Peter Sutherland is part of the Shadow Elite

My first HuffPost Book Club selection of 2010 is Janine Wedel’s Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market. It’s a gripping, disquieting book that exposes and explains why it’s been so hard to bring about any real change in our country — why Washington no longer seems capable of addressing the problems our nation faces. Fingers have been pointed at everything from gerrymandering to partisan polarization to the misuse of the filibuster. But, according to Wedel, the real problem is much deeper — and more disturbing — than any of these.

As she writes in Shadow Elite, a new “transnational” class of elites has taken over our country: “The mover and shaker who serves at one and the same time as business consultant, think-tanker, TV pundit, and government adviser glides in and around the organizations that enlist his services. It is not just his time that is divided. His loyalties, too, are often flexible.”

Wedel dubs this new class of influencers “flexians,” and the closed system they’ve created for themselves the “flex net.” She attributes their power, among other factors, to the “embrace of ‘truthiness,’ which allows people to play with how they present themselves to the world, regardless of fact or track record.”

In this light, consider the following conflicts of interest:

Peter Sutherland

chairman of BP plc

chairman of Goldman Sachs International

chairman of the London School of Economics in 2008

founding director-general of the World Trade Organisation

director general of GATT

managing director – as well as chairman – of Goldman Sachs International

European Chairman for the Trilateral Commission.

He has, at various times, attended meetings of the Bilderberg group.

He is also one of the chief financial advisers to the Vatican.

Attorney General of Ireland

European Commissioner from 1985 to 1989

Chairman of British Petroleum, BP Amoco PLC and United Kingdom.

From 1989 to 1993, he served as the Chairman of Allied Irish Bank. ….

Non-Executive Director of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson.

Member of Supervisory Board,Member of International Advisory Board at Allianz SE

Non Executive Director of BP Plc since July 1995.

Member of Foundation Board of World Economic Forum

Independent Non Executive Director of National Westminster Bank PLC since January 2001

Independent Non Executive Director of The Royal Bank Of Scotland Plc from January 2001 to February 6, 2009

member of the advisory board of Eli Lilly

Director of LM Ericsson Telephone Co since 1996, Ericsson SPA since 1996 and Investor AB since 1995.

Non Executive Director of Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc from January 2001 to February 6, 2009.

Clearly Peter Sutherland has more power than most heads of state, and yet he seems to have no accountability to the public.

In light of Kievsky’s recent admonition to be a producer, I wonder how productive Peter Sutherland is. Does he know how to add value in a concrete sense? Has he ever taken $10 worth of lumber and turned it into $20 worth of chair?

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