Comments on: The causes and consequences of plutocracy Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Bob9999 Thu, 18 Oct 2012 17:44:10 +0000 No group of humans has ever had a society without an “-ocracy” or “-archy” of some kind (except, perhaps in the imaginations of libertarian philosophers). Our historical experience is that some individuals have a greater ability than others to call on available resources. This also appears to be the case (though possibly to a lesser extent) in gorilla and chimpanzee societies, so there may be a basis for believing it to be hard-wired. Indeed, the concept of a “society” suggests an organizing principle. It is difficult to imagine an organizing principle that does not place constraints on the organized, and it is also difficult to imagine an organization of any complexity at all in which the constraints were not differentiated between or among the organized individuals.

So what? Well, it appears to be that we will always have an “-ocracy” or “-archy” of some kind, and it may not always make a lot of difference whether to the average guy what the prefix is. A plutocracy appears to be a type of oligarchy; that is, a society in which access to resources is controlled by a subset of the members of the society. Plutocracy appears to be differentiated from other forms of oligarchy in that the external manifestation of the control over resources takes the form of money. In other forms of oligarchy, such as medieval feudalism or the modern police state, control may be manifested in other ways, such as the use of violence to constrain the behavior of non-members of the control group. Indeed, some people today view the modern concept of obligations of the “State” (whatever that is) as the modern survival of the concept of noblesse oblige, pursuant to which medieval and renaissance oligarchs were viewed as having an obligation to do certain things for the rest of society, in exchange for the oligarchy’s near monopoly on access to resources.

I admit that I wish I had a lot of money, and I also admit that I think the ideal form of government would be an absolute dictatorship with me as the absolute dictator. In the absence of great wealth or such an ideal form of government, however, it is not clear to me that a plutocracy is the worst type of society imaginable. I’d rather have someone shoving a Rolex watch or other luxury goods in my face than have to deal with demands for the exercise of droit du seigneur, etc. by the local strongman.

By: crocodilebobies Thu, 18 Oct 2012 15:23:59 +0000 This might seem out of place, but for every gallon of gasoline burned, 1 gallon of water is created. 26 lbs of oxygen is taken out of the air and 24 lbs of CO2 is created. Plants use 1 gallon of water, 16 lbs of CO2, and sunlight turn into 14 lbs of plant cellulose, 7.4 lbs of oxygen and 3.7lbs of water.

It takes a plant, 4 gallons of water to turn out enough oxygen to replace the oxygen consumed in burning a gallon of gasoline. Every year we consume 16 billion “tonnes” of oxgyen from the air we breathe using fossil fuels world wide per year. I have checked these figures with a PHD in Chemistry, and he felt the chemical equations are correct. A water temperature inversion which kills aquatic life, does happen to air temperature, too. We might find that one day, a sudden cold change in temperature will suffocate large numbers of people. Just a different kind of pollution. Point is, “Rich people will suffocate too.” We need solar and wind power, electric cars as soon as possible.


By: scythe Thu, 18 Oct 2012 07:47:41 +0000 “count on the benevolence of the billionaire to protect the economic mobility of the american middle class”

what a joke – “economic mobility” is a reality distortion field for neo-feudal slavery

the plutocracy is downgrading the us middle class into a foxconn generation,

aka. part-time sweatshops

be grateful for being part of the “big apple”

By: usagadfly Wed, 17 Oct 2012 23:40:04 +0000 It is false to assume that plutocrats have a right to exist, especially in any particular society. Their continued presence is subject to the tolerance of the public. That is why the USA has attracted plutocrats from all around the world. Their home countries are much less submissive to abusive wealth.

All that it takes to deal with the plutocratic class is to take their money and property from them, and then permanently expel them. All wealth is held at the pleasure of the State, and all law is but decree. This is a single sentence summary of the American system as it currently operates. If the public desires, this it can do and in the process sweep away those who wish those rules to only be applied by themselves and not by the people.

The State must at least pretend to be fair.

By: Eericsonjr Wed, 17 Oct 2012 19:04:07 +0000 Last year Freeland wrote that “we need” the super-rich and that today’s plutocrats are mainly self-made. It was a laughable position and it is unclear whether she still maintains it.

I couldn’t find any argument at all in Freeland’s excerpt or this rejoinder.

What, exactly is the thesis?

By: bcrawf Wed, 17 Oct 2012 16:02:23 +0000 Ryan’s remarks and logic become mush in the last couple of paragraphs as he characterizes the establishment of a social safety net as “welfare state”, the top marginal tax rates of the postwar period (our nation’s most prosperous) as “confiscatory”, opines that it is difficult to imagine billionaire money swinging an election — except the present one — and suggests that “a wave of new technologies” might “restore the middle class to health and reduce the concentration of money in politics”.

Ryan’s final sentence can be rephrased as saying that if some new technology does not emerge to magically restore the middle class, the middle class will have to restore itself through political means or leave that to the “benevolence” of billionaires. How such a political development might be brought about by a middle class after the “benevolent” billionaires have sapped it of political power is not indicated by Ryan.

By: Gordon2352 Wed, 17 Oct 2012 14:09:21 +0000 I was intrigued by the title of your article, but “never judge a book by its cover” seems to apply here, since the content is more of tribute to these individuals who have destroyed society before and are busily engaged in doing so again.

What you say is not worth my time to give you a reasoned response, nor could I fashion one that would pass the censorship imposed for anyone telling the truth about these people.