When the word “oligarchy” is mentioned, many are disinclined to believe that things have really progressed to such a point. After all, the very term brings to mind leaders of war who, after violently conquering a territory, hold it in a tight grip while ruling with a totalitarian thrust. However, there are several types of oligarchy, some of which require warfare and others that operate with more subtlety. Recall that the powers that be are aware that their audience is highly educated and intellectual. Thus, a more delicate approach is required to maintain power. What we see today is, as author Jeffrey A. Winters calls it, a civil oligarchy, wherein the ruling individuals “are fully disarmed, do not rule, and submit to the property-defending laws of highly bureaucratic institutional states.”[i] Additionally, civil oligarchy is characteristically marked not by one leader, but by an entrenched collective who often operates cooperatively but separately in pursuit of the same interests.[ii]
These conditions occur when gratuitous quantities of wealth and its accompanying influential power are accumulated by the disproportionate few.[iii] This power is often the type that has become so innate that it is impossible to remove from the setting because it cannot be fully filtered out.[iv] Considering the multifaceted attributes of our modern tech/media collective, this would seem to be the perfect instrument.
Civil oligarchs manage to obtain and keep great wealth and power while maintaining a somewhat low profile politically. That’s not to say they’re not famous, but they are much more powerful than they appear to be to the public. This is an intentional strategy: Protecting wealth requires either a firm hand in retaining it (strong, governmental rule) or a compliant, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” interaction with higher powers. Those with great wealth often find that the right contributions, favors, or purchases in high places afford them powerful friendships and wealth shelter. The governmentally powerful and the extremely affluent often become an intertwined class of characters who can’t easily be separated.[v] Similarly, those who obtain great prosperity also acquire great political power, despite their apparent uninvolvement in government. Their authority is derived via their commerce. These are often people who pursue their agendas behind the mask of large enterprises, contracting masses of “worker bees” who, possibly unknowingly, labor for a deviant schema and a much larger machine than they realize, fervently working “year-round as salaried, full-time advocates and defenders of core oligarchic interests.”[vi] In such conditions, the most powerful people in the world are able to blend into the background, fueling the cycle but keeping a low profile.
As stated, oligarchs usually aren’t political leaders. They’re those who own or command such great resources that they can hold sway over their regions with great influence. Consider what author Jeffrey Winters states regarding the concept:
Oligarchs can be sole or controlling owners of corporations and can use them as personal instruments of power…corporations serve as vehicles to amplify the interests of the oligarchs who command them…[and can] be owned in ways that are highly diffuse and impersonal…run by managerial strata that sometimes include workers or the state.[vii]
The idea of people who hold great power but aren’t political rulers goes way back. Winters states that the concept of oligarchy is far predated by corporations, and that they are merely newer tools to implement a much older strategy of influence. Thus, corporations are not oligarchies within themselves, but are “instruments” used by them.[viii] However, oligarchs have a great need to defend their accumulated wealth, so they often establish and rely on a multifaceted “power substratum” that may involve a political presence or involvement via influence, but often doesn’t include direct governmental involvement. “Instead, the political involvement of oligarchs becomes more indirect as it becomes less focused on property defense—this burden having been shifted to an impersonal bureaucratic state.”[ix]
The current uprising civil oligarchy generated through Big Media and Big Tech presents a setting wherein a select few voices are now positioned to influence media, which inundates the population continuously and demands compliance—or it will silence them. This oligarchy steers the plot by which people will choose, buy, vote, live, perceive truth, and so much more. And multitudes of tools and resources are available to these powers. Politicians are stationed strategically; media then reinforces ideas asserted in politics via TV shows, movies, and music. Don’t think it’s an accident that the emergence of nearly every political hot topic is quickly followed by the broadcast of a movie or television series that romanticizes the issue. It’s an attack from all sides. Society is conditioned by headlines, which are reinforced by entertainment, then followed up politically or philosophically by the introduction of new, more “evolved” ways of thinking. The masses are persuaded that the assertion is the answer to their problems, and they take that brainwashing to the voting booth, to retail lines, and into every other aspect of their decision-making. Some may think this doesn’t sound controlling until they realize that, in this sequence, the oligarchy has utilized one of its most compelling and subtle, dual-level resources: mobilizational power.[x] This cunning tactic operates by stirring and manipulating the masses so they will rally to support an oligarch’s cause for them:
It refers to the individual capacity to move or sway others—the ability to lead people, persuade followers, create networks, invigorate movements, provoke responses, and inspire people to action (including getting them to take risks and make great sacrifices).[xi]
This is the weaponry of the new oligarchy.
An Orwellian Trinity?
It would appear that a third player is emerging in the scheme of controlling partners of world dominance. “Fintech” (financial technology) is the new word referring to organizations that conduct banking and many other transactions through digital means. It represents “an industry encompassing any kind of technology in financial services—from businesses to consumers…through software or other…[digital means] and includes anything from mobile payment apps to cryptocurrency [bitcoin and litecoin, for example]…[and includes transactions made via] the internet, mobile devices, software technology, or cloud services…[and later] funds, trade stocks, pay for food or manage insurance…(and often on your smartphone).”[xii] This includes crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter, any and all consumer- and business-oriented online banking, purchasing, and selling.
At the hub of the Fintech movement stands what is known to some as the Big Three: Vanguard, State Street, and BlackRock. These are the monster corporations that facilitate resource management and financial technology for the largest conglomerates in the world. The most prevalent is the nearly $9 trillion corporation BlackRock,[xiii] which started as an asset-managing company in 1988. Growing over the next three decades to be a super-player in its field, it has even developed a huge impact in Washington, DC, and is now “the largest money manager in the world,”[xiv] operating seventy offices in thirty countries and servicing clients in more than one hundred countries, extending its global reach throughout “North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.”[xv] This firm runs a gargantuan technology operation that manages nearly $22 trillion in assets, and it has influential shares with Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company)[xvi] and “a stake of 5 percent or more in nearly 98 percent of firms in the S&P 500 index including Apple, Microsoft, J. P. Morgan Chase, [and] Wells Fargo…[and is the] world’s largest shareholder in fossil fuels.”[xvii] (Do you see how all the superpowers seem to be sitting at the same table?) Its assets and managed assets include nearly everything covered in the earlier explanation of Fintech, but this anomalous company also owns such curious resources as “stakes in Mexican toll roads, hospitals, gas pipelines, prisons, oil exploration businesses, and a coal-fired power plant,” along with interests in some of Canada’s road and bridge projects and other surprising holdings.[xviii] The corporation’s executive staff has been made up of many who have worked in prominent political positions, such as Barack Obama’s national security advisor Thomas Donilon and Coryann Stefansson, who served in the New York Federal Reserve Bank.[xix]
Particularly interesting about BlackRock is that it is slated to play a key role in Biden’s administration; in fact, the recently inaugurated has seated several BlackRock figures in Washington. For example, Biden named former BlackRock global head and Obama administration economic advisor Brian Deese as director of the National Economic Council.[xx] BlackRock global chief investment strategist, Mike Pyle, holds experience in Washington, DC, via his position serving the Obama administration, and was named to serve the Biden administration in the capacity of chief economic advisor for Vice President Kamala Harris.[xxi] It is also noted that the Biden administration set its sights on BlackRock former chief of staff Adewale Adeyemo, and it was rumored that Chief Executive Larry Fink “will serve as a top official at Treasury,” although, as of now, Fink asserts he plans to stay at BlackRock.[xxii]
Fintech is the means by which the entire world’s money will soon be moving. It will be controlled by oligarchs who use big corporations to control the cultural and political narrative, the constant digital delivery of propaganda, and…the supply of nearly all material necessities around the globe. The way our needs are met is rapidly becoming all-digital, all-controllable, all-obstructable. Access can be cut off immediately, and in a cashless society, what are we to do but comply with powers that be in order to keep access to our livelihood? If you don’t think this is already on the horizon, ask yourself this question: How many cash or check transactions have you conducted in the past few years—especially after the onset of the COVID-19 crisis? How much did you begin to purchase online rather than from a physical store? How many times—even at a restaurant or grocery store—have you conducted the entire selection and payment transaction from your smartphone or home computer before merely driving up and receiving your purchases? Even more, despite the hit that the economy took as a byproduct of the COVID-19 crisis, do you find it surprising that BlackRock’s assets rose 19 percent between December of 2019 and January of 2021?[xxiii] While our local economies struggled, Fintech made a killing. On the matter of transitioning toward a world more reliant on Fintech during the pandemic, Larry Fink stated, “It has led to a profound shift in economies and how societies even operate, creating opportunities to redesign our society.”[xxiv]
So what type of “redesign” could we be looking at? It would certainly appear that the system is coming into place, with key corporations, people, and powers waiting at the ready for their final quest. Recall that this one firm (BlackRock) has a global reach, agents in the White House, and a stronghold on digital banking, which impacts nearly everyone on the planet.
Putting this all together, we begin to see the pieces form an unholy trinity, of sorts. Big Media asserts the agenda and propaganda, but cannot carry out its directive without its vehicle, Big Tech. This powerful partner drives the message into the homes, schools, workplaces, scenery, and even the pockets and purses of the entire population until the saturation seems inescapable. The third partner in this, Fintech, works to pull all financial transactions and banking into digital format, which will keep the population obediently connected, for fear of losing access to their monies.
We Ten Kings…
There is an interesting and potentially prophetic element where this Orwellian trinity is concerned. In Revelation 17, we see a series of events unfolding that lead to the rise of the harlot of Babylon, the ascent of the Beast’s power, and eventually the devouring of the harlot and Babylon’s fall. Without delving into a huge study of Revelation here, I will summarize a potential interpretation of some key passages in light of all we’ve discussed in this series thus far.
First, notice that Revelation 17:12–13 states:
And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
Next, let’s take a moment to investigate the picture Revelation chapter 17 is revealing: In verse 7, we see the Beast carrying the woman, whom many believe represents the apostate church.[xxv] The oft-debated seven mountains mentioned in verse 10 symbolize a seat of power in prophetic language.[xxvi] (This could mean seven prominent dominions from the time of Rome moving forward, or it could mean, as some believe, that “the reference to the seven mountains identifies the city as Rome, the place from which the false religious system of the last days will be directed.”)[xxvii]
Moving forward, let’s connect the shocking dots between verses 12 and 13, and the subsequent events:
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:16)
Next, in Revelation 18, we see Babylon fall, ending an era wherein the kings of the earth have enjoyed time of drunkenness and fornication with her—a time when “the merchants of the earth…[were] waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (verse 3). When Babylon falls, observe the type of devastation that is foretold. Particularly, notice the vast list of industries affected by this catastrophic event:
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning.… And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing…And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. (Revelation 18:9, 11–15, 19)
We see that ten mysterious, kingdom-less kings stand with the harlot for one hour (not a literal sixty-minute period, but a measured era of time). When judgment falls, it appears that a cataclysmic, worldwide economic shutdown occurs. This is an event so devastating that merchants are stunned, commerce is halted, and there is no apparent strategy for recovery. Everyone simply stands paralyzed, in a state of mourning.
As the harlot facilitates the Beast’s rise to power, the ten rulers of intangible dominions are key players, operating “with one mind…[giving] their power and strength unto the beast” (Revelation 17:13). In a possible interpretation, these rulers of immaterial provinces use their resources—which seem to operate with a strange type of “sameness”—to prop up the Beast’s system, by which “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). However, when Babylon and the Beast fall, the ten kings are defeated as well. Notice also that the ten kings loathe the harlot and make war with her (Revelation 17:16).
So, what do these prophetic elements represent?
If the harlot is the apostate church, then it appears that powerful people make nice with her, exploiting her naiveté while she endorses the Beast, until the first opportunity surfaces for her to be taken out of the picture. This is happening now. As high-end religious leaders call for a one-world religion that increasingly sells out for a syncretistic, new, “politically correct” assembly, the Beast-facilitating, apostate following is already rising to power while the harlot’s counterpart—the true and faithful Body of Christ—is being driven toward privatization via such elements as “hate speech.” The Church is heading for a split, one that drives the true Body of Christ underground while the “Hooray for Everything”[xxviii] bunch plays in high places with no idea it’s soon to fall prey to the big dogs.
But, consider the ten anomalous rulers who facilitate the Antichrist’s economic system—one that will prohibit any kind of buying or selling without proper access (mark). The kings who operate with an enigmatic “sameness” have “no kingdoms.”
Their dominion is intangible. Perhaps it is digital…
And when they fall, so does the world’s economy.
As has been stated, Big Media is currently dominated by six corporations. Big Tech holds five. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Fintech is made up of three, but is rapidly falling under the domain of one, which is asserting its dominance worldwide, and in high places. As of today, this totals fourteen entities if we count the entire Orwellian trinity. We could likely be only a few corporate buyouts away from seeing ten world-ruling powers who have no palpable kingdoms.
Just a few more conglomerate mergers, and the ten could ascend to claim their thrones.
In fact, looking back on chapter 1 of this book, the importance of the names of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and the biblical argument that providence often connects the meaning of national leaders’ names to the destiny of nations will help us dive deeply into revelations about America’s Orwellian future that few have ever contemplated.
i] Jeffrey Winters, Oligarchy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011) Kindle Format. Location 233.
[ii] Ibid., 36.
[iii] Ibid., 239.
[iv] Ibid., 4.
[v] Ibid., 209.
[vi] Ibid., 18.
[vii] Ibid., 206.
[viii] Ibid., 199.
[ix] Ibid., 7.
[x] Ibid., 15.
[xii] Anne Sraders, “What Is Fintech? Uses and Examples in 2020.” TheStreet.com, February 11, 2020. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.thestreet.com/technology/what-is-fintech-14885154.
[xiii] Paul La Monica, “BlackRock Now Has a Whopping $8.7 Trillion in Assets,” CNN Business. January 14, 2021. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/14/investing/blackrock-earnings-ishares-etfs/index.html.
[xiv] Rebecca Ungarino, “Here Are 9 Fascinating Facts to Know about BlackRock, the World’s Largest Asset Manager Popping Up in the Biden Administration,” Business Insider. January 8, 2021. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/what-to-know-about-blackrock-larry-fink-biden-cabinet-facts-2020-12.
[xv] “Global Impact: Worldwide Reach. Local Service and Relationships.” BlackRock.com. 2021. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/about-us/global-impact#:~:text=With%2070%20offices%20in%2030,the%20Middle%20East%20and%20Africa.
[xvi] Ungarino, “Here Are 9 Fascinating Facts.”
[xvii] Meagan Day, “Joe Biden’s BlackRock Cabinet Picks Show the President-Elect Is Ready and Eager to Serve the Rich,” Jacobinmag.com 2020. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://jacobinmag.com/2020/12/wall-street-joe-biden-transition-cabinet-blackrock.
[xviii] David Dayen, “How BlackRock Rules the World,” American Prospect. September 27, 2018. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://prospect.org/economy/blackrock-rules-world/.
[xix] Ungarino, “Here Are 9 Fascinating Facts.
[xx] Franco Ordonez, “Biden Names BlackRock’s Brian Deese as His Top Economic Aide,” NPR.org. December 3, 2020. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/biden-transition-updates/2020/12/03/942205555/biden-names-blackrocks-brian-deese-as-his-top-economic-aide.
[xxi] Annie Massa, “BlackRock Exec Picked as Kamala Harris’s Top Economic Advisor,” Bloomberg.com. January 8, 2021. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-08/blackrock-s-pyle-picked-as-kamala-harris-s-top-economic-adviser.
[xxii] Ungarino, “Here Are 9 Fascinating Facts,” Business Insider. January 8, 2021. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/what-to-know-about-blackrock-larry-fink-biden-cabinet-facts-2020-12.
[xxiii] La Monica, Paul. “BlackRock Now Has a Whopping $8.7 Trillion in Assets.” CNN Business. January 14, 2021. Last accessed March 3, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/14/investing/blackrock-earnings-ishares-etfs/index.html.
[xxiv] La Monica, “BlackRock Now Has a Whopping $8.7 Trillion in Assets.”
[xxv] George Westlake & David Duncan, Daniel and Revelation, 4th ed. (Springfield, MO: 2013) 229.
[xxvi] The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: 2016) 2487.
[xxvii] Westlake & Duncan, 229.
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