Friday, February 19, 2010

Social change and cohesion

David Brooks discusses distrust of elites, by which he means corporations, government, media ... just about everyone, it would appear. He lists five elements he sees contributing to this feeling despite the more meritocratic bent of the nation: (1) the lack of circumspection in addition to knowledge, since the two are sometimes orthogonal; (2) new social chasms deriving from geographic and matrimonial concentration; (3) backbiting among leaders; (4) shorter time horizons due to the weakening of dynasties; and (5) greater transparency.

What I find particularly interesting is point #2. Is it really the case that we're more geographically concentrated today than we were? Brooks means bankers living outside the communities they're serving. And are marriage patterns really more rigidly defined as a coming together of social equals today?