07/18/2012 10:16 am ET Updated Sep 17, 2012

Chris Hayes: It's the Elite Self-Protection That Produces Crisis, Corruption and Scandal (VIDEO)

Amidst a series of recent scandals that have rocked the global banking system, Democracy Now! interviews Chris Hayes about his new book, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy.

"One of the most insidious aspects of the current distribution of resources in this country and the current inequality we have isn't just that it's bad for people on the bottom of the social pyramid, but that it makes people at the top worse," Hayes says, who is editor-at-large of The Nation magazine. "It conditions them to be incompetent and corrupt."

"Part of the problem is that this kind of elite solidarity, this self-protection impulse, it stretches across the public and private sector, and it stretches across, in some way, ideological lines," Hayes says.

Hayes takes a broad look across major institutions, from corruption in Catholic Church to the widening Penn State football scandal: "The abuse victim says to the bishop, 'Why do you feel sorry for him and not me?' And that to me is the moral core of the transgression here, right. The social distance had grown up to be so massive -- in some ways, it was baked into the cake in the Church hierarchy -- between the bishops and the priests, who they considered their club, and the parishoners. And what we see in Penn State, is an identical situation. The coaches and the athletic director and the hierarchy of the university are on the inside and are all looking out for each other, as opposed to looking out for the people that they have a duty to look out for, which are the children who are coming into contact, sometimes being abused on the property of Penn State, it's that kind of elite self-protection that produces crisis and corruption and scandal."

To watch the entire interview with Chris Hayes and read the transcript, visit our news archive.

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