Competition among the world’s best

I found some interesting ideas in Chrystia Freeland’s article about globalization and plutocracy. The following is an extract from the article.

“The big challenge of this new decade will be coping with the emergence of a global plutocracy -the hyper-educated, internationally minded  meritocrats who have been the chief beneficiaries of globalisation and the technological revolution……..

The rise of the plutocracy is an unexpected and still largely unnoticed consequency of the powerful political and economic changes shaping this century. These revolutions-the collapse of communism, the spread of of economic globalisation and the impact of  of the internet and mass computing- were, after all, about breaking barriers. The Berlin Wall fell;trade restrictions were eased; technology made information and communication free.Older, established institutions-ranging from the music business to traditional media and Detroit carmakers found themselves outmanoeuvred and out-priced by entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Mumbai and Shanghai…..,,,,,,,

We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity for the smartest, most persistent and most cunning among us and incredibly today’s rags-to-riches stories are emerging not just from Harvard dorm rooms, but also from the software centres of Bangalore and the oil fields of Siberia. …………………

Both globalisation and technology have had a punishing impact on those without the intellect, luck or chutzpah to  profit from them……..

We live in an age of uprecedented openness -of ideas, of people, of trade . But for the middle class, these opportunities have been largely theoretical: in America social mobility has actually declined…………….”

p.s Chrystia  Freeland  is US’ managing editor of FT . You can find the full article  in the FT (right column) but it is not free!

p.s. Η πάλη των τάξεων είναι συσίφια  υπόθεση

p.s Οι φωτογραφίες είναι άσχετες και είναι από το  Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2009.

photos : Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2009

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The Audacity of Hope

audacity

Yes yes yes!!I am with the winners this time. Perhaps for the first time. I have passed a big chunk in my life belonging to  a political party which had not only ever won the election but  barely managed to get in the parliament and if it stepped in, it had one representative. If it had two it was a fairy tale dream.  I was usually withdrawn from the public eye during the best part of the pre-election and post election period  to avoid the sardonic comment of my friends ,who most of them  were belonging to the two strong electable parties of my country. And the climate was such that I wasn’t daring to say anything about my political views. The most tolerant of them, they were looking at me with a pity and they were saying  ‘hey Penelope you cannot spend your life voting for losers’.  The more they  were saying the more I felt that I had to stick to my ideas which was at the same time a strong shield to the bullying. So the time passed and the political scenery has changed the border of the countries have changed and there we are, Penelope has favoured the American new President. It opraobama1was attraction at  the first sight. In the first place the sign of the attraction was his skin colour, a different and a very difficult combination not only to win but to float in the American political scenery. He was black in America, undoubtedly a secure passport to fail in everything. But he managed to come up  to the top in a vast country with millions of competitors who had if anything else an acceptable colour skin. I started to admire him for his audacity of hope and reading his book with the same title, I found that he is a warm, eloquent,  good writer and  politician and much more humane than the predecessor. Me and millions of people of his own country and other countries look at him with a lot of expectations which I am sure he is aware as well as he is aware of the multitasking top job he is undertaking.   Millions of people are breathless waiting for his next step. The fact is that he is the first man of his tribe to get this top job and this great achievement belongs to him. For the rest of us in the personal level if anything else is an inspiration. The audacity of hope that became reality!

When Penelope hit the Hamptons

The journey from New York to Hamptons,100 miles from Manhattan, was quite joyful and unexpectedly picturesque. Either side of the road the fields were full of vineyards , pine and elm trees and only approaching the East Hamptons, which was our destination, the scenery was changing and you can spot Tiffany and Ralph Lauren shops and where the road- Montauk highway -makes a fork, in the center of it, a Windmill(the Hook Mill). East Hampton has a lot of titles under its belt. It was voted “America’s most beautiful village’ by National Geographic and the ‘playground of the rich New Yorkers’. According to the history, it was a farming and fishing village and the original land was purchased from the Montauket Indians, its first name was Maidstone(named by the english farmers from Kent,UK). It’s beauty is due to the strong preservationist policy. You will not see sprawling malls,fast food shops or even coffee shops with tables and chairs on the pavements. We were expecting haughtiness and exclusivity in the beaches and for sure we were not prepared to pack up our stuff,towels umbrellas etc, in order to go to there, as in olden days in Athens, where the beach destination was near to the experience of moving houses. The beach was an endless carpet of white sand and the fellow sunbathers were like they have stepped down from their Park Avenue apartment and being chauffeured to the beach. Next to us, a glamorous woman was wearing Hermes outfit bikini , skirt and reading the Voque, from the other side a couple of blondy teenagers were playing with their blackberry and gossiping about Ashley Olsen, front of us were two men with Gucci and Prada sunglasses holding the Vanity Fair and talking about Obama…East Hamptons is the favourite destination of the NY Democrats. Despite of this, Obama didn’t appear at any reception this summer, according to the local press. Perhaps he was not white enough to attend! The surrounding houses were beautiful but the big estates were hidden behind the high fences like this of Jacky Kennedy-Onasis’s family house ‘Lasata’-the big estate of the Bouvier’s family- which has been recently sold to a rich and famous couple who they are ready to use it for their own high profile parties. In the afternoon as usual in every seaside resort the town centre, with the shops and restaurants, was getting back in life, and the sunbathers were dressing down for their night’s entertainment. For men Lacoste was the label which is back in fashion with amazing colours. For women the same style as ever, Prep. I found a small boutique with the name McLaughlin where I loved every bit of it, even the armchair in the changing room but I decided to buy a dress, thinking “it is easier to carry it!” East Hampton has beautiful restaurants, but everything is enclosed, no tables and chairs on the pavements due to the preservation law as I mentioned above. The social game takes place in the private parties in the big houses like that of the Great Gatsby’s movie. Walt Whitman the american poet and native of Long island(Montauk) describes wonderfully the sea’s scenery in his poem “Montauk point” “… the tossing waves, the foam, the ships in the distance, the wild unrest, the snowy, curling caps-that inbound urge and urge of waves, Seeking the shores forever”. The above scenery was in everyday base as long as we stayed in Hamptons, fun of course by dangerous . On the way back to Kennedy airport my little Ablions were complaining about the waves, were nice and quite fun but they were unable to swim properly. My eyes were fixed on the wheel but my tongue had life on his own and the words came out independently “at least in Greece we would be able to swim in the peaceful Mediterranean ‘lake’!” “yesssss…..” my little Albions replied triumphantly. East Hampton which includes Montauk is the end of Long Island after this, the next stop is Portugal….!

Penelope’s New York

 

Bergedorf, Plaza

Bergedorf, Plaza

moma garden

moma garden

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Groundzero plans Libeskind

Groundzero plans Libeskind

 

New York is not the same any more, as the whole world is not the same after 9/11. “Americans cannot see really the world. They think they can, but they can’t” as Chuck says, the character in Joseph O’Neill’s book ‘Netherland’ listed for the Man Booker prize. This was what I was contemplating as our taxi was rolling down the NY avenues, heading towards to our hotel in Midtown, leaving behind the NY harbour and the surrounding area of Brooklyn, which is not the most glamorous place somebody can be. In meantime, I had my pleasant dose of spotting a big tyre manufacturer’s building which belonged to a Greek person and pinpointing the name to my little Albions, having at the same time a quick glimpse at Johnny and catching his hidden smirk. He is getting used to it, after all these years, I believe. I feel that I can’t really help myself anymore, as everything in our life, you start it for fun and after a while you see yourself in a position of chronic addiction… Perhaps the surrounding social circle doesn’t allow me to relax and I have to constantly reassure myself that my tribe still exists and is up to something worthwhile. During our cruise, our American friends were totally magnetised by Johnny, the English. It is a common truth, Americans love the English and everything else implies the word English, either this is their accent, their royalty, their countryside, their Blair, or their cricket ‘a lesson in civility’ with Chuck’s words. The last word ‘civility’ plus their imperialistic past probably is the key of their attraction, I suppose, because the American psychological profile is pending to be drawn in my mind. These thoughts disappeared in my back of my brain when the taxi driver drew our attention to the Ground Zero, where they are in the process of constructing a new complex of towers, which the plans they change every now and then, don’t forget the Governor of NY is of Greek origin, Patakis is his last name!. Our Hotel was exactly opposite to Carnegie Hall and the MOMA -Museum of modern Art- was down to the street, so this was one of our first stops. Among its permanent exhibitions,Warhol,Bourgeois, Modriano,.etc. There was a special one and quite impressive about Salvador Dali . There were around 130 of his paintings, scenarios and films and all of them were being presented wonderfully to illuminate the scale of Dali’s ingenuity and contribution to the Arts. Despite he isn’t among my favourite painters, too bold for my taste, my little Albions loved him. So we moved now from the Van Gogh to Dali era in our home territory! Another destination was the 5th Avenue shopping spree, taking advantage the weakness of the dollar against pound. Shopping in NY has no limits, the consumerism is beyond imagination and in every corner there is a happening(semi-naked gorgeous man, see pict)!. One example was our stop in the ‘American girl’, next to the Saks, which is selling dolls and everyrthing somebody can or cannot imagine about dolls. . In the ground floor there is a huge selection of dolls with all the colour complexion, white skin with black hair and blue eyes or black with blonde, brunette, blue or green eyes etc. The next three floors includes boutique for doll’s clothes, hairdresser, theatre, coffee shop, doll’s hospital ….etc. The only prerequisite for the NY shopping is to hold a good credit card, in order not to spoil your holidays by seeing on the spot your account to be reduced dangerously. New York is hot and sticky this time of the year and the New Yorkers were heading to Long Island for their one or two weeks summer holidays. So we decided to follow their plans and there we were, driving to the Wasps’s den-Hamptons for the third circle and the last of our holidays