The Gruffalo Elite

Last week's Economist on the global elite is a must-read for anyone interested in studying (or becoming) part of the cognoscenti.  I thought the best part of the special report was the piece entitled "The rise and rise of the cognitive elite."  The authors argue that assortative mating is alive and kicking, and perpetuating inequality, as highly educated men and women pair off and start families in greater numbers than ever before.

Interestingly, a few pages later, the Bagehot column on Britain ("The Gruffalo years") focuses on the nations' senior politicians with young children.  Bagehot argues that having little ones in their Gruffalo years-- "an innocent interlude stretching from birth to a child's ninth birthday or so"-- produces better MPs as their families directly engage various social services and learn to balance work and home life.

Of course, as the columnist writes, it helps that some of the mums are "high-flying lawyers," who earn a lot of money.  These MP-kids seem destined to become part of the global elite with highly educated, powerful, successful, and rich parents.  In what ways are their childhoods preparing them to be responsible adult members of this new global elite?

Lately I've been thinking more generally about the children of politicians and how they help shape a politician's image both on the campaign trail and in office.  This Bagehot piece claims that top British politicians are "(mostly) shielding their children from press attention." Do you all think this is true?

If so, is there something different going on in the US? The Palin kids are certainly on display, Megan McCain has now made a career out of being the child of a politician, and some of the most iconic images from 2008 include Sasha and Malia Obama.  Would love to hear your thoughts.