Must-see interview: Joel Kotkin on the coming new feudalism

Joel Kotkin is a well-known “urban geographer” and futurologist, grandson of Russian[-Jewish] immigrants. (His brother, Stephen Kotkin, is an academic historian of Russia: I have been reading his two-volume Stalin biography with great interest.)

Joel is no conservative: he was a registered Democrat until very recently changing his electoral registration to Independent. In many ways, he’s an unreconstructed old-school liberal — but he’s seeing that what I call the Brahmandarin left is pushing society toward neo-feudalism, is fundamentally anti-democratic (preferring rule by executive order and administrative regulation because “the poor dears don’t know what’s good for them” [my paraphrase]), and is fundamentally contemptuous of the working and middle class it used to champion.

The tech oligarchs he sees as the new feudal nobility; the media-educational complex as the new clerisy. The shrinking old middle class is the yeomanry, while an increasingly larger underclass living hand to mouth from menial jobs (or on the dole) are the new serfs. The serfs get to foot the bill for the climate and “equity” obsessions of the oligarchs and the clerisy (who buy themselves indulgences or grant them to each other).

This process started many years before COVID, but has been accelerated by the pandemic and its attendant restrictions.

Here, he’s interviewed for about an hour by the former deputy Prime Minister of Australia, John Anderson AO.

I read his book back when it came out: it’s probably the best single volume to help you understand what is going on now — all the more compelling because it is not written by an ideologue or a movement conservative. This interview is a good one-hour summary, updated in some respects for recent events. Go watch it, or play the audio during your commute or household chores: it will be time very well spent.

3 thoughts on “Must-see interview: Joel Kotkin on the coming new feudalism

  1. Look fwd to listening. I’m expecting some overlap with this.

    Jeff Booth
    The Price of Tomorrow

  2. […] The tech oligarchs he sees as the new feudal nobility; the media-educational complex as the new clerisy. The shrinking old middle class is the yeomanry, while an increasingly larger underclass living hand to mouth from menial jobs (or on the dole) are the new serfs. The serfs get to foot the bill for the climate and “equity” obsessions of the oligarchs and the clerisy (who buy themselves indulgences or grant them to each other). — Read on spinstrangenesscharm.wordpress.com/2021/07/08/must-see-interview-joel-kotkin-on-the-coming-new-feuda… […]

  3. btw, it was interesting to see the clarity of thought in what Mr Kotkin had to say, but his off-the-cuff slams against Trump are jarring. Just as one example, the charges of dog whistles, white supremacy and racism against Trump takes a fully blindered intellect to swallow.
    Trump won many awards from Black orgs. Trump was beloved in Black popular culture (as one example, many Rap songs celebrate Trump’s persona and success). As President, Trump pursued many policies to help the Black community. And, though indirect, the pro-America US econ policy gave a lot of Blacks good jobs and sharply increased prospects.
    Yet, starting from day-1 of the Trump Admin, the media repeated continuously a Big Lie of Trump hatred of Blacks. If repetition of propaganda is enough to cloud Mr Kotkin’s judgment, well, I’ll say no more.

    To consider Trump a paragon, sure, it’s a bit much. Not to see that he is an immense force in the correct direction calls your intellectual creds into question …. in my opinion.

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