Frequently, at a certain existential point, and considering certain living conditions, citizens question what would be the ideal style of government that would guarantee greater social welfare. In this sense, what would a system based on plutocracy look like?
At a time when democracy seems so questionable, would it really be such a bad option
? And most importantly: what does it mean to live in a plutocracy?
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What is a plutocracy
? We call ‘plutocracy’ a form of government that is based on control of the population, exercised by a minority of inhabitants with a higher economic level. This power elite would seek the monopolization of all the resources and tools available to a system, regardless of the form of citizen participation or whichever political system it governed; to get the most out of it and guarantee its maintenance.
Thus, the governed would live subject to and conditioned by the will of the few who were in power, whose interests would prevail over those of the majority. In addition, in a plutocracy, the ruling class holds all the material goods that a country has, something that reinforces the factual power that, by its nature, they already possess.
Plutocracy: the prostitution of democracy?
Many consider that, behind the veil of a supposed representative democracy, this form of oligarchy is actually hidden, which has nothing to do with the hackneyed “government of the people and for the people.” After all, if those elected by the people (democracy) are actually puppets of the powerful rich and must act at their whim, we are already talking about plutocracy. Precisely for this reason, we said above that it does not matter so much who ends up being elected to govern, but who is behind it.
Thus, democracy would be nothing more than a theater to keep the inhabitants of these nations under the false belief that they have the power of choice over their rulers, when in reality the plutocrats care little or nothing, since they will continue to take their decisions regardless of what the people demand or vote at the polls and acting through their political puppets.
For this reason, the term plutocracy (or ‘plutarchy’) is sometimes used with derogatory connotations, since it can easily be considered the misrepresentation, or corruption, if you prefer, of a fair system (at least on paper) such as democracy.
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Characteristics of a plutocracy
To help make the term more understandable, we can limit the essential characteristics of the plutocracy in the following points.
By its very nature , plutocracy is a type of oligarchic system . This means that the domain falls into the hands of a few, who are placed above the others to exert their influence. In this case, the rich over the poor.
In general, in any society, those who have more purchasing power will always be a minority compared to those who have less.
2. Financing of political parties and their electoral campaigns
The rise of political parties and the costs invested during their electoral campaign is one of the ways in which the plutocracy exerts its dark influence . In this way, once in power, said party will have to give explanations to these shadow investors and legislate to please them for the favor granted.
Although each candidate, during the time of the electoral campaign, assures that no dirty money has been allocated to their own promotion, the truth is that the generalized discontent with the current political class is such that it is considered vox populi that there is the presence of someone above these layers pulling the strings; even when the embezzlement of funds for this type of affairs is punishable in many countries.
3. Media control
Another open secret is subsidies to certain communication media, an issue that becomes twice as alarming if we think of those who label themselves impartiality and transparency.
Control of the media would serve in a plutocracy as a loudspeaker to spread and propagate certain ideologies that, like a bad virus, will spread through the audience, shaping their thinking and conditioning their actions based on it. This phenomenon is possible, since many large companies have certain communication groups. Thus, it is possible for the plutocracy to extend its claws to where we feel safest: the comfort of our home.
For the plutocracy to prosper, this aspect is essential, because there is no easier way to subdue without resorting to active violence, than to get a society to drop its pants of its own volition.
4. Privatization of basic goods We
mentioned above how in a plutocratic society, the resources and goods that should belong to the people are retained by private companies for their exploitation. This occurs, for example, with basic resources such as electricity, water or gas; or with the right to housing, something that is considered one of the essential rights of human beings and that, on the other hand, is accessible to a few (and with the minimum guarantees).
3 examples of plutocracy in the world
Are you curious to know which societies are plutocratic ?
Here are three examples:
1. Empire of Carthage
This ancient civilization on the shores of the Mediterranean, which lived especially from maritime trade, one of the largest together with the Greek and Roman, is one of the first historical examples of plutocracy of which there is proof.
To reign in Carthage, among those who disputed the Crown, the one who was willing to pay the best price used to be chosen. As a consequence, only those who came from families with high incomes had any chance of ruling.
2. United States
Formerly, in the United States, those who had the right to vote were the big landowners who enslaved the black population to work for them. In this way, the rank of these caciques was clear.
For some, it seems that things have not changed since then, since there are not a few who affirm that the United States is still a plutocracy dominated by an elite of wealthy (representing about 1% of its population), but with enough influence enough to impose the measures they deem necessary on the rest of the citizens.
3. European Union
If the United States is accused of being a secret plutocracy , why shouldn’t the EU be too?
With the excuse of a great brotherhood of countries that must all row together, it is much easier to later submit each nation to the designs mandated by those who rule in the Troika, for example (the International Monetary Fund, the European Community and the European Central Bank).
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One last thought about plutocracies
If the main world powers do not really hide a plutocracy, what do the leaders members of the Bilderberg club do in their annual meetings, if not determine the future of each country
? Is that not what we said is done in a plutocracy
, do we put on the silver foil cap now or do we continue without having reasons
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