In my writings on political economy I have often used the term poleconomic to highlight the fact that politics (the use of power) is never unconnected to those with economic clout. They are two sides of a coin. Persons with political power are usually either wealthy or in bed with the rich; and those with lots of money almost always try to influence those with political power. The majority of citizens stand on the sidelines.
The situation in our present globalized political economy is informative. I have written mainly about how chiefs and shamans and kings and their viziers manipulate political and economic structures to their advantage, usually to the detriment of the general populace; but in our globalized world the politicians seem to be taking a back seat to a new breed of financial operators – in the USA it is the agents at the Fed and in Europe it is the people in charge at the ECB.
According to the view the average citizen has of a democracy it should operate like this: you vote someone into office and if they do a bad job you vote them out. Who voted for the Fed and ECB operators? Who can vote them out? Clearly the politicians are doing a bad job, but does it do any good to vote them out?
These Fed/ECB persons have great power in our present crisis in the capitalist world, filling the void left by our effete and often bickering politicians; yet we often don’t know who they are and we surely don’t know what goes on in their deliberations behind closed doors. Every so often Oz sends out a messenger to make a pronouncement, but we don’t see the rope-pulling behind the screen. Nor do we have any input to it or control over it.
This is not a democracy but rather a plutocracy, that is, a political economy in which the wealthy rule. Sometimes the politicians are wealthy or influenced by the rich, but in our present world it seems that the politicians can't seem to get the job done and the financial guys behind the screen are getting a little more press. They are individuals with financial acumen and surely have their fingers in the sticky pie of high finance, with personal portfolios beyond the imagination of the average citizen.
The history teacher prepares to give a lecture to his young students on how democracy works. This won't be in his notes.
This ain’t Kansas anymore.