Krugman again, on the mark again -- this time about the narcissistic dimension of our elites' insanity. I would just add that it's not only about wealth and privilege (pace F. Scott). It's about isolation (cue Jared Diamond).
My experience in corporate America has made it clear to me that the putative emotional-familial structure of hierarchical organizations (and by extension, societies) is, in fact, a willful collective delusion. We tell ourselves that our leaders are like parents and those they lead are like children -- but the emotional truth is precisely the opposite. Executives are emotional babies, in need of constant stroking and assurance that they are wise, powerful, beautiful, beloved. The workers of any organization play the role of the grown-up, reassuring and protecting them.
Why do we do this? Because we want there to be leaders (and, eventually, to be a god). We find a life in which there is no final authority -- a genuinely open uiniverse -- too frightening. We're acutely aware of our own limitations, and we long for a loving authority who will protect us from having to be adults. So we invent one, we invent more than one. We tell ourselves and them that they actually exist.