Stop Calling Them Billionaires - They're Oligarchs
The mega-rich own America, full stop.
I discovered a wonderful new app this week.
It’s called the Billionaire-to-Oligarch Replacer.
It’s a browser extension that automatically substitutes the word “oligarch” for every time “billionaire” is mentioned on the Internet.
They’re the same thing in America, so we might as well use the right terminology.
Now all we need is for the hacker group Anonymous to make this the default setting on every computer on earth.
Pretty soon, people would begin to wake up and realize what some of us have been saying for years:
America is an oligarchy.
The absurdity of $1,000,000,000.00
It is nearly impossible to “earn” a billion dollars.
If someone earned $100 per hour — more than enough for anyone to live in luxurious comfort — in order to truly earn a billion dollars, they’d have to work 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for five thousand years.
So how is a billion dollars actually amassed?
By skimming a profit off the backs of untold others:
off the workers they employ
off the suppliers they squeeze
off the carcasses of the competitors they destroy with monopoly
off the planet they unsustainably extract from
off the governments from which they gain subsidies and advantages
off the stable societies they sell to while evading taxation
off the democracies whose rules they change at will
off the shareholders they dupe
How is the ability to skim achieved? Through unfair advantage and privilege.
Pretty much the only person in the past twenty years who has actually earned a billion dollars is the much-maligned J.K. Rowling — and she paid half of it in taxes and then started a charity that single-handedly turned around the orphan crisis in Europe’s poorest nation. (I interviewed her CEO for my documentary on human trafficking.)
It’s one thing to build a company where everyone receives 100% of the value they create, but that’s not what oligarchs do. They weaponize capital, bleeding investor money for years while they destroy their competition with financialization, and once they have a monopoly on their industry, they get into politics and overthrow whatever semblance of “representative” “democracy” there is left.
By the people, for the people?
America is a dictionary-definition oligarchy.
Anyone who tells you it is a democracy is an unserious person.
Democracy comes from the Greek dēmokratiā, meaning “rule of the people.”
Is America ruled by the people?
(Seriously, get your head checked if you somehow still think it is.)
A democracy is a nation where every single citizen gets one equal vote.
No nation on earth has ever tried democracy or anything close.
Oligarchy comes from the Greek oligarkhía, meaning “rule by the few.” (Or you can go with Aristotle’s tweaked definition: “Rule by the rich.”)
Doesn’t this sound more like America?
America is a nation rife with election abuses, gerrymandering, unlimited campaign dark money finance, where Presidents get to issue executive orders, where Mitch McConnell single-handedly gets to decide who is selected for the Supreme Court, where corporations decide which parties and which politicians get to sit in Congress, and oligarchs make the laws despite overwhelming opposition from the masses.
Please stop deluding yourself.
Rush through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — and come to terms with reality:
America is an oligarchy.
It doesn’t help to keep lying to yourself.
Just look at the numbers
The top fifty American oligarchs personally possess more wealth than the bottom 135,000,000 citizens.
The top two oligarchs — Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk — now control more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans combined.
And that’s just money.
This doesn’t even take into account their political power.
Oligarchs own the Democrat and Republican parties.
Oligarchs own the media, ensuring a third party is unthinkable.
Oligarchs spent a record $3.7 billion on bribing Congress last year.
The “health”“care” industry invested more than $100 million to keep the current anti-human system because it makes them billions.
Uber and Lyft invested $200+ million to strip their employees of worker’s rights.
Like John D. Rockefeller in his era, Jeff Bezos is the world’s most dangerous politician in ours:
He bought the Washington Post and Business Insider, just as Rockefeller bought and funded the trade journals of his day.
He moved to Washington to join the social circles of power, just as Rockefeller moved from Cleveland to New York as his company grew.
His lawyers are some of the best in the world, crushing all comers as did Rockefeller’s when he hired legendary lawmen like Samuel Calvin Tate Dodd and Joseph Hodges Choate.
Buying control of fake democracies is the best money an oligarch can spend.
How do we rid the nation of oligarchs?
Legislation won’t work because they own Congress.
Violence won’t work because they own the military.
The third option is to defund predator companies themselves. This is extremely hard to do when they’re the only option because they’ve bankrupted or bought out all the other brands.
The reality is that most of us are co-conspirators in the rise of Jeff Bezos and oligarchs like him, in the same way that earlier Americans had to warm their houses with Standard Oil because Rockefeller controlled 90% of the market.
This is why the future needs to be local.
Perhaps the only thing that can depose the global corporatocracy is sustained radical economic resistance, including:
The mass adoption of cooperative business models.
A global boycott of predator companies.
City-level laws that protect individuals, small businesses, and local democracy from the assaults of multinational conglomerates.
A mass tax strike.
In all likelihood, we may have already reached escape velocity — there may very well be no way to stop oligarchs from destroying government and consuming the planet. In fact, that’s almost certainly part of their long-term master plan.
But maybe there’s still hope.
If so, our first step is to help the sheeple to understand they live in an oligarchy.
So download the Billionaire-to-Oligarch Replacer for yourself, and spread the word: