For a couple of years now I've been writing and speaking about the growing danger of losing American democracy to a plutocracy or oligarchy. In our country the words are interchangeable. Oligarchy means rule by the few over the many. Plutocracy means rule by the rich. In America, political power is more and more defined by wealth.
We now have scientific evidence from one of the world's greatest economists that what we fear is happening. The world's first and once greatest democracy is being destroyed by the unbelievably rich.
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times:
"America’s nascent oligarchy may not yet be fully formed — but one of our two main political parties already seems committed to defending the oligarchy’s interests. Despite the frantic efforts of some Republicans to pretend otherwise, most people realize that today’s G.O.P. favors the interests of the rich over those of ordinary families... the dominance of wealth over work — is what patrimonial capitalism is all about."Krugman cites the great French economist Thomas Piketty saying we're on our way back to, "patrimonial capitalism, in which the commanding heights of the economy are dominated not just by wealth, but also by inherited wealth, in which birth matters more than effort and talent."
So much for the American myth that we can all move up, that if we work hard enough or are talented enough there is a place at the top for any of us. The radical right wants us all to believe that we have the same interests. America is a class society. And the rich are waging class war on the rest of us. Though it may sound outdated, if we don't throw ourselves into this class war we will lose our democracy.