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In reality the United States is a democratic oligarchy, as government by and for the many, and government by and for the few. Both systems exist simultaneously. The many are the masses of Americans and the few are those with the greatest control over its economic capacities. The democracy is overt, continuously publized and touted; the oligarchy is invisible, operating behind the scenes, and pulling strings by the power of primarily money, but intimidation and force when necessary. The democracy in general acts in the interests of the non-oligarchial segments of society while the oligarchy acts almost exclusively in its own interest. The mass media continuously publize the activities of the democracy and at the same time never exposes the existence of the oligarchy.

The democracy in theory operates from the bottom up where the many vote for the representative few, and the oligarchy operates from the top down, where the few manipulate the many. The oligarchy is comprised of the people with the most money, influence and power. The oligarchy is based around various units as families, associations, businesses and corporations. These units act for the benefit of themselves, its other members as a whole when it is necessary or suitable, and will contend with each other when it is not. Oligarchy can be classified into two types as the old and the new. The old is based on families that are old and established and have accumulated large holdings and wherein succession is by birthright. The new is the neuvo-rich that is comprised of some families, but primarily in these times, it is the power of the corporations that are owned by numerous individuals, but that are controlled by the few. The oligarchy exists world wide within every country, excepting for communist nations such as Cuba or China, where a primary goal is to get rid of the oligarchies. However it seems to be the case that new oligarchies come into being within the state government apparatus. This is natural to government policy that is stated as materialist. The oligarchies of various countries often contend with one another as imperialist ambitions.