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The Globocracy

By Oliver DeMille

One of the most significant changes brought by the American revolution and founding was the replacement of an aristocratic class system with the ideal of a democratic society—supported by a federal-democratic-republic form of government and free enterprise economic system.

Today we are witnessing a similar shift, but in a different direction: back to elitism and up in scale from national to global. The result is the advent of the first ruling globocracy in human history.

One article in a recent special report on the global elite by The Economist summarizes this as,

“…a mere 6,000 politicians, chief executives and other bigwigs run[ning] the world…,” and another assures us that in modern democracies “the elites serve the masses.”

Between these extremes the reality is that the culture of the globocracy is growing, and throughout history new political forms and economic models typically follow the rise of new cultures. One author, Robert Frank, entitled this development simply Richistan.

Who are the Globocrats?

Aristocracy and old money have been around for a long time.  And for centuries an elite culture that operated above nations dominated in Europe.  But this is the first time such a reality has been global in nature.

Here are some key characteristics of the emerging globocracy:

  • Members are well educated
  • They tend to marry well-educated spouses
  • They are cosmopolitan
  • They are mostly isolated from people who are non-globocrats
  • They have their “own healthcare system (concierge doctors), travel network (NetJets, destination clubs), separate economy…and language (‘Who’s your household manager?’)”.
  • They are mostly self-made
  • They are mostly entrepreneurial-minded
  • They are dynamic and want to do things (rather than bask in the perks of their wealth)
  • They are reformers—they want to change the world in big and positive ways
  • They give a lot to philanthropy
  • They are the world’s major investors
  • They are mostly hardworking
  • They save a lot
  • They belong to clubs and associations where they socialize and talk with each other about business and world issues
  • They increase their influence by building businesses and hiring “the best people”
  • They raise their children in a very entrepreneurial culture
  • They are extremely curious and voracious readers
  • They are found around the world, with highest numbers in 1) North America, 2) Asia and 3) Europe
  • Some people have worried that they would have little loyalty for their home nations, but so far, according to The Economist, “ethnic and national loyalties remain strong”

The numbers are also significant:

  • 47% of the world’s wealthy made their money as entrepreneurs
  • 16% of the wealthy inherited their wealth
  • 23% of the wealthy made their money through paid career work (the vast majority as business executives, with a few in medicine, dentistry, law, etc.)
  • the richest 10% of adults control 83% of the wealth

Thomas L. Friedman predicted the rise of this group, which he called “the electronic herd.” And Samuel P. Huntington’s influential book The Clash of Civilizations seems to have missed that the chasm between the globocracy and the rest, rather than the widening gap between the West and non-Western civilizations, would be the major trend of the 21st Century.

Predictions of a Pacific Century, a China Century, and even the Information Age may be dwarfed by the impact of the globocracy.
So far the globocracy has exerted most of its influence in economic rather than political terms. The Economist put it this way:

“The elite are most likely to do harm when they rely on the coercive power of the state: for example, when they persuade it to grant them special favours. In autocratic countries such as China and Russia the most influential people devote a disproportionate amount of energy to such rent-seeking.”

The commentary continued:

“In liberal democracies ordinary folk are better defended. Elections force politicians to take the public’s wishes into account every few years. Competitive markets force business leaders to heed their customers’ demands all the time.”

It remains to be seen if the globocracy will at some point become a ruling class in politics—but no major elite group that I know of in history has refrained from trying. Certainly globocrats already exert significant political influence.

They also do a great deal of good in the world, and all indications are that this will continue. Many of the globocracy care deeply about freedom and the future of free enterprise, and some of the future great leaders of freedom will likely come from this group.

The Great Transition

Whether or not the emerging globocracy turns into a parasitic class or a generation of social leaders depends on what might be called the Great Transition. Most wealth is created by people seeking wealth as an end, a final goal, a successful achievement.

The Great Transition consists of turning one’s beliefs and perspectives to an entirely new viewpoint, where wealth is a means rather than an end.

This Transition is a major challenge for those who experience it.

As Adam Smith put it, in most cases:

“…the consideration of his own private profit is the sole motive which determines the owner of any capital to employ it either in agriculture, in manufactures, or in some particular branch of the wholesale or retail trade.”

Then, when the Great Transition comes into his life, he must determine whether or not to continue seeking wealth for personal ends or for larger societal reasons. He, or she, may begin to see his/her wealth as a part of societal or community resources.

The fine line between the government forcing this viewpoint upon the individual (the Marxist approach) and the wealthy person making this determination on her own (Adam Smith’s approach) is massively important. The first reduces freedom and leads to decreased overall wealth in a society.

Not all of those with wealth make this Great Transition. Some who don’t make it choose to emphasize lives of leisure and entertainment, while others continue to seek increased wealth as an end goal.

Sometimes seekers of wealth see it as a means to increased status and/or political power all along, but this is treated in history as pursuing an end—wealth as a means is not to amass it for benefits to self, but rather to use it to benefit others.

If our modern globocracy determines not to make the Great Transition, it will naturally create a global oligarchy that rules governments, economies and people from all classes.

Aristotle wrote, “…wherever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy.”

The American founders argued that any government dominated by an upper economic class was sure to reduce freedom.  Hamilton put it this way: “Power over a man’s subsistence amounts to power over his will.”

Just having money doesn’t give the globocracy full power over the world’s subsistence, but using wealth to control governments would.

For those who do make the Great Transition to “wealth as a means for something bigger,” there are at least four major paths to choose from:

  • Charity (help the plight of the poor)
  • Philanthropy (support good causes)
  • Mentoring (help others learn how to obtain success and happiness)
  • Statesmanship (help spread freedom and prosperity in the world)

The future of the world will be drastically impacted by which choice the current globocracy makes—a new world oligarchy or a society with more statesmen, saints and sages. Time will tell which direction we take.

Whatever happens, this trend bears watching by all who care about the future of freedom, prosperity and widespread opportunity. If the globocracy heads in the direction of aristocratic rule, the regular people must be prepared to articulately and effectively communicate the dangers and propose real alternatives.

If the emerging globocracy moves toward the Great Transition, many of the regular citizenship must be prepared to partner with them in the work of statesmanship, service and wise societal leadership.



Oliver DeMille is the founder and former president of George Wythe University, a co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd Online.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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