What The Rich Don’t Tell The Poor
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What The Rich Don’t Tell The Poor

Conversations with Guatemalan Oligarchs

About the Book

How does oligarchic power work in practice?

In this fascinating and original study of Guatemala’s economic elite or ‘oligarchy,’ Roman Krznaric explores the inner workings of the country’s wealthy business sector and how they have maintained power and privilege in the face of change. Based on extensive personal interviews, What The Rich Don’t Tell The Poor reveals the oligarchs speaking candidly in their own words on issues ranging from political violence and civil war to race and inequality. The result is a pathbreaking work of political and sociological analysis that offers unique insights into the global phenomenon of oligarchic power.

What The Rich Don’t Tell The Poor was written in 2006 and is now published for the first time in its original version. As Krznaric writes in a new 2022 preface to the book, although much has changed in Guatemala in the intervening years, the oligarchy remains a formidable and largely unchallenged economic and political force.

Praise for Roman Krznaric’s previous books

A fascinating rattlebag of intelligent, stimulating essays

Financial Times

Krznaric’s seamless and magical prose delights on every page

Professor Tim Jackson

Krznaric writes with passion and lucidity

Wall Street Journal

A unique combination of teaching, storytelling and practical action

Professor Brené Brown

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About the Author

Roman Krznaric
Roman Krznaric

Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher and former political scientist who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His bestselling books such as The Good Ancestor and Empathy have been published in more than twenty languages. Roman studied at the universities of Oxford, London and Essex, where he wrote his PhD on the Guatemalan oligarchy, and taught politics and Latin American Studies at the universities of Cambridge, Essex and City University, London. He is currently a Research Fellow of the Long Now Foundation and a member of the Club of Rome.

romankrznaric.com

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. Introduction: Conversations with the Oligarchs
  • 2. What You Should Know Before You Meet Them
  • 3. How to Be an Oligarch
  • 4. How They Remember the Civil War
  • 5. Why They Are Obsessed with the Land
  • 6. How They Get Their Own Way in Politics
  • 7. Why They Are Scared and Want to Live Alone
  • 8. Why it is Getting Harder to Control the Economy
  • 9. How to Create New Conversations
  • References
  • Appendix A: List of Interviewees
  • Appendix B: Timeline of Guatemalan History
  • Appendix C: Oligarchic Families in the Twentieth Century
  • Acronyms
  • Acknowledgements
  • About the Author

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