Craig Hulet has been laying it out about the corporatocracy and economic fascism for thirty years. His most recent interview was particularly trenchant. Topics covered include African land and resources grabbing, oligarchy, the pointlessness of elections, Putin, Snowden, the possibility of revolution, fascism, corporatism, etc.
Tag Archives | oligarchy
David Rosen writes at CounterPunch:
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Oligarchy is defined as “government by the few” and came into English use around 1570. The term derives from two Greek words: oligos meaning “few” and arch for “rule”; similar English-language terms include monarch or hierarchy. Plutocracy is derived from the Greek ploutos meaning “wealth” and kratos for “govern.”
Today, both concepts — plutocrats and oligarchs — refer to the growing influence the rich – and especially the superrich – have on the national (and international) political economy. Oligarchs are plutocrats who use their enormous wealth to further a particularly conservative, if not rightwing, agenda.
Thomas Piketty’s study, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, reveals that the U.S. – along with much of the advanced capitalist world — is returning to what economist Paul Krugman calls the “new Gilded Age.” Piketty finds that that in 2010, the top 1 percent controlled 20 percent of U.S.
The word “oligarchy” has finally come home.
For years, it was a term only used in connection with those big bad and sleazy Mafioso-type businessmen in Russia.
Russia had oligarchs; we didn’t. That became a big difference between the official narrative of what separated our land of the free and the home of the brave from THEM, the snakes in the shades and private planes, in the post-Soviet period.
Actually, I first heard the term oligarchy when I was studying labor history at Cornell a half a lifetime ago. We were taught about something called the “Iron Law of Oligarchy.”
It was a concept coined by Robert Michels, a friend of sociology guru, Max Weber, way back in 1911. Here’s how it was defined in that relic of another age: The Encyclopedia Britannica:
“Michels came to the conclusion that the formal organization of bureaucracies inevitably leads to oligarchy, under which organizations originally idealistic and democratic eventually come to be dominated by a small, self-serving group of people who achieved positions of power and responsibility. This can occur in large organizations because it becomes physically impossible for everyone to get together every time a decision has to be made.”
So, oligarchies have been with us seemingly forever—it’s an “iron law,” says he–but in current usage the term references the small elite—the 1% of the 1% that dominates economic and political decision making.… Read the rest
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”
This news shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention, though it is encouraging to see that more people are beginning to wake up and acknowledge these facts.
Another disturbing aspect which the author points out: “the data used for this study was drawn from study of public policy 1,779 instances between 1981 and 2002.… Read the rest
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Isn’t what’s going on in the Ukraine, this attempt at regime change, which is unfortunately on the verge of turning into a full blown proxy-civil war (2) threatening to bring about the Balkanization of the region, the same game that has been played out in countless other countries for the better part of the last century?
I. 1953 Regime Change in Iran
It was the 1953 CIA instigated coup of the democratically elected government of Iran that really began the regime changing endeavors of the Western superpowers.
The first attempt of a Middle Eastern country to free themselves of Western control of their resources occurred with Iran in 1951 when the democratically elected president, Dr. Mohammed Mosaddeq, nationalizated Iran’s oil industry. Unfortunately, however, Western powers would not stand idly by while Iranians took control of their own resources, which is why in 1953 the CIA, following instructions from Britain, organized a coup against Dr.
Valery Morozov, a successful Russian businessman has been granted political asylum in Britain after exposing an alleged corruption scandal involving officials and police in Russia. Hoping to build a hotel in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, he says he paid about $10.5m in bribes to keep the contract from a competitor with close ties to the government, contributing to an estimated $300bn in bribes paid by Russians every year, according to the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International.
John Stoehr writes on Al Jazeera:
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In the US, the dominant political discourse consists of ideas put forth by the ruling class.
Karl Marx never visited the United States, but he nevertheless understood the country, because he understood capitalism. As you know, there’s no American ideology that’s mightier than capitalism. Equality, justice and the rule of law are nice and all, but money talks.
In their 1846 book The German Ideology, Marx and co-author Frederick Engels took a look at human history and made a plain but controversial observation. In any given historical period, the ideas that people generally think are the best and most important ideas are usually the ideas of the people in charge. If you have a lot of money and own a lot of property, then you have the power to propagandise your worldview and you have incentive to avoid appearing as if you’re propagandising your worldview.