Plutocracy – Definition

Cite this article as:"Plutocracy – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 2, 2019, last accessed October 20, 2020,


Plutocracy Definition

Plutocracy is a government which the wealthy control exclusively either directly or indirectly. A plutocracy permits, either by circumstance or openly, only the wealthy to rule. This can then bring about policies designed to help the wealthy, which is portrayed in its name (originates from the Greek words “ploutos” or wealthy, and “kratos” – ruling, power).

A Little More on What is a Plutocracy

A plutocracy does not have to be a purposeful, open format for government. Instead, it can be created via allowing process to specific programs, as well as, educational resources only to the wealthy and makes it such that the wealthy have more authority. The concern of unintentionally creating a plutocracy is that the focus of regulation would be narrow and centered on the objective of the wealthy, generating more income, as well as, asset-based inequality.

Modern Usage

According to President Theodore Roosevelt’s writing in his autobiography, of all tyranny forms, the least attractive, as well as, the most offensive is the tyranny of mere wealth, a plutocracy’s tyranny. Roosevelt wrote this when the wealthy paid small or no income tax and they could afford summer homes in Newport making the White House look ragged.

Although various people discuss the widening gap existing between the rich and poor in the U.S., plutocracy is more of a concept than it is a governing model in any modern country. That is true even in a country controlled by billionaire and also by a Congress with a total wealth Roll Call of at least $2.43 billion. This had 20% more than the previous Congress’ total riches.

However, there are many regular individuals in Congress, sleeping in their offices just because they cannot afford the exorbitant rents in the Capital, including paying for accommodation in their home district.

An argument can be made that the 115th Congress specifically tends towards plutocracy, with tax cuts aimed at the rich and eliminating rules and regulations considered to hinder both business and profits.

A plutocracy refers to a rule system by wealthy individuals, which explains our situation in the U.S. more precisely than the term democracy. According to author David Korten, “we’ve been an Empire riled as a plutocracy since our founding.”

Northwestern University Prof. Benjamin and Princeton University’s Prof. Martin Gilens I Page in a study concluded that “Multivariate analysis shows that economic elites, as well as, organized groups representing business interests have major independent effects on United States government policy, while average citizens, as well as, mass-based interest groups have minimal or no independent influence.

References for “Plutocracy › Insights › Politics & Money

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