WHO rules the world? The most familiar answers to this question are so poisoned by paranoia that it is tempting to dismiss the question itself. If the Jews are so powerful, then why have they had such a dreadful time of things? If the men and women of Davos are so mighty, then why do they keep messing everything up?

Yet the fact that so many people give foolish answers to a question does not discredit the question. The rise of nation states produced national ruling classes. It would be odd if the current integration of the world economy did not produce new global elites-business people and financiers who run global companies and global politicians who steer supra-national organisations such as the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund.

David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues that these elites constitute nothing less than a new global “superclass”. They have all the clubby characteristics of the old national ruling classes, but with the vital difference that they operate on the global stage, far from mere national electorates.

They attend the same universities (Mr Rothkopf calculates that Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago are now the world’s top three superclass producers). They are groomed in a handful of world-spanning institutions such as Goldman Sachs. They belong to the same clubs-the Council on Foreign Relations in New York is a particular favourite-and sit on each other’s boards of directors. Many of them shuttle between the public and private sectors. They meet at global events such as the World Economic Forum at Davos and the Trilateral Commission or-for the crème de la crème-the Bilderberg meetings or the Bohemian Grove seminars that take place every July in California…

Full Story: http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11081878