Webster Tarpley - Oligarchy: The Cancer in Human History







Oligarchy is a form of government where most political power effectively rests with a small segment of society (typically the most powerful, whether by wealth, military strength, ruthlessness, or political influence). The word oligarchy is from the Greek for "few" and "rule". Some political theorists have argued that all societies are inevitably oligarchies no matter the supposed political system. Oligarchy is a government by the rich for the rich. Oligarchies are often controlled by a few powerful families whose children are raised and mentored to become inheritors of the power of the oligarchy, often at some sort of expense to those governed. In contrast to aristocracy ("government by the 'best'"), this power may not always be exercised openly, the oligarchs preferring to remain "the power behind the throne", exerting control through economic means. Although Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged cadre. It has also been suggested that most communist states fit the definition of oligarchy. A plutocracy is a government system where wealth is the principal basis of power (from the Greek ploutos meaning wealth). The term plutocracy is generally used to describe two unrelated phenomena. In writings about history, plutocracy is the political control of the state by an oligarchy of the wealthy. Examples of such plutocracy include some city-states in Ancient Greece and the Italian merchant republics of Venice, Florence, and Genoa. Plutocracies typically emerge as one of the first governing systems within a territory after a period of anarchy. Plutocracy is closely related to aristocracy as a form of government, as generally wealth and high social status have been closely associated throughout history.




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