Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

That's the danger of talking generically of "elites". The ones who gets to decide are not the broad 3% that went through the GEs. Think of it like wealth and inequality in America. Not so shocking if you talk of the top 5% vs the bottom 95%. The real divide is the 1%/99% split or even better, the 0.1%/99.9% split.

For France, the real elite who gets to decide is a minuscule sliver of the broader elite: a few dozens new inductees from les Grands Corps : Inspection des Finances, Inspection du Tresor, Corps des Mines, maybe Corps des Ponts (and not even in my opinion). Add a few individuals who get to slip through by less orthodox ways (some US universities, politics, a few heirs and self made individuals) and that's that.

The rest just gets along, buys in the system and tries to dig in its own little niche. Or if you don't buy in the system and you don't like your niche, uou get the fuck out of here.

At the very top, the mechanism is not really selection but cooptation. If you get in the Corps, the alumni take great care of you, steering you between positions, helping you build your social network, making the phone calls, etc. If you are 25 years old and you get this type of proposition, you just don't say no [cue in soundtrack from The GodFather :)].

The interesting thing is that, as far as I know, there has been no dynastic strategy at play. This structure is probably too young as it really came in full existence after WWII and even the first generation wasn't so interested in dynasties. It may change.
by Francois in Paris on Sun Mar 26th, 2006 at 02:03:54 PM EST
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