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Have you heard of Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy”?

I only read about it two days ago. But in a commonsense way, it explains the situation of the world and especially Europe and Britain today.

To quote from that great fount of (sometimes questionably accurate) wisdom, Wikipedia ‘The Iron Law of Oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German syndicalist, sociologist and fascist, Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It claims that rule by an elite, or “oligarchy” is inevitable as an “iron law” within any democratic organization. Michels stated that the official goal of representative democracy of eliminating elite rule was impossible, that representative democracy is a façade, legitimizing the rule of a particular elite, and that elite rule, that he refers to as oligarchy, is inevitable.’

In fact, Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy can be extended to any political system. Whatever the badge – democracy, socialism, Islamic republic or whatever – power and wealth will always be concentrated in the hands of a powerful elite. In the corrupt hell-holes of Africa, South America, India and Pakistan, this is obvious and the elites unashamedly loot their countries while keeping the masses in grinding poverty.

In Western democracies, the rule of the elites in less obvious. In fact, there have been periods in history – particularly the 20th century – where the power of the elites has been reduced and wealth has become more widespread. This has usually happened after major wars. Following the sacrifices made by ordinary people, there is a pressure for more equality. Thus, after the Second World War, we got the 1946 National Insurance Act and the NHS being founded in 1948. But gradually power and wealth will concentrate again in the hands of the few.

This is why it makes little difference which party we vote for.

In the public sector, we see an elite group of bureaucrats move from one highly-paid position to another however incompetent they are – Sir David Nicholson responsible for the Staffordshire hospital disaster now running the NHS, Lin Homer moving from the chaotic UK Border Agency to run HM Revenue and Customs are just two examples. This is why disgraced politicians – self-confessed liar and thief David Laws, the (IMHO) slippery Keith ” Vazeline” Vaz – seem to thrive whatever they get up to. In business, a small group of executives all sit on each others’ remuneration committees and hand out generous pay rises and bonuses, however appalling their performance. In the last 10 years, the value of the FTSE100 companies has decreased by 24% and at the same time executive pay has increased by 75%. In the 1980s top executives were earning about 12 times the average wage. By 2012 this had shot up to 185 times average wage.

This cosy elite club is why no banker has been prosecuted for fraud, although the evidence against some of them is overwhelming..

So it’s time to stop believing in the fairy tale of democracy. Power and wealth will always be concentrated in the hands of the fortunate few. And they will always protect each other in order to protect themselves.

(Somewhat disappointing that not a single person bought a copy of my book GREED UNLIMITED yesterday in spite of me asking for a few people to buy it to help support this website. Hey ho)

5 comments to Have you heard of Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy”?

  • dave

    havn’t got an amazon account. Do I need one?

  • Paris Claims

    If the power and wealth of the elites diminishes after a major war, you’d like to think they’d have the sense to stop starting wars.
    I’ll buy your book, do I have to get it from Amazon, or can I download it from Kindle?

  • John Fields

    In the past I have purchased two copies of ” Greed Unlimited” , “Who Cares” and
    the novel about a Romanian and an ex-copper. For me, you are the best reading
    on the Web. it is not my policy to tell other people what to do, but if they want the
    blatant truth then they should back your request for more book sales.

  • Paris Claims

    £6.40 on kindle! you’ll be able to buy yourself a half!

  • Sadath Mwamsema

    Thanx a lot! I have gained much.

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