A Shrink Thinks

The virtual elite

The virtual elite
Alan Thomas
Alan Thomas Professor and Consultant in Psychiatry. Elder at Newcastle Reformed Evangelical Church.
11 January, 2024 4 min read

Where does power lie in our society? Historically in almost all societies, power has been concentrated in the hands of tiny groups, such as the aristocracies which dominated Western countries through the medieval and modern periods. While it is obvious such days are long gone in the UK, who rules now?

The answer many would give is that we are now ruled by a technocratic elite, a group sometimes called ‘the Virtuals’, the laptop class of people whose work and lives are dominated by online activities. Such people work in banking, technology, the media, academia, and education.

One consequence of this shift is that it entails a shift away from localism and nationalism to internationalism. The geographical location of Virtuals doesn’t matter. They can do the same work anywhere since it is all online. A banker or academic in California can move to Singapore or Paris or London at the drop of a hat and carry on seamlessly, even working as he travels.

The result is that Virtuals are a global elite, who daily interact more frequently with people in New York or Berlin than with the people living next door.

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