Man Without Qualities

Monday, September 26, 2005

Turnover At The Top

Mindles Dreck does a really quite thorough job of eviscerating Nina Munk's New York Times article that purports to "find" that the newest Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America "reflects a growing concentration of wealth and economic power." Sample Dreck:

Did Nina Munk look at the table accompanying her article [that] contrasts the Forbes 400 of 1985 with those of 2005? Some notable stats:
255 with self-made fortunes vs. 165 in 1985
90 fewer "inherited at least some wealth"
25 immigrants vs. 1985's 14
4 more (129) have no college degree
25 with a Harvard or Yale Degree, down from 37

As they say, read the whole thing. Perhaps Ms. Munk, who comes from an extremely wealthy Canadian family, is merely engaging in wishful thinking in this article? Then again, her phrasing is oddly ambiguous in places: "I read through the newest Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America, hoping to find many names I'd never heard of. They're not there." Perhaps we are suppose to infer that Ms. Munk has heard of these old 400 people to the point of boredom (have you heard of all those people?), as a kind of latter day Ms. Astor wannabee - and is writing her article to tell us just how woefully disappointed she was reading through the new Forbes 400 list for someone fresh and exciting to play with!

It's all so sad!

"There's no turnover at the top" seems to sound ever more frequently at the Times. The chant is sometimes led by Steven Cay Johnston wielding some distorted construction of Internal Revenue Service figures (discussed here and here and here, just as examples). Ms. Munk's seems a relatively new voice in that particular amen corner at the Times.

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