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Plutocracy

all this Howard Dean raving calls for a riposte . . .
Plutocrat In Chief
Plutocrat In Chief
plu*toc*ra*cy Pronunciation Key (pl-tkr-s)
n. pl. plu*toc*ra*cies
Government by the wealthy.
A wealthy class that controls a government.
A government or state in which the wealthy rule.
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[Greek ploutokrati : ploutos, wealth; see pleu- in Indo-European Roots + -krati, -cracy.]
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pluto*crat (plt-krt) n.
pluto*cratic or pluto*crati*cal adj.
pluto*crati*cal*ly adv.

Source: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
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plutocracy

\Plu*toc"ra*cy\, n. [Gr. ?; ? wealth + ? to be strong, to rule, fr.? strength: cf. F. plutocratie.] A form of government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the wealthy classes; government by the rich; also, a controlling or influential class of rich men.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996
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plutocracy

n : a political system governed by the wealthy people
Source: WordNet 1.6, 1997 Princeton University
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Plutocracy
 http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Plutocracy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A Plutocracy is a government system where wealth is the principal basis of power (from the Greek ploutos meaning wealth).

The influence of wealth on governance can be expressed either via the wealthy classes directly governing, or (more typically) by the wealthy classes using money to control the government. This control can be exerted positively (by financial "contributions" or in some cases, bribes) or negatively by refusing to financially support the government (refusing to pay taxes, threatening to move profitable industries elsewhere, etc).

There have not been many examples of a "true" plutocracy in history as such, although they typically emerge as one of the first governing systems within a territory after a period of anarchy. Plutocracy is closely related to Aristocracy  http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristocracy as a form of government, as generally wealth and nobility have been closely associated throughout history.

In the present era, there are numerous cases of wealthy individuals exerting financial pressure on governments to pass favourable legislation. Most western partisan democracies permit the raising of funds by the partisan organisations, and it is well-known that political parties frequently accept significant donations from various individuals (either directly or through corporate institutions). Ostensibly this should have no effect on the legislative decisions of elected representatives, however it would be a bit idealistic to believe that no politicians are influenced by these "contributions". The more cynical might describe these donations as "bribes", although legally they are not.

See also:

Pareto principle (on unequal distribution of wealth)
 http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle
corporatocracy
 http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatocracy
corporate police state
 http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_police_state

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"Plutocracy" Defined
 http://progressiveliving.org/plutocracy_defined.htm

The term "plutocracy" is formally defined as government by the wealthy, and is also sometimes used to refer to a wealthy class that controls a government, often from behind the scenes. More generally, a plutocracy is any form of government in which the wealthy exercise the preponderance of political power, whether directly or indirectly.

Plutocracy may also have social and cultural aspects. Thus, in Democracy for the Few  http://progressiveliving.org/who_rules_samples.htm political scientist Michael Parenti is led to comment "American capitalism represents more than just an economic system; it is an entire cultural and social order, a plutocracy, a system of rule that is mostly by and for the rich. Most universities and colleges, publishing houses, mass circulation magazines, newspapers, television and radio stations, professional sports teams, foundations, churches, private museums, charity organizations, and hospitals are organized as corporations, ruled by boards of trustees (or directors or regents) composed overwhelmingly of affluent businesspeople. These boards exercise final judgment over all institutional matters."

The question of whether or not the United States could be said to be a plutocracy is discussed at length in Who Rules America  http://progressiveliving.org/who_rules_samples.htm by sociologist G. William Domhoff. There Domhoff remarks: "The idea that a relatively fixed group of privileged people might shape the economy and government for their own benefit goes against the American grain. Nevertheless, this book argues that the owners and top-level managers in large income-producing properties are far and away the dominant power figures in the United States. Their corporations, banks, and agribusinesses come together as a corporate community that dominates the federal government in Washington. Their real estate, construction, and land development companies form growth coalitions that dominate most local governments."

The argument to the effect that the US is a functional plutocracy (that is, that the wealthy exercise a preponderance of American political power) is different from, enormously better documented, and altogether more credible, than claims to the effect that there exists a small circle of conspirators bent on ruling the world, claims for which no credible evidence exists. (Domhoff explicitly disavows the existence of any such conspiracy.)

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See the resource on the Bush cabinet, with links that illustrate its plutocratic nature
 http://progressiveliving.org/bush_cabinet.htm
Go to the Essay on Politics
 http://progressiveliving.org/politics_essay.htm
Go to the PL Political Field Guide
 http://progressiveliving.org/politics_frameset.htm
Return to the PL Site Map
 http://progressiveliving.org/site_map_2.htm


Some other enlightening and useful links:

Corporate Capitalist Plutocracy
 http://free.freespeech.org/americanstateterrorism/plutocracy/RevealingQuotes2.html

The Plutocratic Presidency, 17892003
 http://free.freespeech.org/americanstateterrorism/plutocracy/PlutocraticPresidency.html

The Corporate Domination of American Culture and Politics
 http://free.freespeech.org/americanstateterrorism/plutocracy/CorporateDomination.html

Plutocracy.Net
 http://plutocracy.net/