Oligarchy is a form of government in which certain people or groups control economic or political power. In the current context, oligarchy refers to a situation where a few dominant entities hold so much power and wealth that they are able to influence the actions of government without being directly accountable to citizens. This type of society has been seen before. One of the earliest examples was Ancient Greece as Athens became increasingly powerful during the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., leading other cities to resent Athens and rebel. This same situation is still present in Western countries today as wealthy individuals, corporations, and financial institutions play an increasing role in government decision-making and public policy. The following article analyzes oligarchy in America as we speak about a new form of aristocracy that has taken root over the past several decades. We will explore how America is becoming an oligarchy, what types of organizations are involved in this process, how this affects American society as a whole, and some possible solutions if we want to reverse this trend.
Is America An Oligarchy?
America is an oligarchy. An oligarchy is a form of government in which a small group of wealthy people rule over the rest of the population. In America, the wealthy elite wield enormous power and influence over the government and the economy. They use their wealth and power to control the political process and ensure that their interests are served above all others. As a result, America is not a democracy, but an oligarchy controlled by the wealthy few.
The History Of American Oligarchy
1. Ancient Greece
Athens became increasingly powerful during the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., leading other cities to resent Athens and rebel. This same situation is still present in Western countries today as wealthy individuals, corporations, and financial institutions play an increasing role in government decision-making and public policy.
2. The Gilded Age
In the late 1800s, America experienced a period of great wealth and power called the Gilded Age. This was due to the growth of industry, inventions such as the telegraph and telephone, and the development of finance and banking.
3. The 1970s
The 1970s were a time of great political turmoil in America as Watergate led to the resignation of president Nixon and widespread protests against the Vietnam War. This led to a change in how power was distributed in America as elites became more cautious about how much influence they had over government.
4. The 1990s
In the 1990s, America experienced another period of great change as the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a wave of democratization and globalization. This led to a rise in economic inequality, which has been linked to an increase in oligarchy in America.
Why Is America Becoming An Oligarchy?
1. Economic inequality
The rise in economic inequality in America is linked to the increase in oligarchy. Economic inequality is the extent to which members of a society have unequal access to wealth, power, and opportunities. In America, the wealthiest people have become far more wealthy than anyone else, while the middle class has declined and poverty rates have increased. This has led to a situation in which the wealthy elite can control the political process and ensure that their interests are served above all others.
2. Political corruption
Another reason why America is becoming an oligarchy is because of political corruption. Political corruption is when government officials use their positions to gain personal advantage or make money from their positions. This often occurs through bribery, extortion, or other forms of corruption. As a result, the government is controlled by a few powerful individuals rather than by the people it was intended to serve.
3. The decline of democracy
One of the main reasons why America is becoming an oligarchy is the decline of democracy. Democracy is a system in which the people have control over their government. However, in America this has been declining over the past few decades. This is due to a number of factors, including the rise of big money in politics and the increasing influence of corporations over politics. As a result, the majority of Americans have little say in how their government is run, and oligarchy has become a more likely outcome.
4. The role of the media
Another reason why America is becoming an oligarchy is the role of the media. The media is responsible for shaping public opinion, and as a result it has a significant impact on how society behaves. In recent years, the media has been dominated by commercial interests rather than journalistic principles. This has led to a situation in which the media is biased towards the wealthy elite and does not challenge their power or influence. As a result, oligarchy has become a more likely outcome in America.
5. The decline of social mobility
Another reason why America is becoming an oligarchy is the decline of social mobility. Social mobility is the ability of a person to move up the social ladder from one class to another. However, this has been declining in America over the past few decades. This is due to a number of reasons, including the increasing income inequality and the increasing number of people who are born into wealthy families. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary people to gain access to power and wealth. This has led to a situation in which oligarchy is becoming more likely in America.
How To Determine If America Is Becoming An Oligarchy
A disproportionate influence on media and public discourse
In an oligarchy, an elite minority controls the media and changes the narrative in its favor. This is one of the most visible signs that an oligarchy is emerging. If you follow the American news or social media, you will see this being enacted to an alarming degree. When Donald Trump announced his bid for the presidency, he was ridiculed, condemned, and even threatened by the majority of the establishment media. What was not mentioned before the elections, however, is what was discussed during his campaign. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was praised and glorified. The theme of the campaign was how terrible Donald Trump was when this was not the message of the campaign before it. These types of distorted and slanted media reports are common in oligarchies.
A cult of personality around leaders
One of the key aspects of an oligarchy is the veneration of leaders, especially authoritarian leaders. If a society starts to see its leaders as demi-gods and celebrities who are untouchable, this is a sign that something is not right. Donald Trump is certainly not a saint or a role model, but the adulation that surrounds him is a clear sign that he is indeed an oligarch. When Kanye West or Mark Zuckerberg are hailed as great leaders, the American public is being brainwashed. If you see this happening to any extent, then it may be time to stop and take a step back to fully assess the situation.
Rigged elections and voter suppression
The United States has a long history of manipulating elections, especially in the developing world. This is understandable as many countries are not democratic enough yet to be given power. What is concerning, however, is how the United States seems to be complicit in these efforts. The United States has played a critical role in rigging elections, often through funding opposition parties. If this were not bad enough, the United States has also taken steps to suppress the votes of certain populations, often those that voted for more liberal candidates. If you notice that elections are being rigged, perhaps it is time to start questioning the legitimacy of your system.
Disdain for human rights and civil liberties
One common trait of oligarchies is an increasing disdain for human rights and civil liberties. In oligarchies, these are privileges of the few, not the rights of all. Human rights are trampled upon when they get in the way of the elite’s agenda, and there is a long history of this happening in the United States. While one cannot deny that these have been under attack in the United States, it is important to keep in mind that many other places have a much worse record on these issues.
Concentration of wealth and extreme inequality
One of the best ways to create economic instability is to create extreme levels of wealth concentration. Combined with a lack of social mobility, this can lead to revolutions and even civil wars. The United States has certainly seen its share of wealth concentration, as the top one percent now own nearly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. This is not a good sign for a stable economy.
An erosion of faith in government
Government is an essential part of any functioning democracy. However, in oligarchies, the people lose faith in the government because it no longer represents the people. This is often manifested in the increasing popularity of anti-government movements. If you notice that citizens are losing faith in their government, it may be time to take a step back and assess the situation.
An increase in New Right movements
One of the greatest threats to a democracy is the rise of movements with the sole purpose of undermining democracy. One of the most common ways that this happens is through the rise of authoritarian and authoritarian-leaning movements. New Right movements are often led by elites that want to erode the rights of the public. This can take many forms, such as attacking the public education system and public health care.
The U.S. has certainly seen a shift towards an oligarchy in recent years, but it is not yet an iron-clad fact. In order to reverse this trend, Americans must recognize the problem and actively work to create a more democratic and equitable society. The wealthy elites who have taken control of American politics and government must be challenged and their influence and power diminished.