In response to an FT article by Martin Wolf on 2nd February 2016, entitled 'Bring our elites closer to the people'
Thanks Mr. Wolf.
This article is a much better assessment than the 'rebellion against the elites' piece that you referenced in the first paragraph.
Along with others here, however, for example the splendid Gaston Lagaffe, I find the concept of an 'elite' somewhere between 'offensive' and 'laughable'. What are we really talking about? Here are a couple of definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:
1. "A select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society"
Clearly this doesn't apply here - Muhammad Ali was 'elite', Usain Bolt is 'elite'. But the folks in Davos? The clueless academics at the central banks that've been pouring paraffin on a fire for 8 years? The self-serving and fork-tongued politicians who've sat on their hands doing nothing other than choose the clueless academics and then pass the buck to them? The Wall Street CEOs who sit atop a mountain of irresponsibility and market rigging, with the occasional trip down to ground level carrying a begging bowl? These people are not 'elite'. To paraphrase the old butterfly when asked what he thought of an opponent's claim he would knock him out: "If he ever dreamed of being elite he'd better wake up and apologise".
Let's see if number two sheds any more light for us:
2. "A group or class of people seen as having the most power and influence in a society, especially on account of their wealth or privilege"
We're getting warmer now are we not?
That being the case, your suggestion that: "The vital question is whether (and how) western elites can be brought closer to the people", may be an improvement of sorts, but it still misses the point somewhat - the problems we face are systemic - moving the furniture around, doing a bit of redistribution here, a bit of tax relief there is not going to pull this one out of the fire.
The crucial element, which underpins this system, is the global monetary and banking system, which centralises power in the hands of the aforementioned non-elite 'elite'; which favours the rich over the poor; which requires an ever-expanding pile of debt to stop it collapsing in on itself. The folks in Davos run this system, and are the beneficiaries of it. In short Mr. Wolf, Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
The system is a Frankenstein monster, and it is now creaking under the weight of decades of irresponsible fiscal policy and illiterate monetary policy:
1. 'Guns' and 'Butter' fiscal policies, justified and funded on 'jam tomorrow' by neo-Keynesian 'economists' whose 'economics' is little more than a gloried cargo cult that uses spreadsheets rather than incantations
2. Ponzi monetary policies that have now led us to the insane position where people are 'investing' with, for example, the Italian government, who will supposedly keep their money 'safe', promising to give them less back in the future and pay nothing in the meantime. Our monetary policies of QE/ZIRP/NIRP are, like the fiscal policies, based on magical thinking - the insane belief in 'something for nothing'
The 'elites' you want us to get 'closer to' have made a lot of money out of these policies Mr. Wolf. Personally, I want to hear 'let's tell the truth and shame the devil' noises from these folks, otherwise I want them out. We need a new system, and we will have one - whether by design or by calamity. I believe these folks would rather risk a calamity (I would say 'guarantee') than look in the mirror, tell the truth about the rot at the core of our system, and resolve to clean it up. Whatever these folks are, they are not the 'elite' described at number one. Muhammad Ali, they ain’t.