January 21, 2013

JOEL KOTKIN: The New Power Class Who Will Profit From Obama’s Second Term.

When President Obama takes the oath of office for the second time, he will also usher in a new era in American power politics. Whereas the old left-wing definition of “who rules” focused on large corporations, banks, energy companies and agribusinesses, the Obama-era power structure represents a major transformation.

This shift stems, in large part, from the movement from a predominately resource and tangible goods-based economy to an information-based one. In the past, political struggles were largely fought over how to divide up the spoils generated by the basic productive economy; labor, investors and management all shared a belief in the ethos of economic growth, manufacturing and resource extraction.

In contrast, today’s new hegemons hail almost entirely from outside the material economy, and many come from outside the realm of the market system entirely. . . . To understand the possible implications of the new power arrangement, it is critical to understand the nature of the new clerisy. Unlike traditional capitalist power groups, including private-sector organized labor, the clerisy’s power derives not primarily through economic influence per se but through its growing power to inform opinion and regulate everything from how people live to what industries will be allowed to grow, or die.

Yeah, that’ll work out well.