A Reuters Breaking Views columnist, Edward Hadas, just published an interesting piece on the spread of nepotism around the world. It's not just in China where "elite breeding" is a national institution but in all developed countries: children of the rich are the ones getting all the good jobs.
Now, I imagine you are wondering why this should be considered as news. It's been that way since the beginning of time and only after the industrial revolution and the rise of universal education did that start to change - just a little bit. But now, we are witnessing a throwback to earlier times.
The Bo Xilai trial is one symptom. The on-going US Securities and Exchange Commission's investigation into JPMorgan Chase hiring practices in China is another (the charge here is bribery). But as I said, it's not just China. Many studies show that social mobility is declining in most developed countries.
This is, as Edward Hadas calls it, "the resurgence of family-as-destiny" economies. For more on it, read his piece here.
My take is that there's nothing new under the sun. Italy where I live is a country where family businesses are the norm and have been for generations - most notably the Fiat in Torino.
The One Percent begets the One Percent.
Those who live in the periphery, the so called "mass affluent", strive to give their children the means to "break through", sending them to the "right" summer camps and universities...
But if the fall of the middle class continues and the current Big Recession doesn't end soon, I'm afraid the world will look very much like the one I depict in my Forever Young serial novel where all the technological advances go to benefit the ultra rich, those I have called the "Masters of the Future"...
What do you think, is "family-as-destiny" the society of the future?
Image:Victor Vasnetsov art, "Flying Carpet", 1880.