Meritocrats like Buttigieg changed not just corporate strategies but also corporate values. Particular industries, and still more individual companies, may be committed to distinctive, concrete goals and ideals. GM may aspire to build good cars; IBM, to make typewriters, computers, and other business machines; and AT&T, to improve communications. Executives who rose up through these companies, on the mid-century model, were embedded in their firms and embraced these values, so that they might even have come to view profits as a salutary side effect of running their businesses well. When management consulting untethered executives from particular industries or firms and tied them instead to management in general, it also led them to embrace the one thing common to all corporations: making money for shareholders. Executives raised on the new, untethered model of management aim exclusively and directly at profit: their education, their career arc, and their professional role conspire to isolate them from other workers and train them single-mindedly on the bottom line. Buttigieg carries this worldview into his politics. Wendell Potter, at The Intercept, observes that “a lot” of Buttigieg’s campaign language about health care, including “specific words” is “straight out of the health-insurance industry’s playbook.” The influence of management consulting, moreover, goes far beyond language to the very rationale for Buttigieg’s candidacy. What he offers America is intellect and elite credentials—a combination that McKinsey has taught him and others like him to believe should more than compensate for an obvious deficit of directly relevant experience. This is a dangerous belief. Technocratic management, no matter how brilliant, cannot unwind the structural inequalities that are dismantling the American middle class. To think that it can is to be insensible of the real harms that technocratic elites, at McKinsey and other management-consulting firms, have done to America. Such obliviousness may not be malevolent; but it is clueless.                        And emphasizing private virtue or personal ethics—including the ethics that would have led Buttigieg to reject distasteful clients—only protects structural inequalities, by creating scapegoats to absorb moral scruples and redirect outrage away from systemic injustice. American democracy, the left believes, cannot be rejuvenated by persuading elites to deploy their excessive power somehow more benevolently. Instead, it requires breaking the stranglehold that elites have on our economics and politics, and reempowering everyone else.