Home > Uncategorized > Temerity at the Top – NYTimes.com

Temerity at the Top – NYTimes.com

September 22, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I guess we’re all supposed to be talking about how to build the middle class these days and look askance at the top 1 percent. But would you mind if I interrupted this cultural moment to point out that capitalism is an inherently elitist enterprise?

Prosperity is often driven by small enclaves of extraordinary individuals that build new industries and amass large fortunes. These driven, manic individuals are frequently unpleasant to be around. But, if your country is not attracting and nurturing them, you’re cooked.

Let’s take a contemporary example, Elon Musk, who was just beautifully profiled by Ashlee Vance in Bloomberg Businessweek.

For those who don’t read the financial press or the gossip blogs, Musk is a 41-year-old entrepreneur who grew up in South Africa. At 15, he migrated to Canada, worked on farms and at a lumber mill and then got into Queen’s University in Ontario.

After two years, he transferred to Penn, earning degrees in economics and physics. While there, as he recently told Jon Stewart, he concluded that the three areas that would most transform humanity were the Internet, sustainable energy and space exploration.

He dropped out of a graduate physics program at Stanford to help start an Internet map and directory company called Zip2, which was sold to Compaq for more than $300 million.

via Temerity at the Top – NYTimes.com.

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