22 July 2018

Paul Jay and Real News: The Russian Plutocracy and Its American Cousin

"...we had come to the stage where for our people what was needed was a real democracy; and of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of a plutocracy."

Theodore Roosevelt, Autobiography

"A few thousand people with families, kids and so on, who are real rulers who concentrate economic and political power. Executive power. They control ruling party, administration of president, and they control main part of wealth of Russia. Seventy percent of Russian wealth is concentrated in the hands of less than one percent of population...

And key resources in the hands of a few families, one hundred, two hundred families. So, the problem is that they have common interests, but they have clans, like in, I don’t know, court of Louis XIV or XV in France, different clans of aristocracy fighting between themselves. But generally speaking, it is one power, one strata of aristocrats who has power."

Alexander Buzgalin, Is Putin’s Rule a Dictatorship?

"“Political decisions helped to create the super-elite in the first place, and as the economic might of the super-elite class grows, so does its political muscle. Surging income inequality is such a strong violation of our expectations that most of us don’t realize it is happening...

Somebody ought to sit down and think about this, because your corporate types are soon going to be a stateless superclass, people who live for deals and golf dates and care a lot more about where you got your MBA than the country you were raised in. It’s the Middle Ages all over again, these little unaffiliated duchies and fiefdoms, flying their own flags and ready to take in any vassal who will pledge his life to the manor...

They are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.”

Chrystia Freeland, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else

"Trump represents the latest iteration of a very particular sort of global plutocrat. These super-wealthy elites have a penchant for nationalism, and often xenophobia. They boast authoritarian streaks, and exhibit total shamelessness about mixing business and politics. You often can't tell where one form of power ends and another begins...

Such government-run self-enrichment schemes are classic Putin, too. The economic chaos that followed the Soviet Union's fall created a market ruled by feudalistic Russian business elites.  Putin took advantage to install himself as Russia's permanent leader, enriching himself and his compatriots along the way. "

Jeff Spross, The New Global Plutocracy

Plutocracy is a form of government in which a relatively small ruling class of the wealthy wields extraordinary power over the rest, mingling money and power, politics and business, while bending the rule of law to its own self-interests. 

In that sense it is corporatism without becoming overtly fascist, at least on the surface.  It is not a democracy, although it may mimic that form of government as a facade or mask to cover its true nature.

Here is an interesting interviewed conducted by The Real News with Paul Jay which examines the current form of Russian government which is not a dictatorship but a plutocracy. The transcript can be found at the RNN web site here.

America is heading in the same direction, if not already there thanks to a well-funded campaign of deregulation, campaign finance laws, and court rulings like 'Citizens United.' And it has been here before in prior periods of history with record economic inequality, such as The Gilded Age.

If one looks carefully at what the corporate Democrats do, rather than what they say, and compare it with the GOP t becomes readily apparent that despite the external trappings, the corporatists of both political parties are not so much ideological opponents as they are competing organizations within the same mold and system, like rival crime families.

And the great foe of both are the Progressives, and any other group that wishes to change or reform the system that they themselves have built, and which has richly rewarded them.