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By Jeffrey A. Winters

For hundreds of years, oligarchs have been seen as empowered via wealth, an idea muddled by way of elite idea early within the 20th century. the typical thread for oligarchs throughout background is that wealth defines them, empowers them, and inherently exposes them to threats. The existential cause of all oligarchs is wealth safeguard. How they reply varies with the threats they confront, together with how without delay concerned they're in providing the coercion underlying all estate claims, and whether or not they act individually or jointly. those diversifications yield 4 forms of oligarchy: warring, ruling, sultanistic, and civil. Oligarchy isn't displaced by means of democracy yet relatively is fused with it. furthermore, the guideline of legislations challenge in lots of societies is an issue of taming oligarchs. situations studied during this e-book contain the us, historic Athens and Rome, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, medieval Venice and Siena, mafia commissions within the usa and Italy, feuding Appalachian households, and early chiefs cum oligarchs relationship from 2300 BCE.

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The “revolving door” from, say, senator to corporate board member can maintain an impressively high power profile for an actor, but it is one that is nevertheless interrupted by the shift from the powers of one office or position to the powers of another. Moreover, although such power-maintaining moves are common, they are not assured. 16 Oligarchy great sacrifices). These actors derive their extraordinary individual power from their capacity to activate the latent political power of others. Mobilizational power also refers to the often sharp change in the individual power profiles of actors who are in a state of mobilization for a given period.

The sections that follow develop these arguments. A key point of departure is that significant material inequalities in society produce frictions and conflicts. There are many ways these inequalities can be manifested. One ethnic or religious group might be dramatically richer than others might be, or the disparities might be regional. We enter the realm of oligarchs and oligarchy when the inequalities in question position a small number of rich actors against the masses that are much poorer (and, under certain circumstances, position oligarchs against each other).

Yet, they can use their personal charisma, status, bravery, words, or ideas to mobilize masses of otherwise powerless individuals into formidable social and political forces. On a lesser scale, writers, media figures, commentators, scholars, celebrities, and agitators can also sway significant numbers of people. Examples of major figures with high concentrations of mobilizational power abound in history. Mohandas Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, Martin Luther King, and Vaclav Havel all possessed high individual capacities to mobilize others.

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