Oligarchy: Crime Against Humanity?

The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class: The economic elite have robbed us all. The amount of suffering in the United States of America is literally a crime against humanity.

The above article was written in 2010 and addresses what came after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.  Many would argue that the “Extraordinary Coup” had occurred long before 2008/9.

But the notion that the effects of oligarchy could be a Crime Against Humanity is deserving of deeper exploration.  Is it possible to divorce the effects of oligarchy from oligarchy itself?  Is the very nature of oligarchy a Crime Against Humanity?

I have not done an in depth, scholarly study.  But having read widely and followed politics and world affairs over many years, I think that a good prima fascia case could be made that that is indeed the case.  As far as I can tell, there is a direct relationship between the strength of oligarchy and problems like:

– pollution/environmental destruction;- austerity/poverty/despair;

– social conflict/divisiveness;

– undue control of information/propaganda;

– restriction of civil liberties/militarism;

– the general inhumanity/excesses related to a permanent/semi-permanent overclass and underclass;

– and more.

Although oligarchy is problematic, many believe that oligarchy is an inherent, even necessary, part of capitalism.  It is NOT.  Oligarchy is a political choice, that is promoted and supported by oligarchs and their lackeys.  Given the millions that suffer or die (e.g suicide, toxins, war) from this choice, oligarchy itself – not just certain effects – fits the definition of a Crime Against Humanity (CAH)*.

‘Calling out’ oligarchy as a Crime Against Humanity would elevate the issue in the public’s eyes and spark debate on necessary reforms of tax and campaign finance laws.

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Note: Recognizing oligarchy as a Crime Against Humanity:
(1) doesn’t criminalize wealth. Governments can choose how best to avoid oligarchy. Nevertheless, there doesn’t appear to be any benefit to society when individuals are allowed to amass more than a few hundred million dollars/euro of wealth.

(2) doesn’t imply that all oligarchs or officials in an oligarchical political system are criminals. Only policymakers that enact laws to create or protect an oligarchic system would be subject to criminal prosecution.

(3) Don’t miss Greenspan’s Body Count, which attempts to list the victims of Greenspan’s policies which led to the GFC2008.

UPDATE

There is, I believe, wide acceptance for the notion that oligarchy is inherently exploitive.  This is behind movements for reform such as Lawrence Lessig’s possible run or the Presidency.  IMHO these movements don’t generally make a strong case to a public that is conditioned to see wealth as an absolute good and the wealthy as benefactors.  Hence, the advantages of labeling oligarchy as a Crime Against Humanity.

 

Why a picture of Atlas?

Atlas holds the celestrial spheres so that earth and the heavens are separated.  Likewise, a mythical democracy insulates the oligarchy.

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