“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”— Plutarch 46 – 120 AD.
This observation by Plutarch, the Greek historian and philosopher, likely now applies world-wide rather than to within one particular country. Imbalances of wealth in the world are possibly more extreme than at any point in history. While this would be difficult to prove conclusively, it is true that global wealth imbalances are now worse than at any other time in recorded modern history. This condition has played a contributing role in the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the effects of which continue to ripple throughout the world.
As we always point out, the necessary counterpart to high indebtedness is an imbalanced wealth distribution. It is impossible to have one without the other. It facilitates the process of the wealthy becoming wealthier, meaning that a greater portion of overall wealth is being accumulated by an ever-smaller number of holders.
Wealth accumulation has been greater than is popularly perceived (this must be the case, after all, given the huge rise in indebtedness). Why? Most surveys focus on income disparities rather than wealth, assuming that the two are correlated. This is true; however, it is the concentration of capital income (i.e. capital gains, interest and dividends and not employment income) that is the biggest contributor to the growing wealth skew. (See the graph below.)
Among a number of statements in the Bible that suggest growing elitism in the last days, we see the prophecy of rising wealth imbalances in James 5:1-6 as the most irrefutable. “Now listen, you rich people […]. You have hoarded wealth in the last days” (James 5:1,3).
The concentrated accumulation of wealth finally clashed with its handmaiden, high indebtedness. The point finally arrived — as was always inevitable — at which such high and increasing levels of debt could no longer be supported by the ever-poorer segments of populations. It is therefore not surprising that it is increasingly alleged that a plutocracy is emerging in the world, including within the United States. What is plutocracy? Quoting Wikipedia, it is a word that derives “from Ancient Greek ploutos, meaning ‘wealth’, and kratos, meaning ‘power rule’.” Plutocracy therefore means rule by the wealthy. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy.
We are not so much interested in the economic or political viewpoints on plutarchy (or plutocracy) but rather the Bible’s perspectives. There, we are more likely to find a balanced treatment of this otherwise sensitive topic. Not only does the Bible lay out preventive measures again plutocracies (Please see our 3-part Jubileum series from the past year for an in-depth examination of this topic. Part I can be found here.), but it also reveals end time prophecies. And, as always, anything to do with prophecy involves the Jews and/or Israel in some way.
We must also warn that the association between the word plutocracy and Jews has a sordid history. For example, to the Nazis of the early 20th century in Europe, “plutocracy” was a code word for Jews. Britain and America were considered plutocracies because Jews were prospering in those countries. An Internet search of the word plutocracy leaves no doubt, bringing up numerous anti-Semitic articles. These hateful perspectives are not just limited to uneducated people, but span all of society.
Why? For his purposes, God continues to carry out his plans for his people the Jews. It remains the era of the Gentiles and therefore the age-old cycle born of a “separate people,” the “love of money” and persecution continues. In times past, outbreaks of persecution were a phenomenon that played out repeatedly at the country level, for example in Spain, Poland, Russia and Germany. The Bible says that a period of persecution of the Jews will break out at least one more time. That time it will be global, also involving the land of Israel. Unfortunately, many churches that claim to be Christian in name, aid and abet this development due to their denial of Scripture. They choose to ignore the hundreds of Bible prophecy verses that declare the yet-glorious future of the Jews.
Focusing upon America (which harbors the world’s largest population of the diaspora Jews), it must be noted that Wall Street is now increasingly unpopular and hated. The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is just one example of this growing sentiment. Firms such as Goldman Sachs are despised. Recently, a former executive of this firm publicly exposed this company’s culture as being destructive and predatory. The rise of the complex of “money manager capitalism” and the “financial alchemy” of the entire financial industry is being associated with America’s ills of concentrated wealth and the stagnating incomes of the middle and lower classes. Counter movements are voicing their protests — rightly or wrongly.
The two graphs shown above display the correlation between the rising incomes in the financial sector and the rising wealth skew in America. The implication is that the financial sector is responsible for an emerging plutocracy in the U.S. as well as in other countries. According to one analyst, “the rising relative pay of finance has been correlated with the growing income inequality, at least in the U.S.” While there definitely is a connection, the reality is that this phenomenon is much more complex and involves the complicity of the greater part of society.
But facts rarely get in the way of an expedient story or anti-Semitism. On Wall Street, Goldman Sachs is particularly reviled. Why? Quoting the Atlantic Wire, “Messrs. Goldman and Sachs, who founded the firm in the nineteenth century, were Jewish, as have been most of its partners since then, almost all of its leaders, and its current CEO (Lloyd Blankfein). It was founded because Jews were excluded from other firms. At this point Goldman is a publicly traded stock that anybody may own, and probably most of its employees are not Jewish. (Just as Jews are more than welcome at “gentile” firms like Morgan Stanley).”1
The above quote reveals a more balanced perspective. However, when times get tough, society and its politicians have usually seized upon hatred and convenient scapegoats.