The word oligarchy comes from the Greek words for “few” and “rule.” An oligarchy is a society in which a few people have a lot of power.
This group of people could be defined in different ways, such as by their economic status, family ties, race, or religion. There are several types of oligarchies. An aristocracy is a type where the nobles rule. A plutocracy is a type where the wealthy rule. And a technocracy is a type where experts or educated people rule. In an oligarchy, the wealthy privileged class controls most of the resources and decision-making power while the majority of the population has little to no say in how the country is run.
Prominent oligarchies in the world today include Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China. The United States is not an oligarchy in the same sense as these countries, but some aspects of our society could be considered oligarchic. For example, the top 1% of earners in the US control 42% of the wealth. That means that just a small group of people have a large amount of money and power. This concentration of wealth and power can make it difficult for regular people to get ahead or have a say in how the country is run. Some argue that our society is an oligarchy disguised as a democracy.
While oligarchic societies may have different structures, they all have one thing in common: the wealthy privileged class has a disproportionate amount of power. This power imbalance can have harmful consequences for community wealth-building efforts. The wealthy get richer while the poor get poorer. This increases division within society and can make it difficult for people to come together and work towards common goals.
In an oligarchy, the wealthy have the resources to buy political influence and pass laws that benefit them at the expense of the rest of society. For example, they may pass laws that lower taxes on the wealthy or make it harder for workers to unionize. They may also use their influence to prevent regulations that would level the playing field or protect the environment.
Concentrations of wealth and power can also lead to corruption. In an oligarchy, the wealthy can buy their way into positions of influence and use their power to further enrich themselves. This can create a vicious cycle where the wealthy use their influence to get richer while the poor get left behind. This can make it difficult for people of modest means to get ahead or have a say in how their community is run.
The unequal distribution of resources and power in oligarchic societies can have harmful consequences for community wealth-building efforts. To build community wealth, we need to level the playing field and create opportunities for everyone to participate. We need to ensure that everyone has a voice in decision-making and that the resources of our community are used for the benefit of all.