Alternative formsEdit


From Ancient Greek πλουτοκρατία (ploutokratía, rule of the wealthy), from πλουτοκρατέω (ploutokratéō, I rule through wealth), from πλοῦτος (ploûtos, wealth) + κρατέω (kratéō, I rule) (from κράτος (krátos, power”, “might)).



plutocracy (countable and uncountable, plural plutocracies)

  1. Government by the wealthy.
    • 1897, Anonymous, The Revolutionary Tendencies of the Age: Their Cause and Their Ultimate Aim[1], New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, OCLC 656958749, page 119:
      Plutocracy, which is virtually supreme to-day, is to be no less condemned ; for it is not only not just, bit is nearly as detrimental to the race at large as absolute socialism would be, if adopted []
    • 1933, G. K. Chesterton, “On Industrialism”, in All I Survey:
      Modernity is not democracy; machinery is not democracy; the surrender of everything to trade and commerce is not democracy. Capitalism is not democracy; and is admittedly, by trend and savour, rather against democracy. Plutocracy by definition is not democracy. But all these modern things forced themselves into the world at about the time, or shortly after the time, when great idealists like Rousseau and Jefferson happened to have been thinking about the democratic ideal of democracy.
  2. A controlling class of the wealthy.
    • 1926, C. E. M. Joad, The Babbitt Warren, London: Trubner & Co, page 17:
      There, indeed, he must consent to be the puppet and plaything of plutocracy enthroned on machinery, to have his ears assaulted by every variety of beastly sound that the ingenuity of modern civilization can devise, and his peace of mind shattered by the continual necessity under which he finds himself of performing bodily convolutions that would do credit to a professional gymnast.
    • 2019 July 8, Michelle Goldberg, “Jeffrey Epstein Is the Ultimate Symbol of Plutocratic Rot”, in New York Times[2]:
      Her piece painted him as an enigmatic Jay Gatsby type, a boy from a middle-class family in Brooklyn who had scaled the rungs of the plutocracy, though no one could quite figure out how he made his money.


Related termsEdit


Further readingEdit