Democracy v Oligarchy

If 2020 and 2021 were largely defined by a focus on matters of health and freedom, 2022 is rapidly becoming defined by background matters of governance. Specifically, who holds the power in various important‚Äčelements of our world, and why.

It is becoming more and more apparent that, even in regions of the world where democracy is officially the ruling principle, there is something and someone else underpinning many of the decisions and changes that influence the lives of ordinary people everywhere.

Now more than ever we are able to observe that those with more money than others, with more power in the world of business in particular, are leading on decisions that affect citizens with no such power or wealth. This may come in the form of shaping our media and social media platforms, forming unelected groups to decide how to solve global problems, or applying pressure on governments in unofficial capacities.

Whether this influence is in the spheres of social media, health, politics or any other element of life that touches us all, those who have the massive resources that allow them to buy such influence are the loudest voices by far even in so-called democracies.

And the wealth gap that allows this to happen is only becoming larger and giving even more power to this elite few. 76% of the wealth in the world is now owned by just 10% of the richest people, with the billionaires of the world growing by more than $5.5 trillion over the course of the pandemic.

Since March 2020, the ten richest men on earth have doubled their collective wealth. The poorest half of the planet, in contrast, takes just 8% of global income.

We can see how this wealth gap plays out on the world stage every day, as these super rich yet unaccountable decision-makers push their visions for change on the voting masses.

When such decisions are made by those with undue power and influence, this can become something of a crusade in which the rich and powerful seek to shape the world according to their own grand visions, while being disconnected in the extreme from the daily lives of the people those decisions affect the most. It is a dangerous combination and the path to a dark place.

As family offices bridging the gap between global business and the communities in which we have lived and worked often for generations, it is our unique opportunity to ensure that this imbalance of wealth does not equate to an imbalance of decision-making and power among the citizens of our own regions however we can.