Plutocracy

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Most of the world, including the USA, is a plutocracy: ruled by and for the rich, the .01%. Libertarians with their obsession with property tend to favor this status quo. Also known as plutonomy and plutarchy, closely related to oligarchy.

Links

Corporations (26 links)
Corporations are creatures of the state, our first-class citizens, government created systems of privilege used to concentrate wealth. They are a fundamental part of our current capitalist system. Libertarian individualism seems to ignore this basic problem. A few libertarians (and some others) oppose corporations for that reason. Giant corporations exercise private tyranny because they are unaccountable to the public.
The Beneficence Of Plutocrats (3 links)
People often excuse the harms done by plutocrats by citing later philanthropy. The Gates and Carnegie foundations, for example. But the benefits are hardly comparable in size to the harms, and they may not be what we want. Libertarians claim that government cannot spend tax money as wisely as individuals could; why then should we believe plutocrats could spend their profits as wisely as individuals could?
State Support Of The Wealthy (8 links)
Supposed "makers" benefit much more from the state than the remainder of the populace. This is especially clear from historical and international comparisons.
Wingnut Welfare (3 links)
Plutocratic funders funnel vast amounts of money for political purposes through myriads of shell companies. They evade campaign finance regulation and mislead the IRS about the purpose to get unjustified charitable tax deductions and conceal the origin of the money. The ironic thing is that spreading market ideology is not profitable, and must be subsidized by the wealthy.
Liberty, Equality, Efficiency (2 links)
Inequality of outcome is a drag on economic growth according to recent studies by the IMF. "In short, what’s good for the 1 percent isn’t good for America. And we don’t have to keep living in a new Gilded Age if we don’t want to."
Supply-Side Economics (8 links)
A failed Reagan-era crank theory used to cut taxes and services. It promised a boom in productivity and never produced one. Instead, it created an ever-increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the rich. Featuring the Laffer Curve. Also called voodoo economics. Considered a gross failure.
Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy (24 links)
A term used by Hillary Clinton, which like politically Incorrect is sneered at by libertarians. Hillary was wrong: there are several vast, right-wing conspiracies, aimed at corporatism, movement conservatism, plutocracy, and theocracy, each with their respective billionaire sponsors. Koch, Scaife, Ahmundson, Coors, Murdoch, etc. Not to mention international kleptocractic money laundering conspiracies, which may have put Trump in office by laundering campaign donations through the NRA. The Kochtopus is probably foremost among them in the US, and the Mont Pelerin Society globally. Libertarians are among the cat's-paws of these conspiracies.
How Plutocratic Policy Has Changed The United States Since 1950
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Adam Smith is not the antidote to Thomas Piketty [More...]
"Smith’s attacks on the laws that allow the concentration of wealth, primogeniture and entail, are not simply policy prescriptions; they are the lynchpin of his explanation for the delayed growth of Europe before 1700."
Aristocracy (1 link)
Perpetual control of society/resources/etc. by a tiny fraction of the population who are not answerable to others..
Capital in the Twenty-First Century (book) (14 links)
This book shows how policies concentrate wealth in the hands of the .01%, increasing inequality. Libertarianism has always been sponsored by the extremely rich, and their positions have favored these policies or worse.
Commercial Trolling: Social Media and the Corporate Deformation of Democracy [More...]
"As the phenomenon of online astroturfing demonstrates, online discourse is under constant assault from concentrated capital that deliberately hides both its identity and its strategies and tactics. The notion that the “internet democratizes,” especially with regard to the most important aspects of political communication, cannot and must not be taken on faith."
Conservative Donors Pump $1 Billion A Year Into Climate Denying Groups, Study Finds [More...]
"Organizations that actively block efforts to address climate change are funded by a large network of conservative donors to the tune of nearly $1 billion a year [...]" Describes new "dark money" techniques for concealing funding sources, especially from the petrochemical industry.
Cyberlibertarianism: The Extremist Foundations of ‘Digital Freedom’ [More...]
An analysis of the ideology of cyberlibertarianism, placing it within the neoliberal thought collective along with classical liberalism, neoliberalism, and libertarianism. A must read!
Democalypse 2014 - South by South Mess: Ad of Brothers [More...]
The Daily Show with John Stewart satirizes a Koch Industries greenwashing advertisement. Accurate and hysterically funny.
Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal (book)
Shows how today’s dominant economic theories of economic efficiency and wages evolved, how they explicitly favor the rich over the poor, and why they’re not the only -- or best -- options.
Forget the 1 Percent: It is the 0.01 percent who are really getting ahead in America [More...]
"The top 0.1% (consisting of 160,000 families worth $73m on average) hold 22% of America’s wealth, just shy of the 1929 peak—and exactly the same share as the bottom 90% of the population."
Free markets killed capitalism: Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Wal-Mart, Amazon and the 1 percent’s sick triumph over us all [More...]
"The American economy is more concentrated today than it’s been in more than a century, since the days of the plutocrats. Pretty much every sector of the economy is dominated by a few Goliaths, sometimes a single dominant corporation. "
How Citizens United Kept the Koch Brothers Out of Jail [More...]
"According to Palast, the real agenda behind the Supreme Court case was to keep the notorious Koch brothers out of jail for illegal corporate donations they had made to Republican campaigns. In other words, the ruling decriminalized extensive lawbreaking by the Republican Party’s favorite billionaires."
How the GOP stopped caring about you [More...]
"The history of the Republican Party shows why, since the Civil War, the nation has been caught in cycles of progressivism and reaction." Libertarians (the Kochs) have been important players in this latest cycle of plutocratic reaction.
How the Rich Rule [More...]
"A politics based on cultural values and symbolism rather than bread-and-butter interests. When politics is waged on these grounds, elections are won by those who are most successful at “priming” our latent cultural and psychological markers, not those who best represent our interests."
Interview With Mike Huben, Creator Of Critiques Of Libertarianism
An exploration of why libertarians can believe the kinds of things they believe. How they can be so callous, ignore obvious problems, be so dogmatic, etc.
Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition [More...]
"We've reissued Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition to shine a light on the Koch Brothers. We’re now delving even deeper into where their money is going, who their money is hurting, and how much they are making during this whole process leading up to the 2014 Elections." (An hour-long film.)
Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine [More...]
An index and a short video detailing the enormous funding of climate denialism by the Koch brothers through a huge network of front groups..
Koch's Anger Translator
Charles Koch wrote a ludicrous screed in the Wall Street Journal, a stand on dignity to excuse decades of plutocratic meddling in politics. A pseudonymous commenter "Mr." served as Anger Translator at Noahpinion.
Little Nemo in Slumberland: The Voyage to Mars [More...]
Mars is entirely the property of plutocrat B. Gosh, including the air, sunlight and even words. Widely considered to most amazing artistry ever in comics. The Mars visit extends from 4/24/1910 to 8/14/1910.
Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian Movement [More...]
William Volker, alias "Mr. Anonymous", was one of the first major plutocratic funders of what has developed into libertarianism. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent on this centrally planned propaganda blitz over 60+ years.
Neoreaction (4 links)
The cult-like "Dark Enlightenment" movement whose developing ideology includes racism (coded as "human biodiversity"), men's rights, anti-democratic monarchism, libertarian adoration of plutocrats, technological utopianism, secret mummery (with handshakes, initiations, and plenty of code words!) Another Scientology is aborning.
On the Wrong Side of Globalization [More...]
Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership would make our problems worse. "Huge multinational corporations complain that inconsistent regulations make business costly. But most of the regulations, even if they are imperfect, are there for a reason: to protect workers, consumers, the economy and the environment."
Paul Ryan, American Values and Corporatocracy [More...]
"Ryan calls the mixed economy anti-American. History, however, shows otherwise... My views in The Price of Civilization run to the very idea of America: a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people, not a government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations."
Robber Baron Recessions [More...]
The virtual end of antitrust enforcement which began under Ronald Reagan seems to have brought about secular stagnation. "For we aren’t just living in a second Gilded Age, we’re also living in a second robber baron era."
Scholar Behind Viral 'Oligarchy' Study Tells You What It Means [More...]
"A new political science study that's gone viral finds that majority-rule democracy exists only in theory in the United States -- not so much in practice."
Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty (book)
The first biography of the 4 Koch brothers and their rise to billionaire plutocracy. Explains the interlocking system of domination of the political apparatus by Charles and David.
Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Pollutocrat Kochs [More...]
"A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene. Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance."
Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy [More...]
A summary of the important findings of Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page's study. "In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power."
Sympathy for the Trustafarians [More...]
Paul Krugman ridicules Greg Mankiw for arguments defending plutocracy by ignoring opportunity costs and undermining of democracy.
Tax Filings Hint at Extent of Koch Brothers’ Reach [More...]
Charles and David Koch controlled hundreds of millions of dollars of tax-deductable corporate political donations through their Freedom Partners group for the 2012 elections. "That rivals or exceeds the annual budgets of the largest advocacy groups in the nation, like the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce." Plutocracy on the rise!
Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens [More...]
A hugely important study showing that: "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."
The 85 Richest People On The Planet Now Have As Much Money As The Poorest 3.5 Billion [More...]
“The only way we will improve the lot of the poor, stabilize the middle class, and protect our democracy is by requiring the rich to pay more of the cost of governing the country that enables their huge accretion of wealth."
The Billionaires Tea Party Documentary [More...]
Behind the Tea Party movement’s rhetoric of ‘freedom’ versus ‘socialism’ lies a highly co-ordinated network of shadow groups, funded by the likes of billionaire ideologues Charles and David Koch.
The Brothers Koch: Family Drama and Disdain for Democracy [More...]
For the Kochs, buying our democracy, and maybe killing it is pure self-interest. A favorable review of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty.
The Koch 130: How the billionaire brothers have spread their web of influence across every sector of American society. [More...]
"This project, an effort to track the breadth of the Kochs' philanthropic influence, builds on several years of reporting, news stories, as well as data from tax filings and the organizations' websites."
The Making of the Kochtopus: How the billionaire brothers built a political network that rivals the GOP itself. [More...]
"The brothers' representatives often go out of their way to minimize their role in the politics outfits they fund. They also insist that there is an arm's length relationship between Koch Industries and the brothers' political endeavors. But past and present Koch employees occupy key roles in the political organizations, and, before Freedom Partners assumed this responsibility, it was Koch Industries that organized the famous biannual donor conferences where tens of millions are raised to influence politics."
The Real "Takers" in America: The Unproductive, Rent-Extracting Rich [More...]
"To counter the domination of America’s rentier oligarchs, we need an Anti-Rentier campaign that would unite unlikely groups: owners of productive businesses as well as workers, populist conservatives and liberal reformers."
Trickle-Up Economics [More...]
A review of Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", which demonstrates why growing inequality is inevitable under policies sponsored by libertarians and the rest of the plutocratic right.
Understanding and Overcoming America's Plutocracy [More...]
"This was the billionaires' election, billionaires of both parties... The political system is actually relatively united and working very effectively for the richest of the rich."
Vergara vs. California: Are the top 0.1% buying their version of education reform? [More...]
"In case after case, theories and approaches favored by a handful of very wealthy individuals received preferential treatment in the education debate. You cannot call that a democratic process."
We must still hate our kids: Philadelphia and “education reformers” fight demented war on elementary schools [More...]
"No nurses, few textbooks, closed libraries: Money to urban schools is being starved, intentionally. It's just wrong." Plutocratically driven education reform is making our schools worse.
What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It? [More...]
Phil Agre explains: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy. Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world. The aristocracy libertarians support is plutocratic/corporate.
Who Are the Koch Brothers and What Do They Want? [More...]
Senator Bernie Sanders explains "how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right" over the past 34 years. "Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers."
Why we talk about the Kochs [More...]
"The Kochs threaten to destroy American democracy, regardless of their views. And, as it happens, their extreme and self-interested positions are taking over the Republican Party."

Quotations

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays (1928), Chapter 13
People seem to be faintly drawn to the idea that there might be more political dimensions than just "left" and "right". Bullshit. Being in favour of allowing other people to take drugs, shag each other or read what they want isn't a political position; it's what we call "manners", "civilisation" or "humanity", depending on the calibre of yokel you're trying to educate. The political question of interest splits fair and square down a Left/Right axis: either you think that it is more important to provide a decent life for everyone in the world, or you think it is more important to preserve the rights of people who own property. You can hum and haw as much as you like about whether the two are necessarily incompatible, or whether the one is instrumental to the other, or what constitutes a "decent life" anyway, but when you've finished humming and hawing, I'm still gonna be asking you the question, and your answer to it will determine whether or not we're gonna have an argument.
Daniel Davies, http://d-squareddigest.blogspot.com, December 31, 2002
Libertarians always insist that they are defending a philosophy of freedom, but what they are in fact defending is the freedom of a few to maintain their status privileges. The rest of us, without money or votes, always tend to remain distinctly unfree.
Nathan Robinson, "Democracy: Probably a Good Thing"
In primitive societies, people can accumulate only as much stuff as they can physically gather and hold on to. It's only in "advanced" societies that the state provides the means to socioeconomic domination by a tiny minority. "The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other," the writer John Berger said about the 20th century, though he might equally have said it of this one: "It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich."
Amia Srinivasan, "Dependents of the State"
"Let the Market Decide" Always Means "Let Rich People Decide."
Dale Carrico, "Dispatches from Libertopia: An Anthology of Wingnut Chestnuts and Democratizing Remedies"
… Libertarians’ delight in considering themselves rough-and-tumble, independent thinkers. I can’t help noticing however, that their fierce independent thinking often matches perfectly with powerful business and corporate interests.
John Jackson, "Frank Chodorov: Scrappy Libertarian, Crappy Oracle"
The key to understanding this, and to understanding Libertarianism itself, is to realize that their concept of individual freedom is the "whopper" of "right to have the State back up business". That's a wild definition of freedom.
Seth Finkelstein, "Libertarianism Makes You Stupid"
The invisible hand of the market makes a very good pickpocket.
Mike Huben
Tens, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of books, hundreds of journals, dozens of universities, tens of thousands of people and thousands of professorships, and so on in a network touching virtually everyone in the "Western Democracies" -- all of it centrally planned, all of it subsidized, none of it capable of existing by itself in the commercial marketplace or in the "marketplace of ideas" and all of it failing dozens of times until hooked into the river of cash produced by the simple subsidies of the rich designed to derail the "free" evolution of ideas as they were actually proceeding... is there any such example in all of human history of a "movement" so far at odds with its own self-proclaimed "principles"?
Anaxarchos (pseudonym), "Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian Movement"
To use one of Ayn Rand’s favorite words, this country is infested with looters: only they’re not the poor, they’re not the mythical “welfare queens”, they’re bankers and obscenely overpaid executives and corporations that demand the right to buy elections. And there stand the libertarians, the useful idiots who cheer them on.
PZ Myers, "So I invented a new law the other day"
No one ever considers the Carnegie libraries steeped in the blood of the Homestead Steel workers, but they are. We do not remember that the Rockefeller Foundation is founded on the dead miners of the Colorado Fuel Company and a dozen other performances. We worship Mammon....
Senator Harry Truman, speech to senate, December 20, 1937.
What’s curious is that conservative economists are well aware of the danger of “regulatory capture”, in which public institutions are hijacked by vested interests, yet blithely dismiss (or refuse even to mention) the essentially equivalent problem of democratic institutions hijacked by concentrated wealth. I take regulatory capture quite seriously; but I take plutocratic capture equally seriously.
Paul Krugman, "Sympathy for the Trustafarians"
There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, in "The 85 Richest People On The Planet Now Have As Much Money As The Poorest 3.5 Billion"
I wouldn't confuse conservative libertarianism with a genuine philosophy, open to considering reasoned objections. Bryan Caplan is a libertarian, because that's his job! It is a completely synthetic ideology, deliberately manufactured by a cadre of full-time professionals. And, I don't think their employers intend to make the masses any smarter about the economy or society. In short, libertarians are a product of increasing inequality; of course, they are in favor of increasing inequality, and would prefer that no one draw attention to its deleterious effects; libertarianism is one of increasing inequality's deleterious effects!
Bruce Wilder, "The libertarian solution to inequality"
As with much libertarian posturing what they say and how they act are two different things. The libertarians are owned (whether they know it or not) by a group of super wealthy capitalists (Scaife, Koch, Walton, Coors, Mars, etc.). They get their ideologically motivated followers to spew things about "free" markets and maximizing profits, but all this is a cover for their true agenda -- making them even richer.
Robert Feinman, commenting in "What obligation? Maximise what?"