Oligarchy: Difference between revisions

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===Corporatocracy===
 
===Corporatocracy===
 
[[Corporation|Corporate]] oligarchy ([[Corporatocracy]]) is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities, lobbyists that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected [[prerogative]]. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the [[East India Company]], or privileged bargaining rights to unions (labor monopolies) with very partisan political interests.
 
[[Corporation|Corporate]] oligarchy ([[Corporatocracy]]) is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities, lobbyists that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected [[prerogative]]. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the [[East India Company]], or privileged bargaining rights to unions (labor monopolies) with very partisan political interests.
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Perhaps a new term can be used for a kind of government that has elements of both a plutocracy and an oligarchy: plutarchy. Some would say that the actions and aspirations of the Republican Party in the United States wants a "fascist corporate plutarchy", which would satisfy both the definition of plutocracy and oligarchy.
   
 
==Athenian techniques to prevent the rise of oligarchy==
 
==Athenian techniques to prevent the rise of oligarchy==

Revision as of 04:10, 20 June 2012

Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning 'a few', and ἄρχω (archo), meaning 'to rule or to command')[1][2][3] is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next.

Throughout history, some oligarchies have been tyrannical, relying on public servitude to exist, although others have been relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich,[4] for which the exact term is plutocracy, but 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.

Examples

Some other examples include the former Soviet Union where only members of the Communist Party were allowed to vote or hold office; the French First Republic government under the Directory; and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (only the nobility could vote). In the time of the ancient Greeks, Sparta was an oligarchy that clashed with the democratic city-state of Athens, (these two nations eventually clashed in the Peloponnesian war in which Sparta defeated Athens causing the city state to rule much of Greece for some time).

A modern example of oligarchy could be seen in South Africa during the twentieth century. Here, the basic characteristics of oligarchy are particularly easy to observe, since the South African form of oligarchy was based on race. After the Second Boer War, a tacit agreement or understanding was reached between English- and Afrikaans-speaking whites. Together, they made up about twenty percent of the population, but this small percentage ruled the vast non-white and mixed-race population. Whites had access to virtually all the educational and trade opportunities, and they proceeded to deny this to the black majority even further than before.[citation needed]

Although this process had been going on since the mid-17th- 18th century, after 1948 it became official government policy and became known worldwide as apartheid. This lasted until the arrival of democracy in South Africa in 1994, punctuated by the transition to a democratically-elected government dominated by the black majority.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union on 31 December 1991, privately owned Russia-based multinational corporations, including producers of petroleum, natural gas, and metal have become oligarchs. Privatization allowed executives to amass phenomenal wealth and power almost overnight. In May 2004, the Russian edition of Forbes identified 36 of these oligarchs as being worth at least $1 billion.[5]

A well-known fictional oligarchy is represented by the Party in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Modern democracy

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, many modern democracies should be considered as oligarchies. In these systems, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is only one political party, the incumbent party.

Corporatocracy

Corporate oligarchy (Corporatocracy) is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities, lobbyists that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the East India Company, or privileged bargaining rights to unions (labor monopolies) with very partisan political interests. Perhaps a new term can be used for a kind of government that has elements of both a plutocracy and an oligarchy: plutarchy. Some would say that the actions and aspirations of the Republican Party in the United States wants a "fascist corporate plutarchy", which would satisfy both the definition of plutocracy and oligarchy.

Athenian techniques to prevent the rise of oligarchy

Especially during the Fourth Century BC, after the restoration of democracy from oligarchical coups, the Athenians used the drawing of lots for selecting government officers in order to counteract what the Athenians acutely saw as a tendency toward oligarchy in government if a professional governing class were allowed to use their skills for their own benefit.[6] They drew lots from large groups of adult volunteers as a selection technique for civil servants performing judicial, executive, and administrative functions (archai, boulē, and hēliastai).[7] They even used lots for very important posts, such as judges and jurors in the political courts (nomothetai), which had the power to overrule the Assembly.[8]

See also

Authors

References

  1. ^ ὀλίγος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  2. ^ ἄρχω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  3. ^ ὀλιγαρχία, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  4. ^ Winters (2011) p.37
  5. ^ http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/60263/marshall-i-goldman/putin-and-the-oligarchs, Putin and the Oligarchs, Foreign Affairs. November/December 2004
  6. ^ M.H. Hansen, The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes 97, 308, et al. (Oxford, 1991)
  7. ^ Bernard Manin, Principles of Representative Government 11-24 (1997).
  8. ^ Bernard Manin, Principles of Representative Government 19-23 (1997).

Further reading

External links