Oligarchs versus billionaires.
An interesting point made by Pauline Cornelisse.
No billionaire wants to be called an oligarch.
They love to be famous for their “generosity”.
But most oligarchs are proud billionaires.
Like oligarchs, billionaires are also powerful, influential, connected, big donors to political parties.
A handful billionaires own more wealth than owned by majority of the entire world’s population.
Everything can be bought. It is just a question of price.
Their lobbies impact policies. They know how to avoid taxes.
But why aren’t they called oligarchs?
Wikipedia describes oligarchy as “a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people.
Oligarchy according to Cambridge dictionary: “A small group of powerful people who control a country or anindustry”.
It doesn’t apply to our billionaires because oligarchy has negative connotations. Let’s keep it for other countries.
A billionaire according Cambridge dictionary: “A person who has money property, etc. that is worth at least one billion dollars, pounds, euros, etc.” – Nothing more, nothing less. Brilliant.
Most definitions and examples relate oligarchy to Russia. A western billionaire is simply a guy with a billion dollars!
George Bernard Shaw spoke of “the intellectual oligarchy” that acts against the interests of the common people.
The exclusive consolidation of power by a dominant religious or ethnic group has also been described as a form of oligarchy.
Wikipedia further states: “The modern United States has also been described as an oligarchy because some literature has shown that economic elites and organized groups representing special interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence”.
Possibly not very billionaire is an oligarch and not every oligarch is a billionaire.
But the difference between the two is clear.
Our billionaires are philanthropes with money.
And the Russian billionaires are oligarchs.