Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy

A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy.

Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another –  from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball – imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters.

How did we get here? With Twilight of the Elites, Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite--one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it.

Mixing deft political analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding, Twilight of the Elites describes how the society we have come to inhabit – utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the bottom – produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but our day-to-day lives.

Upending well-worn ideological and partisan categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times. Twilight of the Elites is the defining work of social criticism for the post-bailout age.

Title:Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780307720450
Format Type:

    Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy Reviews

  • Bill Kerwin

    Chris Hayes is not only the host of MSNBC's All In, a civil and intelligent political talk show. He is also the author of Twilight of the Elites, a timely and persuasive book which may--at least in pa...

  • Linda Robinson

    Reading this book gave me the answer why Chris Hayes is bouncing in his chair all the time. It's his brain. I thought it was caffeine. Hayes is smart, informed, intellectually curious and an analytica...

  • Trish

    Were it twilight, would the glint of diamonds in the streetlight thrill us or enrage us?I don’t get MSNBC on my TV, though if I did, I wouldn’t watch it. Everyone there sounds exactly the same, no...

  • Andy

    The main thesis of the book relies on a weird definition of meritocracy. According to Hayes, we have a problem in this country because the meritocracy system selects for incompetent people to be in ch...

  • Chris

    Thought experiment inspired by Chapter 2 of Chris Hayes' awesome book (which you should read, by the way): Imagine that the bookies in Las Vegas allowed gamblers to place bets every year on which 5th ...

  • Trevor

    I decided to read this book after reading Bill’s review here - http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...I really enjoyed this book and found it really useful. A discussion of education forms a large ...

  • Adam Heff

    Chris Hayes' Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy is a critical look at one of the most basic and taken for granted aspects of American society: the meritocracy. Second-nature to most of ...

  • Kelly

    It took me nearly four years to finally pick this up, but it's even more relevant and easy to see in today's world than I think it would have been then. I regret reading this not at all. Review soon....

  • Brad Lyerla

    In the first decades of the 20th century preceding the Great War, a profound change took place in Europe. People lost faith in the ability of their governments to solve the complicated problems presen...

  • Donna

    I plan my week around watching Up with Chris Hayes on Saturdays and Sundays, taping the morning show on MSNBC and watching segments of it all day long. In smart, lively discussions with knowledgeable ...