07 March 2012

More On Wealth Inequality

From Vox Day:

However, both works share the same recognition of the intrinsically flawed nature of the three primary forms of government: monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. They also recognize the way these forms tend to degrade over time and transform into the others. Both Plato and Cicero are fundamentally skeptical about democracy, as Plato sees as the second-worst form of government leading eventually to demagogic tyranny as liberty devolves into license, whereas Cicero instead observes it as a prelude to aristocracy. [Emphasis added.]

I noted in a prior post that wide margins of wealth inequality should be viewed with suspicion.  I now think, in light of Vox’s comments, that prolonged occurrences of radical inequality serve as evidence of a coming aristocracy.

Simply put, the elites will use their wealth and power to manipulate the political process for their own profit.  As wealth inequality increases, the number of people excluded from controlling the political process increases, until there are only the wealthy elites who, practically speaking, control the political system, which is a de facto aristocracy.


  1. Hmmm, I don't know. It seems that the 20th century always had its aristocracy - think Rockefeller family (among others), FDR, Kennedys, and others not as public, but the wealth inequality waxed and waned over the century. Going into the late 1920's and Great Depression, there was a large wealth gap which decreased after WWII. Perhaps it's their motives and morals which have changed? They've gone from "what's good for the nation and the lower classes is good for me" to "let me grab as much as I can, the rest be damned."

  2. One of Burke's primary thesis was that hereditary aristocracy was good for a nation since they had a longer term view than just grabbing what they could. They went to special pains to prepare their children to follow after them and to be more than just decadent consumers of the wealth their parents had created. But what is the foundation of morality when the aristocracy reject Christianity and embrace hedonism?

    Certainly, the Chicago school of government is all about grabbing what they can. I would not want to be a member of the White house Staff that has to account for the national treasures when teh Obama's finally move out. I suspect there will be a whole lot of suvenier taking.

  3. @Carnivore- I'm not saying we've never seen any type of aristocracy before. I'm simply asserting that we will eventually see a very concentrated naked aristocracy in the future. (My definition of aristocracy is likely more stringent than yours.)

    @Prof. Hale- I think that Burke makes some good points regarding hereditary aristocracy, but that's not what we're facing today. What we're facing is aristocracy via apatocracy.