A blast from the past: The influence of the wealthy in politics

Trump_FamilyDipping into past blog posts I came across my 2006 comments on the cultural differences between Japan, Australia and the US around attitudes toward the wealthy.

While the Japanese hammer down the nails that stick up, to enforce conformity, and the Australians whack their tall poppies, Americans are famous for their adulation of the wealthy.

In the comments to that original post I added a 2008 article by FT columnist (now Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs) Chrystia Freeland, who detected changing attitudes to the super-rich wishing to enter politics as revealed by then-attitudes to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg “flirting with an independent bid for the White House for months. By and large, New Yorkers have been indulgent, but this week brought a chorus of scoldings, some of them directly aimed at his extraordinary fortune.”

She concluded by speculating that the mood in the US was moving toward condemnation of the wealthy, and asks us to:

Consider Donald Trump, who has built new a career as a media celebrity by assuming the persona of an obnoxious yet somehow admirable billionaire. Now, though, the mood is changing.

That was then.

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