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Published on Jul 29, 2010
A new breed has emerged; they set the global agenda, ride on Gulfstreams and manage the credit crunch in their spare time.
They are anything but elected; they are entrepreneurs and entertainers, media moguls and former politicians - the self-made super rich who are using their money to lay down a new set of global rules.
They have more in common with each other than with their countrymen, set apart by their ability to regularly influence the lives of millions of people around the globe.
So where did this new global aristocracy come from and who is keeping them in check?
Why should Oprah Winfrey have the ear of President Obama, and who gave Shakira the right to dictate education policy?
But then again, when you have as much money as Bill Gates and you are prepared to give it over to a good cause who is going to stop you?
It is all well and good until the revolving door spins in the wrong direction. Empire talks to Christopher Hitchens about Henry Kissinger and his life beyond elected power - it does not seem to have changed that much.
Is the world suffering from a global governance gap? Should we be worried that the superclass seems to have an ever-expanding reach that bypasses governments and remains unchecked?