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oligarchy, oligarch

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oligarchy, oligarch

Postby bnjtokyo » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:36 am

1. Government by the few, 2. those making up such a faction, 3. a state governed by such a faction. An "oligarch" is a member of an oligarchy. Currently "oligarch" refers to an individual whose substantial funds allow that individual to influence governmental actions in a manner that increases those already substantial funds.

"Oligarchy" was first used in English at around 1600 and is derived from Greek "olig," "few, little" (from PIE "leig," "poor") + "-arch" referring to "ruler, leader" such seen in "matriarch" from Middle English "-arche" from Old French, from Late Latin "-arches" (the "e" has a macron over it), from Greek "-arkes" again with a macron on the "e"), from "arkhos" ruler, from "arkhein" "to rule" from PIE "arkhein" "to begin, rule, command." Seen in "archives," "autarchy" and perhaps "archiphoneme."
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Re: oligarchy, oligarch

Postby Slava » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:05 am

Rather coincidentally, Gail Collins at the NYT had a column on this just the other day.

It includes this line: “Oligarch” sounds more interesting than “superrich person with undue political influence.” Much like bnjtokyo's definition.
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Re: oligarchy, oligarch

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:19 pm

Gail Is frequently hilarious. From time to time she and David Brooks have a conversation separately marked in the New York Times. Informative and always funny.
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Re: oligarchy, oligarch

Postby Slava » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:23 pm

Collins has an RSS feed available, so you never have to miss any of her work. I prefer her own columns to The Conversation, though. I've rather soured on Brooks lately.
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Re: oligarchy, oligarch

Postby bnjtokyo » Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:42 pm

Not coincidentally. It was Ms Collin's column that got me wondering about the definition and etymology of "oligarch."
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Re: oligarchy, oligarch

Postby call_copse » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:22 am

Robert Michels said: "Historical evolution mocks all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy." Whilst he later became some kind of fascist, I struggle to find a counter to his iron law of oligarchy, especially in bleaker moments. I hope society will eventually find a way.
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