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Prof. Lingelbach: More Oligarchs Moving from Business to Politics

March 8, 2017
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Writing in The Huffington Post, David C. Lingelbach, associate professor of entrepreneurship in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business, contemplates the impact of business oligarchs moving into the world of politics—and what that migration might mean for ordinary people.

Lingelbach says there are two types of oligarchs, political and business, and he counts the number of the latter assuming positions of leadership as heads of state, governor, mayor, etc. He notes that that number has been climbing for several years now, and may be at a peak in 2017.

"While we don't have good data on scholarly assessments of these actors' reputations while in government, it seems fair to say that these reputations vary widely," Lingelbach writes. "I have not been able to find instances since 1945 of business oligarchs being regarded as great political leaders. Many of their administrations were marked by scandal and accusations of corruption. At this stage, it is difficult to sort out if this is due to the institutional environments in which they worked, if it is due to being 'bad apples,' or if it is due to some other reason or reasons."

While he notes that it is clear what business oligarchs are seeking when they enter politics—power—it is less obvious whether they can make a convincing argument for holding high office, or even influencing powerful people from behind the scenes.

"There's a lot that we don’t know about business oligarchs. How do they move from wealth to power? Which business oligarchs are more likely to make this move successfully?" Lingelbach asks. "Are they more likely to be effective once in office compared to others coming from different backgrounds?

Read the article in The Huffington Post.

Learn more about Prof. Lingelbach and the Merrick School of Business.


Last Published 6/9/16