Plutocracy destroys democratic values – Editorial Two

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Issue 427, November 15, 2019

There are fears that uncontrolled pouring of wealth into politics through political parties would not only breed unhealthy practices but desecrate democratic values.

Plutocracy is a society or a system ruled and dominated by a small minority of the wealthiest. As the UN University said, the rich have always been powerful; some element of plutocracy has been present in all societies.

Throughout the world, political pundits and economic thinkers are increasingly subscribing to the view that plutocracy can be as bad as oligopolies and cite America as the best or worst example of both.

Writing in the latest issue of Transparency International (see our Businesslink), Maria Armoudian and Timothy Kuhner have said that New Zealand must not be allowed to follow the American-led down the path of greater inequality and plutocratic governance.

“This small and distinguished country has a long history of standing up for democratic participation, an egalitarian ethos, and fair play. But we face some of the same threats that are unravelling the United States’ democratic representation,” they said.

The lobbying industry is almost entirely unregulated as Bryce Edwards has found and as Stuff reported, political fundraising of National, Labour, and New Zealand First Parties is unacceptably opaque.

According to the UN University, the degree of control being exercised now, the number of ultra-rich essentially buying political power, the nearly impossible persistence required to overcome the legal, public relations, and technical resources controlled by corporations and the richest individuals ,the much denser concentration of wealth in even the largest countries and the global nature of the resources, power, and connections being accumulated have combined to foreclose meaningful democratic options and space for a life independent of the materialistic values of the plutocracy.

While it is important to have wealth creators and promote private enterprise, unchecked flow of money into political parties carries the risk of unpleasant consequences.

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