Plutocracy

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Reagan's story of freedom superficially alludes to the Founding Fathers, but its substance comes from the Gilded Age, devised by apologists for the robber barons. ~ Bill Moyers

Plutocracy (from Greek πλοῦτος, ploutos, meaning "wealth", and κράτος, kratos, meaning "power, dominion, rule") or plutarchy, refers to a society or a system ruled and dominated by a small minority of the wealthiest or most powerful citizens. Unlike democracy, capitalism, socialism or anarchism, plutocracy is not necessarily rooted in any definite political philosophy, and the concepts or strategies of plutocracy may be advocated or used by wealthy or powerful classes of a society in an indirect or surreptitious fashion, though the term itself is almost always used in a pejorative sense.

Quotes[edit]

Millions of Americans have awakened to a sobering reality: they live in a plutocracy, where they are disposable. ~ Bill Moyers
I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. ~ George Orwell
  • I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it's birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan (12 November 1816). The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, ed. Paul Leicester Ford, 1904, Vol. 12, pp. 43-44.
    • Widely paraphrased as "I hope we shall crush...", without reference to an example.
  • Reagan's story of freedom superficially alludes to the Founding Fathers, but its substance comes from the Gilded Age, devised by apologists for the robber barons. It is posed abstractly as the freedom of the individual from government control — a Jeffersonian ideal at the roots of our Bill of Rights, to be sure. But what it meant in politics a century later, and still means today, is the freedom to accumulate wealth without social or democratic responsibilities and license to buy the political system right out from everyone else.
    • Bill Moyers, in his "For America's Sake" speech (12 December 2006), as quoted in Moyers on Democracy (2008), p. 17
  • Ed Murrow told his generation of journalists bias is okay as long as you don't try to hide it. So here, one more time, is mine: plutocracy and democracy don't mix. Plutocracy, the rule of the rich, political power controlled by the wealthy.
    Plutocracy is not an American word but it's become an American phenomenon. Back in the fall of 2005, the Wall Street giant Citigroup even coined a variation on it, plutonomy, an economic system where the privileged few make sure the rich get richer with government on their side. By the next spring, Citigroup decided the time had come to publicly "bang the drum on plutonomy." … over the past 30 years the plutocrats, or plutonomists — choose your poison — have used their vastly increased wealth to capture the flag and assure the government does their bidding. … This marriage of money and politics has produced an America of gross inequality at the top and low social mobility at the bottom, with little but anxiety and dread in between, as middle class Americans feel the ground falling out from under their feet. … Like those populists of that earlier era, millions of Americans have awakened to a sobering reality: they live in a plutocracy, where they are disposable. Then, the remedy was a popular insurgency that ignited the spark of democracy. Now we have come to another parting of the ways, and once again the fate and character of our country are up for grabs. … Democracy only works when we claim it as our own.
  • It was of the utmost importance to me that people in western Europe should see the Soviet regime for what it really was. Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class.
    • George Orwell, in his original preface to Animal Farm; as published in George Orwell : Some Materials for a Bibliography (1953) by Ian R. Willison

External links[edit]

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