Plutocracy is “rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth.”
Inspired by a mockumentary photoshoot on Wall Street and Midtown Manhattan in November of 2009, Plutocracy is an ongoing nonpartisan exploration of contemporary themes in political science, American History, fractional reserve banking, and the protests of the Occupy Movement in 2011 and 2012.
Combining documentary photography with graphic design, the images follow themes and protest of the Global Financial Crisis—“this resulted in the threat of total financial collapse from large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market also suffered, resulting in evictions, foreclosures and prolonged unemployment. The crisis played a significant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in trillions of US dollars, and a downturn in economic activity leading to the 2008–2012 global recession and contributing to the European sovereign-debt crisis.”
“Many causes for the financial crisis have been suggested, with varying weight assigned by experts. The U.S. Senate’s Levin–Coburn Report asserted that the crisis was the result of “high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street. Two factors that have been frequently cited include the liberal use of the Gaussian copula function and the failure to track data provenance. The 1999 repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act effectively removed the separation between investment banks and depository banks in the United States.”
The 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court “held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions” and reinforced corporate personhood, creating an “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of elections.” Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation.” An online media journal Veterans Today called for the “immediate arrest” of the justices voting in the majority for treason. “An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections.” Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns.” Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont claimed: “What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’”
With record-low Congressional approval, unprecedented special interest spending and debt, stagnant economic growth and high unemployment, war profiteering, enormous corporate subsidies and welfare, rampant corruption and sectionalism, not a single arrest has been made in the era of impunity. The future of the American Dream becomes increasingly uncertain as the hope of the people erodes and the fragility of Late Capitalism continues to unravel.