May 10, 2010
Ask the average person what form of government we have in the United States and they would most likely say a Democracy. Others might say it’s a Republic. And depending on personal interpretations, they’d both be right. But without those and / or biases injected, probably most accurate is Republic. And rule by a Republic form of government wouldn’t be bad except for two things: Greed and money.
In a nutshell:
Democracy: Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
Republic: A state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.
Close, but different. In the first, the people are allowed to govern by mob rule if desired. The second is when the people elect someone to speak in their favor and do their biding for them. Unfortunately, the latter has not produce the results the majority desire in today’s America.
Plutonomy: Ooooops! No official definition — but it exist. And this is it: An economy that is significantly influenced by the very wealthy; “significantly” being the key word. The Investopedia definition:
Economic growth that is powered and consumed by the wealthiest upper class of society. Plutonomy refers to a society where the majority of the wealth is controlled by an ever-shrinking minority; as such, the economic growth of that society becomes dependent on the fortunes of that same wealthy minority.
Notice the “consumed by the wealthiest upper class of society”.
From 1st Timothy, Chapter 6 of the King James Version of the Bible:
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
This was written by Paul to Timothy between AD 62 and 66. Timothy was overseeing the work of churches at the time and Paul wanted to warn Timothy about the potential evils of money. Paul would go totally berserk today if he were alive and saw what money was doing to the world, especially here in America where the evil of money has reached its pinnacle.
Bill Moyer’s point of view:
Bill Moyer may be best known by his association with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Moyer left PBS earlier this month to retire — maybe. In his exit broadcast, Moyer said “plutocracy and democracy don’t mix” (video below). His words: “Plutocracy, the rule of the rich, political power controlled by the wealthy.”
But what Moyer’s talked about the most was Plutonomy — a word coined by Citigroup. And he referenced a report by Citigroup published back in 2005: “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances”. Moyer’s refines Citigroup’s definition: “An economic system where the privileged few make sure the rich get richer with government on their side.”
As Moyer’s points out, Citigroup followed up just a few months later, in 2006, with “Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer.” Moyer’s cited some excerpts from that document.
“Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper…[and] take an increasing share of income and wealth over the last 20 years…”
“…the top 10%, particularly the top 1% of the U.S. – the plutonomists in our parlance – have benefited disproportionately from the recent productivity surge in the U.S. …[and] from globalization and the productivity boom, at the relative expense of labor.”
“…[and they] are likely to get even wealthier in the coming years. [Because] the dynamics of plutonomy are still intact.”
Yep! That from the same Citigroup that required $46 billion from taxpayers in 2008 just to stay alive. (The government has originally set aside $220.4 billion for them.) But that $46 billion was in TARP money. It doesn’t include the tens, maybe hundreds, of billions the Federal Reserve has (secretly) handed over to them virtually interest free.
Moyer is a declared Democrat. But he gives them no slack in his final report.
And so they were, before the great collapse of 2008. And so they are, today, after the fall. While millions of people have lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings, the plutonomists are doing just fine. In some cases, even better, thanks to our bailout of the big banks which meant record profits and record bonuses for Wall Street.
Now why is this? Because over the past 30 years the plutocrats, or plutonomists — choose your poison — have used their vastly increased wealth to capture the flag and assure the government does their bidding. Remember that Citigroup reference to “market-friendly governments” on their side? It hasn’t mattered which party has been in power — government has done Wall Street’s bidding.
Notice the time frame that Moyer’s quotes — “the past 30 years”. And what began 30 years ago? The era of the Reaganites, followed up by Bush I then Bush II — Wall Streets bestest friends ever. And now Wall Street has their claws deeply embedded in the modern-day Democrat politicians.
Don’t blame the lobbyists, by the way; they are simply the mules of politics, delivering the drug of choice to a political class addicted to cash — what polite circles call “campaign contributions” and Tony Soprano would call “protection.”
In closing, Moyer’s says “democracy only works when we claim it as our own.” But we won’t do that; because more important to us is following the lead of our preferred political party and their PR networks — fighting each other. In the meantime Wall Street and the wealthy are running away with our hard earned dollars, and the future of our children and grandchildren. And when it’s all over, our country will lay in ruins just as past failed plutocracies.