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Governments and administrations come and go, but not so
a new breed of power brokers, who always seem to pop up just where the
action is. Wearing different hats, they press their agendas in venue
after venue. According to award-winning public policy scholar and
anthropologist Janine Wedel, these are the "shadow elite," the prime
movers in a vexing new system of power and influence.
charts how these players make public decisions without public input-in
realms from domestic to foreign and financial policy. Maneuvering
through their many spheres of influence, they challenge both
governments' rules of accountability and businesses' codes of
competition, ultimately answering only to each other. From the Harvard
economists who helped privatize post-Soviet Russia and the
neoconservatives who helped privatize American foreign policy for
thirty years (culminating with the debacle that is Iraq) to many
lesser-known global operators, these players flout once-sacrosanct
boundaries between state and private, bureaucracy and market. This new
breed, unseen by most, is steadily gaining power.
Original and eye-opening, Shadow Elite gives us the tools we need to recognize these players and understand the new system-which we ignore at our peril.
Praise for Shadow Elite
"Shadow Elite is a powerful, searing work about how, over time,
public and private have become blurred-three out of four people doing
the work of the federal government today are actually private
contractors. Self-dealing and corruption have become endemic, with
those wielding political influence and getting rich at our expense
becoming less and less accountable. With this book, Janine Wedel has
provided a magnificent public service."
-- Charles Lewis, Bestselling author and founder of the Center for Public Integrity
think of networks and flexibility as good and desirable, but Wedel
shows their dark side. In a study as fascinating as it is disturbing,
she delves into political actors and groupings where influence is not
linked to accountability. This is a path-breaking exploration of a part
of our world that we really need to understand."
-- Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, Columbia University