Donald Trump and Plutocracy Now
A talk delivered at the “What Now?” conference at UC Berkeley, September 2017
On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump, a most unlikely contender, was elected to the office of the presidency of the United States of America. In the course of that year he had beaten a slew of Republican rivals, major political stakeholders, for the right to run for this office. Disliked by the leadership of the party, he had won his candidacy with a campaign of vilification and an irresistible (though largely unfounded) self-confidence, declaring himself an opponent of the political establishment and an advocate of the common people. He had then turned with the same brutal energy on his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, denouncing her as another corrupt insider. With appeals to fear, prejudice, nationalism, and social resentment he had brought together an unlikely coalition of billionaires, right-wing conspirators, fundamentalist Christians, and working-class victims of globalization. Exorbitant promises of a national renewal had in the end secured him enough votes from a deeply divided electorate to win out over Clinton. And so, there he was on November 9 with no political experience, a spotty business record, limited verbal resources, and a simplified confrontational view of the world at the point of taking on the most demanding political office on Earth.
As soon as the election was over, the experts, who had failed so dramatically to predict Trump’s astonishing rise to power, provided us with their analyses of what had happened and with predictions of things to come. His success was due to the inordinate weaknesses of his opponent, they said. It was due to illicit help from a foreign power. It was a reaction to the skin color of the previous president. It had resulted from a skewed and outdated election process. It was a fluke. It was due to Washington’s neglect of people in the declining industrial regions of mid-America. And the predictions pointed into as many different directions. Our experts said that Trump would quickly fail and either resign or be forced from office within a year. They were certain that the leaders of Congress and the constitution would constrain him. Alternatively, they foresaw the end of democracy; a tectonic shift of the political plates; signs even of the end of the world as we have known it. The range of analyses and predictions, each adorned with its own certainties, revealed, in fact, only one thing: the abyss of uncertainty into which our political commentators had fallen – and all of us with them.
The discussion that follows is motivated by the political ascendance of Donald Trump. But it is not intended to focus exclusively or specifically on the 45th US President. Its aims are broader, more reflective and more “philosophical,” not journalistic, documentary, historical, and certainly not party-political. I will nonetheless have repeated occasion to return to the figure of Donald Trump – not, however, as someone of singular interest, but as a marker in a more comprehensive narrative. This concerns the transitional character of our current political arrangements, the limits of our grasp of what is going on, and finally the question how we are to respond to this combination of radical change and cognitive uncertainty. As far as Trump himself is concerned, I will concentrate on two points. The first is that he represents a form of politics that is new but not altogether unprecedented; the second that his ascendance exposes nonetheless a new political configuration. Not new is the plutocratic nature of Trump’s regime since plutocracy is a historically recurrent form of political rule; but Trump’s plutocracy is unfolding in a new technological and moral environment; it hints at an unsettling new form of plutocratic rule whose contours are, however, perhaps not as yet fully set and certainly not yet fully discernible.
I distinguish thus between the individual case of Trump and his presidency and the broader political transformations they signal. Trump’s idiosyncratic stances and demagogic pronouncements constantly provoke our attention – just as they are meant to do – but when we focus too much on them we are likely to overlook that his presidency is no singular event but evidence of deeper and dangerous political currents for it indicates that the assumptions and certainties of classical modern democracy can no longer be taken for granted. A narrow focus on Trump may mislead us also in another way since we don’t know as yet how successful Trump’s presidency will be. If he fails in his ambitions, we may wrongly conclude that the old, existing political order has been saved when it has perhaps been saved only from crashing into one particular cliff.
The term “plutocracy” means the rule of the rich. It is most often used in a pejorative tone; I intend to use it, instead, as a term of analysis. This does not exclude the possibility of critiquing plutocratic forms of political rule for there is much to criticize in them, but such criticism must emerge from an analysis of the political realities, not through an abstract deduction from a concept. To the usual normative procedure of speculative political philosophy, I oppose, thus, the idea of a realistic and diagnostic practice. The system of rule we call “plutocratic” is also since Aristotle known as “oligarchy.” But “oligarchy” is a less precise term since it means literally the rule of a few and while those few may often turn out to be the rich, it is just as possible that they will be a military, ideological, or religious minority. We may thus think of plutocracy as a particular form of oligarchy. And in the case of Trump’s presidency we are definitively faced with the rule of the rich and thus with a plutocratic oligarchy or, for short, a plutocracy.
It might, however, be objected that this line of thinking is misconceived since it is by no means obvious that we should talk of Trump’s presidency as a plutocratic regime. Has he not set himself up in opposition to the ruling bourgeoisie – Republican and Democrat – with its own plutocratic tendencies? Has he not identified, instead, with white working- class men and their economic and cultural grievances? Fostering an image of himself as a common man with vulgar views about women and other ethnicities? As an enemy of the global elites with their contempt for the pieties of American life? Reveling, instead, in the fanciful image of an America restored to its former greatness: its steel mills, car factories, and refineries, and its invincible weapons? Should we not for all these reasons call him, then, a populist, or an economic nationalist, or perhaps even a white chauvinist, rather than a plutocrat? But we should take notice that these characterizations are not necessarily incompatible. It is not uncommon for plutocrats to ally themselves with the lower elements of society and their interests, convictions, and tastes in order to overwhelm the established mid-level of society. Plutocrats have been known to flourish narrow prejudice and crudeness as a sign of their common touch, thus setting themselves apart from polite society. History has examples to show that it is precisely by striking such an alliance that plutocrats have come to power. The traces of populism, nativism, and nationalism in Trump’s political agenda, far from undermining the characterization of him as a plutocrat, can, in fact, be considered to be integral elements of his kind of plutocratic regime. The alliance of plutocracy and proletariat, to use a short formula, tends, however, to be tactical and unstable. A newly risen plutocracy may find it convenient to drop its proletarian eggshells in order to strike an alliance with the older, established powers. The rise and fall of Steve Bannon in Trump’s retinue may indicate this dynamic at work also in the current administration. It was Bannon, after all, who promoted the populist and nativist slogans of Trump’s presidential campaign and of the early months of his presidency. We can, perhaps, expect Trump’s presidency to become more visibly plutocratic as time passes.
One sign of our current disorientation is that our usual terms of analysis seem no longer sufficient. Old distinctions between left and right, between Democratic and Republican appear insufficient to capture what is distinctive in the current regime. Is Trump a fascist, a populist, a nativist, a racist? Such terms, while in polemical use, can throw no light on where we actually are. I am proposing to call Trump a plutocrat and indicative of the rise of plutocratic rule in the US and across the globe. But the term is at best tentative and certainly calls for qualification, if we are to understand what I distinctive and new in our political situation. Our question will have to be, what kind of plutocracy we are facing. To this I will have to come at another occasion.
The most important recent study of plutocracy has been undertaken by Jeffrey Winters in a 2011 book entitled Oligarchy. I find myself diverging from Winters in more than terminology and it may therefore be useful to lay out my own thoughts on the topic of plutocracy by reviewing my agreements and disagreements with him. For one thing, I don’t share his enthusiasm for a general “theory” of oligarchy or plutocracy. Winters assumes for this purpose that he needs to give sharp definitions to his concepts and he writes accordingly that in his theory “oligarchs are defined in a manner that is fixed across political contexts and historical periods.” (p. 6) I want to maintain, by contrast, that political concepts are better understood as family-resemblance notions and that they resist therefore formal definition. Winters, on the other hand, wants to lay down necessary and sufficient conditions for his concepts. That is, of course, always possible but, I would argue, that the move will be unhelpful when we are dealing with historically evolving phenomena. Why should we even assume that such phenomena must share a single property or a single set of these? Instead, we class them together on the basis of a series of overlapping similarities and because they have developed out of each other. I cling thus to Nietzsche’s dictum that only what is unhistorical can be defined. This means also that we should not attempt to formulate an unhistorical “theory” of oligarchy or plutocracy. We are better advised to adopt a descriptive, narrative, and historically informed approach to it.
For reasons that he does not spell out, Winters insists that we need to define the figure of the oligarch before we are in a position to define oligarchy. Oligarchs, he writes, “are actors who command and control massive concentrations of material resources that can be deployed to defend or enhance their personal wealth and exclusive social position.” And: “Oligarchy refers to the politics of wealth defense by materially endowed actors.” (p. 7) But these characterizations are in danger of circularity. For the first sentence says, in effect, that oligarchs are actors who can engage in a politics of wealth defense and thus in oligarchic rule and the second that oligarchy is a politics of wealth defense pursued by oligarchs. Winters reason for insisting on the primacy of the concept of the oligarch may be due to his observation that “oligarchs are always individuals, never corporations or other collectivities.” (Ibid.) This is, of course a valid observation. Oligarchic or, as I prefer to say, plutocratic rule is the rule of individual actors endowed with great personal wealth and is, as such, different from political rule of corporate actors defending corporate wealth and interests. In contrast to the corporate system of rule, oligarchic or plutocratic rule tends therefore to a personal regime and away from a reliance on rules, regulations, laws, established practices and customs. Donald Trump’s frustration with the institutions of the Federal Government, their slow mobility and resistance to his demands, is a characteristic expression of the personalistic element of plutocratic rule. While this much is valid, Winters goes further in saying again and again that oligarchs act individually rather than collectively. Of their efforts at defense of wealth, he writes, for instance: “They must do this individually to reap the benefits of income defense.” (p. 213) But this certainly does not follow from the fact that oligarchs hold their wealth individually and it is also not obviously true. Jane Mayer’s recent book Dark Money describes at length the efforts of the brothers Charles and David Koch to organize a collective effort to promote their policy preferences through get togethers of the very rich, through bundled payments to politicians, the setting up of so-called think tanks, the promotion of academic programs, and direct media campaigns. The decisive point is, however, the following: even if we think of plutocracy as based on highly tuned individual interests, it does not follow that we can characterize the plutocrat as a political figure without reference to the political system of which he is a part. Methodological individualism breaks down since systems of rule are complex functional structures whose constituents are describable only in terms of their role within the system. We call such structures sometimes organic or holistisc; a more precise way to put this point would be to say that systems of rule are complex structures with emergent characteristics and that their component elements are describable only in terms of these characteristics. An oligarch is not simply someone who commands and controls “massive concentrations of material resources.” To be an oligarch means to be an owner of great wealth who can use that wealth to exercise political rule, either directly by governing or indirectly by bringing power to bear on government. An oligarch is thus an element in a system of political rule. And what we describe as such is a type or class rather than an individual. Winters, starting at the other end with an attempt to characterize the individual oligarch fails to see this point. He can’t for that reason exclude the possibility of there being a single oligarch; in reality, however, oligarchs are never singular individuals – except, perhaps, in the smallest of socio-political structures (the household) – but typically constitute a class of actors working collectively to their own individual advantage. Looking once more at the current regime, we will surely observe that Trump is not ruling as an individual plutocrat but in unison with an entire oligarchic class. Even in a political system in which a single oligarch governs, we will inevitably find a supporting class of oligarchs participating indirectly in the exercise of political power.
To return to Winters characterization of oligarchy as a system of rule aimed at the defense of wealth. “Throughout history,” Winters writes, “the massive fortunes and incomes of oligarchs have attracted a range of threats, including to private property as a concept or institution. The central political dynamic for oligarchs across the centuries turns on the nature of these threats and how oligarchs defend their wealth against them.” (p. 6) Winters distinguishes, in particular, between property defense and income defense. In societies in which property rights are undefined or weak, oligarchs will have to defend their property from being taken away and they may do so, for instance, with weapons and private armies. In societies with strong property rights, like the United States, oligarchs will not need to take such drastic measures. “With property defense well provided by the state, wealth defense in a civil oligarchy is focused on income defense – the effort to deflect the potentially redistributive predations of an anonymous state.” (p. 36) Wealth defense, so Winters, becomes in this context to a large extent a struggle against taxation.
Winters’ distinction is insightful, but it reflects only one side of oligarchic interests. For oligarchs are typically interested not only in the defense of wealth but also in its acquisition and expansion. A quick view at Trump will show us what has gone wrong with Winters’ attempt at a sharp definition of oligarchy or plutocracy as a concern with wealth defense “constant over time and across cases.” For two things are clear about Donald Trump. The first is that, far from being concerned only with the defense and preservation of his wealth, he is keenly motivated also by a desire to expand that wealth. The second is that in addition to his concern with wealth, Trump has other political agenda items which can be characterized variously as nationalistic, populist, anti-Islamic, racist, etc. Both points deserve our attention.
Though Winters insists that oligarchy should be strictly conceived in terms of the notion of wealth defense, his case studies of oligarchic rule take him quickly beyond that point. Speaking of oligarchy in Indonesia, he writes, for instance, of “a spectacular process of self-enrichment” in which “fortunes were amassed and oligarchs were created by a muscular process of taking, skimming, and outright stealing of the country’s natural resource wealth and its public treasure.” (p. 141) None of this sounds like or is “wealth defense.” The distinction between wealth defense and wealth expansion is, in fact, not as clear as it may look. The oligarchic fight against inheritance taxes may be described as a form of wealth defense since it aims at preserving wealth from one generation to another. But the process of tax-free inheritance leads over time to a greater accumulation of wealth and inheritance taxes are precisely meant to prevent that development. The oligarchic struggle against inheritance taxes can thus also be described as a fight for wealth expansion by means of and in the name of wealth preservation. Winters’ separation of wealth defense and wealth acquisition has, in fact, little to recommend it. It is due only to his insistence on the need for a sharply circumscribed concept of oligarchy. In reality, wealth defense and acquisition are never that far apart.
The blindfolds of Winters’ account become apparent in his account of American-style civil oligarchy which focuses entirely on the process of wealth and income defense and passes completely over the wealth acquisition policies of the oligarchic rich. While Winters’ account of American oligarchy is, no doubt, informative, it is thus also entirely one-dimensional. This limitation is due not least to the fact that his eye is almost wholly on the American system of taxation and, in particular, on income and the inheritance taxes. Winters describes in detail the struggle of the oligarchic rich against the income tax when it was first proposed in 1894 during a “populist” phase in American politics. That struggle came to an end in 1913 with the passing of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. In its initial form, the income tax was designed specifically to tax the very rich. Even by 1939 only 10% of Americans were subject to it. But after the oligarchic rich had failed to prevent the introduction of the income tax, they used their money and political influence to push its application to lower and lower income brackets. And so, by 1947 more than 90% of Americans were subject to it. In that expansion of the reach of the income tax system, the nominal tax rates for the highest income levels declined precipitously. Winters goes on to explain how the very rich went about to exploit the complexities of the tax code to lower their effective tax rate even further using “a cadre of international professionals including tax attorneys, accountants, bankers, brokers, corporate service providers, and trust administrators” for this purpose. The construction of offshore tax havens was one of the outcomes of these maneuvers. There are recent estimates that American oligarch have now moved ca.10% of their assets to such tax havens at an estimated annual loss of $70 billion dollars to the American Treasury. The outcome is that the very rich pay, in effect, taxes at a lower rate than those who are less affluent.
Winters account draws our attention here to another essential feature of the oligarchic system of rule. The material resources available to oligarchs are sufficient to create an entire retinue of supporting actors who will feed off the riches of the oligarchs – sometimes sufficiently so to drain them eventually of their wealth and to establish themselves as a new oligarchic class – or who depend on those riches for their well-being and survival. This retinue will include family, “friends,” servants of various kinds, personal assistants, bankers, lawyers, accountants, private investigators, hired guns, programmers, journalists, academics, profiteers of all sorts, and hangers-on – all of them energized, no doubt, by their own monetary intents and sometimes also by criminal intents. Trump himself is hugged by this retinue from all sides and constantly seeks their company. The existence of such a dependent class helps to anchor and stabilize the oligarchic system. In America today a large retinue of this sort is now in existence. This retinue allows the oligarchic class to exercise a great deal of political power without having to exert itself directly by taking on the visible burdens government on behalf of the oligarchic class.
All this is notable, but Winters does not address the fact that the oligarchic rich do not only use their money and influence to protect their wealth from the tax man and thus seek to preserve it, they also advance policies designed to enhance and expand their wealth. Among such policies are tax cuts for businesses, the removal of “regulations” and “red tape,” subsidies, federal loan programs, insider dealings, the imposition of taxes and tariffs on competitors, and so on. It is obvious then that a definition of oligarchy as exclusively a system of wealth defense isolates one element in political syndrome that needs to be understood in its totality. Again a look at the Trump administration is helpful. While Trump is still struggling to bring about what is called “tax reform,” he has been quietly effective across the board in scrapping business regulations. The envisaged tax reform is meant to bring about, among other things, a further reduction in the nominal tax rate for the very rich and an abolition altogether of the inheritance tax. Trump himself, his family, friends, and associates will certainly benefit from such changes – less perhaps from the reduction of the nominal tax rate since they are already evading actual payment of taxes (Trump himself first and foremost among them) but they will surely benefit considerably from the removal of the inheritance tax. Most of all they will benefit from changes in the system of regulation, subsidy, etc., all of which will help them to accumulate further wealth.
Winters seems blind to the wealth acquisition aspect of oligarchic rule; to be more precise, he does not seriously consider it part of oligarchic rule. And he takes a similar stand with respect to other policy preferences that oligarchs might have. Winters is, in fact, not unaware of the fact that his oligarchs will usually be motivated by more than a defense of their wealth. He writes: “It is not uncommon for oligarchs to engage their material resources across a range of political issues and battles about which they care deeply and yet have nothing to do with wealth defense and oligarchy.” (p. 8) But he goes on to argue that with respect to these issues their power can easily be matched by other actors and that “oligarchs are as likely as any other citizen to cancel each other’s power in various struggles for and against issues” that do not concern the defense of their wealth. (Ibid.) But this conjecture is surely dubious since oligarchs (or plutocrats) throughout history have succeeded in imposing their will on political issues other than their own wealth and have done so as a social group. Oligarchic classes are, in fact, inclined to share political views on numerous issues, not just on the defense of wealth. Winters does not take notice of this precisely he treats the oligarch as an individual rather than a member of an oligarchic class. Winters insists, for that reason, that the term oligarchy should be used to refer “narrowly to a set of wealth-defense issues and politics around which the motives and interests of oligarchs align, are shared, and cohere.” (Ibid.) From this it follows that whenever Trump is acting from motivations other than those of the defense of his wealth he is not acting as an oligarch. But this distinction is highly artificial. For one thing, political agents are typically motivated by more than one motive and even an individual action may result from a set of diverse, not very clearly discerned, not sharply separated, and even contradictory motives.
Winters’ “oligarchic theory” ignores these complexities because it wants to avoid “poorly theorized concepts” (p. 1) It prides itself, in fact, on being “materialist” in character in that it seeks to explain oligarchic rule in terms of the supposedly “material” fact of the possession of large scale resources and their defense and nothing else. But this raises a number of questions to which Winters does not supply an answer. Is the “command and control,” as he puts it, over “massive concentrations of material resources” a purely material fact? When this command and control is based on a supposed right to property, we are certainly well beyond anything narrowly material. Winters’ thesis is, moreover, not just that and command and control massive resources, but that they are motivated to defend their wealth and this is surely a psychological claim and not a material one in the sense that Winters intends. We an therefore call his theory of oligarchy also a psychological theory which as such it relies on dubious and untested assumptions about human motivation.
Winters’ account of oligarchy is most illuminating when he turns from his abstract “oligarchy theory” to his discussion of different forms of oligarchic or plutocratic rule. He distinguishes then between four kinds of oligarchy which he calls warring, ruling, sultanistic, and civil oligarchies and he postulates a rough course of development between them. Of these four forms, he argues, warring oligarchy is the oldest and civil oligarchy the most recent. In warring oligarchies, oligarchs maintain power directly through military force. But: “When oligarchs retain a high and personal role in the provision of coercion, and yet rule collectively and through institutions marked by norms or codes of conduct, the result is a ruling oligarchy.” (p. 35) Ancient Athens and Rome as well as some of the early modern Italian city states exemplify this sort of oligarchy for Winters. In a sultanistic oligarchy political power is controlled by a single oligarch and here Indonesia under General Suharto and the Philippines under President Marcos serve Winters as examples. Finally there is civil oligarchy. “In a pure-form civil oligarchy, oligarchs surrender a major part of their power to an impersonal and institutionalized government in which the rule of law is stronger than all individuals. With property defense well provided by the state, wealth defense in a civil oligarchy is focused on income defense – the effort to deflect the potentially redistributive predations of an anonymous state.” This shows that oligarchy and democracy are not necessarily incompatible. But there is, of course, also “no necessity for a civil oligarchy to be electorally democratic. The United States and India are procedurally democratic; Singapore and Malaysia are soft-authoritarian. All are civil oligarchies.” (p. 36)
This indicates that oligarchy or plutocracy, as I will continue to say, is not a specific form of government but should be called, instead, a form of rule. It can, in some cases, be associated with a democratic form of government. It is thus essential for an understanding of plutocracy to distinguish between forms of rule and forms of government in that there is a distinction between an exercise of political power and the making effective political decisions, on the one hand, and the formal order of government, on the other. The distinction is essential, if we are to assess the significance of the political rise of Donald Trump. Trump was elected to the office of the President through a formal system of democratic election; he holds a democratically established office; and the constitutional system of the American government is still in place. All this may lead us to underestimate the significance of Trump’s rise to power. What may have shifted with his election is the nature of political rule in the United States, and not that of government. But having made the distinction, we also need to understand that the historical record shows that plutocratic rule typically strives to find a specific expression in a form of government and that, under the right conditions, it will lead to the dissolution of democratic forms of government. It is no accident that historical forms of plutocratic rule have regularly turned into principalities. Forms of rule and forms of government, though distinct, are thus not completely unrelated. Winters is certainly right in distinguishing between forms of rule and forms of government. The distinction helps him to bring out that while The United States is (still) a democracy, it exemplifies nevertheless also a form of oligarchy. But this observation, correct as it may be, leads Winters into a complacent and overly simple view of the relation of plutocracy and democracy. He writes: “To argue that the United States is a thriving civil oligarchy does not imply that American democracy is a sham.” (p. 210) And he then goes on to quote himself (and a collaborator) from an earlier article saying that “oligarchy and democracy are not mutually exclusive but rather can coexist comfortably – indeed, can be fused integrally.” He continues: “There are many policies about which oligarchs have no shared interests. Their influence in these realms is either small or mutually canceling. ‘Oligarchy can exist with respect to certain limited but crucial policy issues … at the same time that many other important issues are governed through pluralistic competition or even populistic democracy.’” The relation of forms of rule (i.e., the exercise of political power) and forms of government is certainly complex, but we cannot ignore the fact that forms of rule generally tend to seek appropriate forms of government and that the emergence of plutocratic rule in a democratic state is therefore likely to lead first to deformations of the democratic process and finally to a transformation into another system. I take the taste for palatial design exhibited in Trump’s own penthouse as well as in his resort Mar-a-Lago – one shared by a broad range of plutocrats across the world – to be indicative of these tendencies.
For obvious reasons, our attention is focused right now on American politics. And here it is useful to consider further what Winters writes in Oligarchy. The United States is, according to him a civil oligarchy. “In a civil oligarchy, all oligarchs are fully disarmed, the coercion that defends oligarchic fortunes is provided exclusively by an armed state, civil oligarchy is the only type in which no oligarchs rule (if they hold office, it is never as or for oligarchs), and the coercive state defending property for oligarchs is governed impersonally through bureaucratic institutions.” (p. 208) The development of such an order, which is relatively recent, constitutes, so Winters writes “the single most important transformation in the history of oligarchy.” (Ibid.) As a result “oligarchs are relieved of the violence and the political burdens of defending property themselves.” It is the state that takes on these roles. In this system oligarchs face, however, new threats in the form of taxation and a redistribution of incomes.
But these remarks immediately provoke why an oligarch in the form of Donald Trump should have sought to govern directly. The oligarchic theory that Winters has proposed does not account for this fact. More generally, we can notice that plutocrats have increasingly come to engage themselves in American politics, whether it is the Koch brothers, Charles and David, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebecca, or Gorge Soros. If the American system provides a safe system of property and income defense for the very wealthy, and certainly continues to do so, this increased investment in politics remains unexplained in Winters’ account. The explanation must be sought rather elsewhere: in the increasing accumulation of wealth that has been made possible by technological developments and accompanying processes of globalization. Major concentrations of resources, wealth, and power are no longer held by corporations and controlled by their officers but directly by individuals. Personal wealth and the emergence of a new global class of those holding such wealth has transported us into a new political reality. It is the recognition of this fact that must be the starting-point for an analysis of Trump’s presidency and of the political transitions it signals.
 Jeffrey A. Winters, Oligarchy, Cambridge University Press 2011. The following page references are to this book.
 At the same time he feels compelled to add paradoxically in a footnote: “This is in addition to the victories oligarchs win collectively through the political efforts of bodies that lobby vigorousy on behalf of the ultra-wealthy.” (Ibid)