What is a Plutocracy

In simple words, ‘Plutocracy’, can be termed to be a form of Governance wherein the wealthy section of the society exercises control over the political process in the country. Plutocracy was the most common form of Government in the olden times in most western empires and rich states in Asia. In this form of Government, power lies in the hand of the wealthy and they influence the developmental process within the country. The origin of the term, ‘Plutocracy’, is from the Greek words ‘Ploutos’ (wealth) and ‘kratos’, meaning govern. Though Plutocracy is not so widely prevalent in the present day society, there are examples in many countries wherein the political process is influenced heavily by the wealthy sections of the society.

Some of the major features of a plutocratic form of Government are economic disparity, unequal rights, social immobility and discrimination against the poor sections of the society. The form of Government, ‘oligarchy’ is said to have close resemblance with plutocracy since power lies in the hands of one influential group in both cases. In a plutocracy, since all the policies of the Government are decided by only the wealthy sections of the society and the weaker sections do not have a say in the formulation of policies, the policies are directed towards ensuring that the wealthy sections are benefited in all possible manners. The interests of the other sections of the society are not taken into account, thereby, worsening their economic condition.

It would be worth noting here that since wealthy people in power always wish to keep power and wealth among themselves, they ensure to weaken the other classes of the society by formulating policies that are against them. Thus, a plutocratic form of Government leads to a situation wherein the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The rights enjoyed by the weaker sections are limited. In most countries where plutocracy was the form of Governance, the electoral system was unique too, with the right to vote given to only privileged sections of the society. Thus, this further worsened the plight of other strata of the society as they had no say at all in Governance.

In such economies, the wealthy sections got married among themselves to ensure that the wealth did not go into the lower class. Thus, it goes without saying that this form of Governance laid the foundation for the rise of racism and ill treatment of the poor sections within the society. Some experts are of the opinion that plutocracy is prevalent in many capitalist economies of the present day, where the economic policies of the country favor them, leading to the downfall of the other classes.

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