Oligarchy

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 18, 2011 - Political Science
2 Reviews
For centuries, oligarchs were viewed as empowered by wealth, an idea muddled by elite theory early in the twentieth century. The common thread for oligarchs across history is that wealth defines them, empowers them and inherently exposes them to threats. The existential motive of all oligarchs is wealth defense. How they respond varies with the threats they confront, including how directly involved they are in supplying the coercion underlying all property claims and whether they act separately or collectively. These variations yield four types of oligarchy: warring, ruling, sultanistic and civil. Moreover, the rule of law problem in many societies is a matter of taming oligarchs. Cases studied in this book include the United States, ancient Athens and Rome, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, medieval Venice and Siena, mafia commissions in the United States and Italy, feuding Appalachian families and early chiefs cum oligarchs dating from 2300 BCE.
 

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User Review  - brleach - LibraryThing

I'm not sure his distinction between those who have enough wealth to engage in wealth defense and those who do not stands up. There are plenty of people who he does not seem to be counting as ... Read full review

Contents

Warring Oligarchies
40
Ruling Oligarchies
66
Sultanistic Oligarchies
135
Civil Oligarchies
208
Conclusions
275
Bibliography
287
Index
309
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About the author (2011)

Jeffrey A. Winters specializes in oligarchy and elites in a range of historical and contemporary cases, including Athens, Rome, medieval Europe, the United States and several major countries in Southeast Asia. His research, publications and teaching focus on the areas of comparative and international political economy. Themes in his work in addition to oligarchy include state-capital relations, capital mobility and the structural power of investors, human rights, authoritarianism and democratic transitions in postcolonial states, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. He has conducted extensive research in the region of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. He is the author of Power in Motion: Capital Mobility and the Indonesian State. With Jonathan Pincus, he co-edited Reinventing the World Bank. He has also published two other books in Indonesian. Professor Winters has received numerous grants and scholarships, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant; a J. William Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant; grants from the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Sawyer–Mellon Foundation, the Henry R. Luce Foundation, Yale's Center for International Studies and the J. M. Kaplan Fund; and a Rackham Research Grant from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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