About Protests, Power and Oligarchy
An article from the NY times last October, reprinted in The Bangkok Post, reported that the Chinese government met with the wealthy Hong Kong oligarchy to urge them to refrain from comments about Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying’s attempts to deal with the ongoing protests. Apparently the oligarchs are concerned that Leung was too autocratic — not to the students, but to them. In other words, Leung refused to do whatever it was the oligarchs wanted. They also were worried that Leung was someone who exhibited “a streak of economic populism who might some day raise taxes to pay for greater social spending” — This in a Communist country no less.
Leung for his part announced yesterday that he opposed fully open elections because the poor would predominate and skew “politics and policy towards poor people.” I am sure this pleased the oligarchs very much prompting Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man who makes most of his money off of the people of Hong Kong to state, “I sincerely urge everyone not let today’s passion become tomorrow’s regret. I earnestly urge everyone to return home immediately to your families.”
Hong Kong has the highest discrepancy in income and wealth between the very rich and everyone else in all of Asia.
We should also remember that in democratic Athens, the oligarchs were fully prepared to betray democracy and their country to their enemies in order to install an autocratic government run by them. Oligarchs have no country other than the one that best protects their wealth and political power. You can wave the flag all you want, but if you move your wealth to another country simply to increase your profits you’re no patriot.