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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 Though it may sound outdated, if we don't throw ourselves into this class war we will lose our democracy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  please read this whole page: (4+ / 0-)

    America is not home to the world's first democracy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    That being said, I do agree wholly, American democracy is truly giving way to corporate rule.

  •  I'm just finishing a book that explores (6+ / 0-)

    the role of the media in this process of our loss of our democratic government - Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy by Robert McChesney (who you might know from his work with Free Press).

    The media was supposed to be the 4th estate - a non-governmental watchdog that made sure that people knew what the powerful (in government and in business) were doing so we could elect people who would serve the greater public and not just the 1%.

    But our capitalist model demands ever increasing profits from everything it can get its paws on. The past 30 years have seen the wholesale purchase and monetization of every kind of media, and there has been almost no regard for the public service function of journalism.

    It's going to take a true mass movement for us to change direction.  "The only thing that can defeat organized money is organized people, lots of them." The only advantage we have is our numbers and our only hope is that we will mobilize en masse.

    The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any. -Alice Walker

    by LibrErica on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 08:11:49 AM PDT

    •  I certainly Agree! (5+ / 0-)
      It's going to take a true mass movement for us to change direction.  "The only thing that can defeat organized money is organized people, lots of them." The only advantage we have is our numbers and our only hope is that we will mobilize en masse.
      And we must do it united irregardless of party, for the people, and with Truth and balance, calling out the lies and spin with evidence!

      We can do this, I keep this vision

    •  Yes, but think. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StewartAcuff

      There are five tools to power - numbers, intelligence, morality, money, and force. You must use more than one to achieve lasting success.

      Forgive me fo what will look like a right wing rant but I just read another diary which asked, satirically, how many freedoms we have lost through the ACA. The true answer is that we will never count them. The ACA uses false morality (false because its moral goals could be achieved better another way) to acquire money through force. That money will be used against us. Period. And the net result must be negative, or the insurance companies would not have written it. If properly managed we will never see the chain of events, because the losses will not be in health care, but in things like claiming that the ACA is an "Entitlement" or a "special interest subsidy" and therefore an excuse to cut , say, FEMA, or the CDC.

      Yes, I know that the same argument is now being used against Social Security - the fact that it is false is not the point. The fact that it can be made at all makes it practically true (and btw - using the tax code to provide a minimum income is a vastly better idea. In five years we will be debating it, and defenders of Social Security will make moral arguments that will be just as "false" - and they will be just as wrong.)

  •  My take on things is .... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    Local communities have to form their own local governance structures that own their own local infrastructure.  And, each local area needs to create a  local economy based on an alternative currency system.  This system by design compliments the existing system biased on the dollar.

    Some citizens may opt to follow the dollar while other citizens may only live withing the alternative economy. As a working name call it a "dual" system.

    The economy fueled by the dollar is run by the extraction and dump mentality. (Oil & Carbon) The alternative economies are driven by sustainability and closed cycles of re-use of materials. (Sun & Wind)

    I'm working in my community to create a movement to lay the foundation to experiment with a "dual" system. Keep your eye on Vallejo, California. This is the website I'm using to create a system to coordinate the alternative economy and promote sustainability: www.evallejo.org.

    Best,

    JON

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 08:27:30 AM PDT

    •  Jon, I love this and totally agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StewartAcuff

      We no longer have representative government on the federal or state level and often not even on the county or municipal level. The only place we can possibly hope to foster true representation is right under our own feet.

      Efforts like yours for people to own their local economy are literally priceless!

      Citizens claiming their inalienable constitutional rights to self-governance is our only chance of pushing true democracy up through the system  because it sure as hell is not coming down from the top.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 09:23:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bill Moyers on "Capitalism-A Love Story" (4+ / 0-)

    Financial Coup d'état

    MICHAEL MOORE: We're here to get the money back for the American People. Do you think it's too harsh to call what has happened here a coup d'état? A financial coup d'état?

    MARCY KAPTUR: That's, no. Because I think that's what's happened. Um, a financial coup d'état?

    MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah.

    MARCY KAPTUR: I could agree with that. I could agree with that. Because the people here really aren't in charge. Wall Street is in charge.

    http://www.pbs.org/...

    Be the change that you want to see in the world

    by New Minas on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 08:52:13 AM PDT

  •  Downton Abbey, here we come! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LibrErica, StewartAcuff

    Is it any wonder that this show is extremely popular right now? Hell, I love it!

    "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."
    No longer can they say that they have "earned" their wealth. Upward mobility has been largely a myth for many decades but it still persists in those who continue to vote for the corporate party.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 09:17:50 AM PDT

  •  Thx for this great discussion. (0+ / 0-)

    What matters most is that we must have a mass movement.

    @StewartAcuff www.stewartacuff.com

    by StewartAcuff on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 02:15:20 PM PDT

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