Let’s be clear about it. What’s happening on Wall Street now with the federal government propping up collapsing financial institutions is most assuredly not socialism. Last time I checked, the definition of socialism did not include the enriching of corporate pirates who drove huge institutions into bankruptcy while pocketing hundreds of millions for themselves and pals, while escaping prison time all the while. Nope, that’s not socialism at all.
Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of good.
The public collectively does not own Fannie and Freddie, nor do they have the slightest say in their administration. Nor will they in whatever institutions are about to collapse that the government will attempt to prop up. So, if it’s not socialism, then what is it? Hmmm.
Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. In a plutocracy, the degree of economic inequality is high while the level of social mobility is low.
Kevin Phillips, author and political strategist to U.S. President Richard Nixon, argues that the United States is a plutocracy in which there is a “fusion of money and government.”