Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/7/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Without moral restraint, plutocrats are building their own scaffold.

An article published in 2011 in Forbes is making the rounds again and people are talking, but despite the dust on the copy, it's a timely conversation. The article by Brendan Coffey reveals that there are four companies that control 147 other companies and those 147 companies control virtually everything. So in other words, control of world markets is quite concentrated.

In the game of plutocracy you start by owing money to the bank and as it progresses, you owe more.

In the game of plutocracy you start by owing money to the bank and as it progresses, you owe more.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/7/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Business & Economics

Keywords: Business, Morals, Revolution, Forbes, Inequality


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Slowly, Americans are waking up to see the nation is slipping further into plutocracy where a few wealthy people manipulate politics and markets to perpetually enrich themselves. This is how free-markets work, but without moral checks on greed, plutocracy emerges and opportunity for the individual evaporates.

This is the simple outline of the problem, and while we can bog ourselves down in minutiae, the bottom line is the same. Plutocrats at the top have become so wealthy and powerful they are beginning to pull the ladder up behind them, leaving millions of Americans without much hope of moving up the social ladder. The American Dream is evaporating as we awaken.

Let's support the spread of morals to counteract greed. Better decisions come from moral education.


That Americans are awakening to this is what makes the article penned by Brendan Coffey in 2011 so timely. According to Coffey, researchers built a digital model of 37 million companies and their connections which surprisingly showed that these millions of companies are controlled by just 147 firms. Those 147 dominant firms are themselves controlled by just four much larger firms.

None of this is engineered deliberately, it's just the product of rich people doing what they do to get richer.

Coffey wrote: "You can see where I'm headed here. That means the real power to control the world lies with four companies: McGraw-Hill, which owns Standard & Poor's, Northwestern Mutual, which owns Russell Investments, the index arm of which runs the benchmark Russell 1,000 and Russell 3,000, CME Group which owns 90% of Dow Jones Indexes, and Barclay's, which took over Lehman Brothers and its Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, the dominant world bond fund index. Together, these four firms dominate the world of indexing. And in turn, that means they hold real sway over the world's money."

Coffey then explains how these companies can manipulate indexes and other indicators which gives them a powerful influence on the world market. You can read his full article here, which in turn links back to others to support his conclusions.

Ultimately, we live in a much more economically homogenous world than we think. Those four companies are dominated by powerful stakeholders creating a power elite that is virtually untouchable.

Conspiracy theorists might be on to something when they claim that most of the world's decisions are made by a small group of perhaps a few dozen men, although there's no active conspiracy going on. Each plutocrat has just one desire, which is to enrich and empower themselves, even at the expense of their fellow billionaires. They are by no means loyal to one another.

But there's much more to this than that. When the elites number in the dozens, and power is concentrated in their hands, it leaves very little in share of voice for the people. This is becoming painfully evident in the United States, a nation which is supposed to be a republic and where people elect representatives to govern themselves. Unfortunately, the entire process is awash in corporate cash and the politicians are bought and owned by their sponsors.

Recent studies have shown that even when corporate will and public will are at odds, it is the corporate will that won legislative battle much more often. Now, elections only offer the illusion of choice as opposed to genuine choice and no matter what the people want or say, the corporate money does all the deciding.

What's most ironic about all this is that for all their wealth and power, the plutocrats are eroding the very foundation of their wealth, which is the middle class. Inequality is rising sharply and the middle class is shrinking. While we can blame President Obama, or the American welfare state, or the rise of tuition, or low minimum wages and so on, these are all red herrings. Even Obama is just a puppet of the elites.

The heart of the problem is that there is no more moral compass which governs decision making on behalf of the plutocrats. Historically, even plutocrats listened to the Church, or their American values when making decisions. Take for example Henry Ford who insisted on paying his workers enough to allow them to buy the cars they built. There are no more Henry Fords today.

Billionaire Nick Hanauer in the current issue of Politico Magazine said as much in his article, "The Pitchforks Are Coming. For Us Plutocrats." As inequality grows and the middle class disappears, the foundation of a stable society erodes, and the likelihood of civil unrest and tectonic economic upheaval grows.

Of course, it's not like the elites don't see this coming-they do, but it's human nature to ignore the threat until it's too late. Consider the first batch of aristocrats beheaded during the French Revolution. If they believed for a moment they had a date with the scaffold, they would have fled the country well before their own people turned against them.

In France, all it took was a single bad year and a government too broke to buy bread for the people, and within days to weeks, the revolution was out of control beyond anything the royal family or First Estate could do. It can happen faster than you think.

Today's plutocrats would probably contract themselves to build their own scaffold. This is why we need a moral revolution at the top, before pitchforks appear in the streets.

Having four companies in control of everything, even if by extension, is dangerous especially if the people who make decisions in those companies lack the morality to restrain their greed and ensure the social ladder stays in place behind them. It's tempting to pull the ladder up behind you and enjoy all the cake for yourself, except that history shows us that strategy never works.

We're headed into perilous times, distracted by celebrity worship, sporting extravaganzas, and hyped political scandals that approach reality-show heights in terms of drama. Meanwhile, the real scandal is the fact that our government has mortgaged the future of our nation while playing for the next election cycle, all at the behest of their corporate masters who operate behind the scenes in Washington and around the world.

It's public disengagement and unrestrained greed that have created a perfect storm of circumstances where just a few dozen men, controlling four companies, have become the economic masters of the world. In doing what they do, they have started consuming the middle class of American society in a bid to become yet more rich and powerful because this is the nature of greed.

Unfortunately, our nation may likely be just one bad year away from collapse. In 1787, the young King Louis XVI knew he faced some significant economic challenges, but he had no imagining that he was just months away from total disaster.

The warning signs are there, but nobody who can do anything is heeding them, so let us pray that when the difficulties come we remember our morals and use the opportunity to create a better future.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Business & Economics

Art collectors seek liquidity as market plummets Watch

Image of Picasso piece auctioned for a record $179.4 million.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inquiries about art loans reportedly increased after global equities plunged. The unfortunate event led many to view their collections as assets and investment to cash-in.  MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Bloomberg Business reports many collectors and ... continue reading


BIRTHING PAINS - America on brink as markets plunge Watch

Image of Market collapse is just one of many signs that the end is approaching. What comes next?

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. stock market opened with a bang on Monday, and it appears to be the same sound you hear when something catastrophic happens to your engine. Several commentators have already dubbed the day, "Black Monday" as the market appeared to be on track for its largest ... continue reading


FINALLY: Researchers reveal that sex does not sell Watch

Image of Sex and violence is not an edge in advertising.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Maybe sex doesn't sell after all. This is what studies reveal in a recent academic journal released by the Psychological Bulletin. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Violence and sex in commercials does not appear to sell anymore. Compared to themes and ... continue reading


3 great tips on how to spot an online purchasing scam Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With a growing population of people having internet access worldwide, there are a lot of businesses outsourced from the World Wide Web. Online shops sprout left and right because of easy access and an almost free platform, but limits in security are present. If ever ... continue reading


BLEEDING U.S. DRY: Federal taxes draining as much as $17,955 per worker Watch

Image of Tax revenues are about $183,397,970,000 in constant 2015 dollars from the $2,489,016,030,000 in revenue that the Treasury collected for 10 months in fiscal 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They are bleeding the U.S. - and us, dry with massive amounts of taxation. The federal government collected a record of approximately $2,672,414,000,000 in tax revenues through the first ten months of fiscal 2015. And yet - that national deficit just keeps on getting ... continue reading


National debt frozen at $18,112,975,000,000 for 150 days Watch

Image of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew explained in a letter dated March 13 that some steps the Treasury would take during the debt issuance suspension period.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has sent out a letter to Congressional leaders telling them that he was extending a "debt issuance suspension period" through October 30. The amount of the federal debt subjected to a legal limit set by Congress closed on Monday, August 10, ... continue reading


America needs Catholic leadership now, and here's how you can make it happen Watch

Image of Rallies have erupted across the country blaming the wealthy for the plight of the poor, but the truth is, everyone is to blame. Regardless of blame, it's time to talk about what to do, and that talk should be informed by Catholic teaching.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The stock market is poised for a collapse and that's not a good thing for American jobs. As growth slows and the risk of another recession looms, Americans are left to wonder where the good times have gone.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Americans are barely ... continue reading


Pope's environmental encyclical clashes with Catholic Church's investments in oil Watch

Image of The pope's encyclical has prompted debate in Catholic organizations and other churches about divestment. To date, many major American dioceses have resisted the push.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a conflict of interest that concerns many. Pope Francis, with the release of his encyclical, called attention to world ecology and how much climate change - as well as the exploitation of the poor, hinges on "highly polluting fossil fuels." While this is ... continue reading


Print Struggles: Internet becomes United States' Number One source for news Watch

Image of Newspapers in seeing the digital revolution have now since gone online.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When people in the United States want to hear about what's breaking in the news - they turn not to newspapers or TV, but online news sources. The immediacy of online news and its ability to instantly update stories while they happen has many other forms of mass ... continue reading


MANY GIVE UP: 93,770,000 Americans not working - and not seeking work Watch

Image of At its absolute lowest since the late 1970s, the BLS highlighted that the unemployment rate remained at 5.3 percent and non-farm payroll jobs increased by 215,000.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to recent figures, as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many Americans have simply given up. They are either living with their parents, living off of their spouse's income or found a way to stay out of the job market. It's estimated that ... continue reading


All Business & Economics News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1, 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 31st, 2015 Image

St. Raymond Nonnatus
August 31: Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain. He was delivered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter