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Empire–The Rise of the Oligarchs

Is it just money? Or is it power?

Empire examines the rise and role of the new oligarchs and the decline of democracy in the United States and beyond.

Last updated: 28 May 2014 14:55
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Wealth inequality has risen to stratospheric heights. The statistics, the real statistics, sound like fragments spun off from a madman’s dream.

Eighty-five people have as much money as three and a half billion other people. Look at it like this: 85 people = 3,500,000,000 people.

Forbes Magazine, which used to gleefully refer to itself as a “capitalist tool,” creates an annual list of the richest 400 people in the world. Ten years ago, their combined wealth was $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars). Now, after a world wide crash and all sort of bailouts, their combined worth is $2,000,000,000,000. They’ve doubled their money. How’ve you done?

Did their money come to them because the magic of the market realised how ultra-special talented they were? Or because of power? Manipulating laws, buying politicians, even taking over governments. Has the power of money in the United States grown so great that democracy is just a charade? A large, frenetic, incredibly expensive one, but still, just play-acting and a dumb show for the public?

While all the real decisions come from a small group of the ultra-wealthy, to some degree very consciously, but to an even larger degree by the sheer weight of their incredible wealth, the Oligarchs.

That much money, it has to be about power. 

Empire can be seen from the last Sunday of every month at 2000GMT, and is re-aired during the following week at these times GMT: Monday: 1200GMT; Tuesday: 0100GMT; Wednesday: 0600GMT.


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