Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market

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Basic Books, Nov 10, 2009 - Business & Economics - 272 pages
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It can feel like we’re swimming in a sea of corruption. It’s unclear who exactly is in charge and what role they play. The same influential people seem to reappear time after time in different professional guises, pressing their own agendas in one venue after another. According to award-winning public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine Wedel, these are the powerful “shadow elite,” the main players in a vexing new system of power and influence.

In this groundbreaking book, Wedel charts how this shadow elite, loyal only to their own, challenge both governments’ rules of accountability and business codes of competition to accomplish their own goals. From the Harvard economists who helped privatize post-Soviet Russia and the neoconservatives who have helped privatize American foreign policy (culminating with the debacle that is Iraq) to the many private players who daily make public decisions without public input, these manipulators both grace the front pages and operate behind the scenes. Wherever they maneuver, they flout once-sacrosanct boundaries between state and private.

Profoundly original, Shadow Elite gives us the tools we need to recognize these powerful yet elusive players and comprehend the new system. Nothing less than our ability for self-government and our freedom are at stake.

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CHAPTER ONE Confidence Men and Their Flex Lives
CHAPTER TWO When Privatization Meets Truthiness
CHAPTER THREE Flex Power in the Wild East
CHAPTER FOUR US Government Inc
CHAPTER FIVE The Privatizers
CHAPTER SIX The Commandeers
CHAPTER SEVEN Accountability in the Age of Flex Nets

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About the author (2009)

Janine R. Wedel is a Professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and a fellow at the New America Foundation. Her previous books include Collision and Collusion. She lives in Washington, DC.

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