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Is the American dream being roped off for VIPs only?

Crown Publishers

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America is ideally supposed to be a meritocracy – where those who are the most capable are at the top – but there is an evident lack of diversity among those who occupy positions of power.

In “Twilight of the Elites,” Christopher Hayes reframes the debate about institutional dysfunction and public mistrust of our institutions as systemic deficiencies inflamed by the friction between the haves and the have-nots. Hayes points to SAT testing as one meritocratic system that was meant to provide more opportunities, but has gradually been subverted to favor those born into wealthy families. As a result, the leaders of tomorrow are not the most capable, but rather those with the most resources. Hayes doesn’t call for the total elimination of our current social contract, but for a leveling of the playing field.

'Twilight of the Elites' Excerpt

Excerpted from Twilight of the Elites by Christopher Hayes. Copyright © 2012 by Christopher Hayes. Excerpted by permission of Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Have average Americans been marginalized by an institutional aristocracy?


Christopher Hayes, host, MSNBC’s ‘Up with Chris Hayes;’ author, ‘Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy’”