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Oligarchy

Is America an Oligarchy?


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Gabriel

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Is it possible that America and the west as a whole has fallen into oligarchy? More and more it seems government legislation is being directed by the market. Regulatory measures being delimited or outright removed by big oil, banking, health care industry or any other private enterprise that has enough wealth. Do Americans agree with the idea a corporation having the same rights as individuals? Seems no matter who is elected the pandering to the wealthy and big business is unavoidable.

The unwillingness of Banks to allow for the public to have any effect over their actions even though they are "to big to fail". Corporations buying politicians so they don't advocate the interests of the people. Wealthy politicians spending millions personal income on campaigns. The list seems endless in terms of the corruptibility of this political system.

Do Americans care their politicians are being bought by corporate interest? Or is that all a figment of the left wings imagination? A paranoia trip? It is hard to argue though the greater and greater of concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people is not happening. The bail out was the single largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the most wealthy. Is this welfare for the rich? Will the public bail out the rich next time? Seems like a pretty solid deal being “to big to fail”. Do Americans believe that taking that power away from these soft power rullers is possible?

What say you all on this?
 
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Ikari

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I think for most everything what we have is oligarchy. It's very easy to fall into if you're not careful, and we've been recklessly caviler about watching and controlling the government as of late.
 

Gabriel

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Oligarchy

Oligarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία, oligarkhía[1]) is a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, military control, or religious hegemony. The word oligarchy is from the Greek words "ὀλίγος" (olígos), "a few"[2] and the verb "ἄρχω" (archo), "to rule, to govern, to command".[3] Such states are often controlled by politically powerful families whose children are heavily conditioned and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy.

Oligarchies have been tyrannical throughout history, being completely reliant on public servitude to exist. Although Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy. Some city-states from ancient Greece were oligarchies.

Edit: I saw someone answer they didn't know so I thought maybe throwing the definition up would be helpful to some.
 
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Gabriel

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Some interesting material to read and a thought provoking video.

Dr. Robert A. Johnson - Executive Director of The Institute New Economic Thinking (INET). Dr. Johnson served on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform under the Chairmanship of Joseph Stiglitz. He is also the Director of Economic Policy for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) in New York. Dr. Johnson was previously a managing director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to that time, Johnson was a managing director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund. He also served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin) and before that, he was Senior Economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico).
Story

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

INTRODUCTION
My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.
—Barack Obama, March 27, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009, was a lovely day in Washington, D.C.—but not for the global economy. The U.S. stock market had fallen 40 percent in just seven months, while the U.S. economy had lost 4.1 million jobs. Total world output was shrinking for the first time since World War II

Read the rest of the intro to this book by Simon Jonson
Excerpt
 

Jucon

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I voted "it is similar" because there is no one I am aware of that is entitled to a government position based off of family ties or social status. However, some people's social status and family ties definitely give them a leg up over an "average-Joe" when seeking a government position.
 

Gabriel

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I voted "it is similar" because there is no one I am aware of that is entitled to a government position based off of family ties or social status. However, some people's social status and family ties definitely give them a leg up over an "average-Joe" when seeking a government position.
Yes I agree.. to some extent I mean there is the Bush and Clinton runs as well as a number of others but it's not a formal thing.. err I don't think. However the definition is mutually exclusive on all the areas. I argue it is oligarchy via the soft power of financial corporate contributions to the government faculties on all fronts and ideology. Basically I think the government is controlled by big money.
 

Djoop

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Replace 'market' with 'career politicians' and I'd vote yes.
 

Gabriel

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Replace 'market' with 'career politicians' and I'd vote yes.
Well I think the problem is that it is perfectly legal for these corporations to buy politicians with money instead of idea's. I can see where your going with the argument but it's painfully apparent that the politicians are being bought .. why is the practice legal?

Further what would you do if you were in office(even worse newly elected to office) and faced with collapse of your economy because these financial structure is dependent on corporations that are "to big to fail"? At any rate clearly both political parties were in favour of bailing out the market captains. If not failure of that magnitude would have destroyed the free market .. requireing a complete overhaul of societal attitudes towards capitalism. That would be quite an upset. I mean all you have to do in the US is say "thats socialistic" and you get half the population behind you and the rest wondering what it means when you say that.(while they watch fox news)

Just get politicians to get rid of corporate donations. Make it illegal.. enforce regulations on the market. See who opposes. Another problem is that I think democracy is dead in America, voting doesn't seem to do the people any good one way or the other, unless your wealthy. It seems just like a terrible disorganized mess and the political process is put into deadlock so easily with partisan politics. Hamstringing an new ideas (ie, regulation of banking industry, health care reform etc.)
 

Djoop

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Well I think the problem is that it is perfectly legal for these corporations to buy politicians with money instead of idea's. I can see where your going with the argument but it's painfully apparent that the politicians are being bought .. why is the practice legal?
It's not legal in my country (NL) and it should not be.

Further what would you do if you were in office(even worse newly elected to office) and faced with collapse of your economy because these financial structure is dependent on corporations that are "to big to fail"? At any rate clearly both political parties were in favour of bailing out the market captains. If not failure of that magnitude would have destroyed the free market .. requireing a complete overhaul of societal attitudes towards capitalism. That would be quite an upset. I mean all you have to do in the US is say "thats socialistic" and you get half the population behind you and the rest wondering what it means when you say that.(while they watch fox news)
Well, first of all I don't believe in 'too big to fail'. When banks fail I expect the federal bank to secure the money of american accountholders. Even in that situation failing banks go under and healthy banks may please themselves with a lot of new accounts. Ultimately the market can't function if you distort it to the point it doesn't matter whether you're profitable or not. I would have never supported the bail out, first under Bush, again under Obama. From my perspective (not knowing very much about american politics) I would trust neither side when it came to the financials.

Just get politicians to get rid of corporate donations. Make it illegal.. enforce regulations on the market. See who opposes. Another problem is that I think democracy is dead in America, voting doesn't seem to do the people any good one way or the other, unless your wealthy. It seems just like a terrible disorganized mess and the political process is put into deadlock so easily with partisan politics. Hamstringing an new ideas (ie, regulation of banking industry, health care reform etc.)
You may be right you may be wrong, I know too little about american politics.
 
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Gabriel

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It's not legal in my country (NL) and it should not be.


Well, first of all I don't believe in 'too big to fail'. When banks fail I expect the federal bank to secure the money of american accountholders. Even in that situation failing banks go under and healthy banks may please themselves with a lot of new accounts. Ultimately the market can't function if you distort it to the point it doesn't matter whether you're profitable or not. I would have never supported the bail out, first under Bush, again under Obama. From my perspective (not knowing very much about american politics) I would trust neither side when it came to the financials.


You may be right you may be wrong, I know too little about american politics.
Well the reference to being "to big to fail" is the size a particular corperation is compared with the GDP. Some of these companies by themselves were representing upwards of 20% of the gpd(correct me if I'm wrong). However what is worse with these financial instruments they were trading back and forth between one another it made all these rather large corporations dependent on one another. I personally think it would have been appropriate to break them up and hard cap their value so they could never represent so much capital.

I was caught personally on what would be appropriate thing to do to be honest. I was not interested in welfaring out these corporations that got caught playing Russian roulette but at the same time it would have been devastating to the people for something that wasn't their fault. Not only that it would have precipitated a global economic collapse immediately effecting people around the world and hurting the most poor nations even more.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Since an oligarchy centers around a *few* elites running the country I vote No. . . but I see where people can believe it is this way.

Our country USE to be similar to an oligarchy but much less so, today, because of government expansion and an increased involvement in political activities by all citizens. Our Congress seats 435 members (Senate and Representatives) - on top of that there's the President, his cabinet and all others stationed to directly/indirectly influence political decision and knowledge. Per citizen involvement: White males who owned property were the only ones to be given the right to vote. Then it was all white males, then black males and other minorities and then women.

Political parties ran the newspapers and controlled what we "knew" - it's still a slight issue but not as much as before.

Also, more than ever, people's opinions have more sway over the acts and decisions of our politicians.

By all these changes and then some we've gone away from elitism and have become more of a balanced system which rests more and more in the hands of the people.
 
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