic or loyal to any one place, moving around with the seasons. That’s probably why they don’t want to pay taxes, because they just use the ranch/estate/beach house seasonally, not as home. Their kids don’t go into the army or take out mortgages. They have a private physician to go with the butler and maids. They are citizens of the world.
What puzzled me at the time was when the label “elite” was applied to middle-class professionals such as professors, doctors, attorneys, and accountants. To listen to cable news or read some newspaper chains, these were the American liberal elite. Somehow getting an advanced degree made you bossy and rude to “real Americans.” I found it odd that the emerging class war in America seemed to ignore those who really had slipped the bounds of mere money, and was focused on people who had achieved the American Dream by working hard, going to college and entering an honored profession.
What is still puzzling me is that among the populist media, the “real” people resent this American Dream. Interviews in 2017 revealed a revolt of the poorest quartile against the middle, while admiring the super rich. Is it irony that those called Populist rail against those who have achieved the American Dream?
So under all this contorted mental jujitsu, it ends up that around the world, it is not poor vs. rich, but poor vs. middle class. One thing remains the same; that world-class elite flying from one estate to another across continents and oceans, could care less about either the middle class or the poor working class. They are way above it all. The triumph of the Davos crowd is almost complete as they suck up more and more of the world’s wealth and leave the poor suckers with the bill.
Harriet H. Young, Ph.D., taught political science at NAU and is the public policy chair of the American Association of University Women of Arizona. Also, she is past chair and currently First Vice Chair of the Coconino County Democratic Party.