Why are Russian Oligarchs Considered Bad, While US Oligarchs are Considered Good?

Executive Summary

  • Russian oligarchs are routinely critiqued as bad, while US oligarchs are promoted positively in the establishment media.
  • We analyze why this is.


This topic started as a discussion around the article How LinkedIn Has Degraded as a Content Platform.

About Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn

The problem is that Microsoft is corrupt. LinkedIn started and continues to pretend it is a community. However, the same way Microsoft treats its customers, where it repeatedly charges them for the same IP (https://www.brightworkresearch.com/how-commercial-software-became-about-charging-multiple-times-for-the-same-ip/), it treats its LinkedIn members as only a source to be monetized. Of course, this makes it more problematic by the large amount of money that Microsoft had to spend on LinkedIn, hence requiring an ROI on a large investment base. This is the repeated problem with acquisitions that all of the initial goodwill within the acquired firm is driven out by rapacious monetization. There is also a problem with Microsoft owning any entity where anything is published. This is because Microsoft opposes freedom of speech and supports only corporate speech, which emanates from PR and marketing departments with zero concern for factual accuracy and is again driven from profit maximization. Every word must be directly tied back to maximizing shareholder value. This dead type of language eventually leads people to tune out the messaging rightly.

This comment gets into how the US economic system works in practice, rather than its advertised way of functioning.

Realize that in the monopolistic oligarchic corporate welfare state corporations realized that monetizing customer/user data is MUCH easier and more profitable than coming up with goods and services, so that’s what they focus on. Facebook, for example, produces absolutely nothing — the entire business is monetization. Since when having more money than God has stopped corporations and oligarchs from wanting more? Look @Bezos. – Fabian Pascal

Censoring a Share on LinkedIn?

And here is another question to ponder., as the previous article was shared on LinkedIn. When will Microsoft censor the share? It’s not profit-maximizing to Microsoft. Why not show an article by a financially biased consultant promoting some new thing in Azure?

“It is so easy to use, and it has a high ROI..bla bla bla.”

Microsoft has no interest in any speech but that which it can monetize. The share will get some views, but only until or if it becomes popular. As soon as Microsoft notices it, they will restrict its viewing in the feed to not be seen. Amazon owns The Washington Post; Salesforce owns Time Magazine. Facebook owns — well, Facebook. Google has absorbed much advertising from content providers and now gets rich from doing close to nothing. Meanwhile, journalists get fired in mass. And Google says, “What, we didn’t do anything.” So why are they allowed to control an influential platform like LinkedIn? This is the regulatory environment we have. Unlimited media consolidation, private and unaccountable tech conglomerates with zero public interest responsibility, determining what will be read and will not be read.

The Decline of LinkedIn’s Technology Under Microsoft

It sucks, and not just for degradation. It has been turned into an advertising machine, there are plenty of system problems, and the only reaction from support is ” clear your cache” or “use a different browser. They always put you to work providing useless info, in the hope you’ll give up. Just one example: recently they made some cosmetic changes to the UI and the system behaves erratically when I try to comment or reply. But it’s temporary — the problem goes away after a while, which clearly cannot be a problem at my end. – Fabian Pascal

That is a great point that touches on something I did not address in the article: LinkedIn’s technology aspect.

Ever since the acquisition, LinkedIn’s website technology and maintenance have gone into a steep decline. This should be a relatively simple thing. Microsoft has to maintain a single site with LinkedIn. It has enormous economies of scale and income, and it only has to maintain one site. However, it cannot do it in a way that provides a competitive experience: most LinkedIn users invested in LinkedIn back when it was independent and a better platform. Then Microsoft came by and degraded the collective investment by purchasing LinkedIn and capturing this investment, and flushing part of it down the toilet. Now the shares are much worse, the good shares are de-emphasized in their algorithm, and the site is rickety. I have a hard time seeing how this won’t happen with GitHub. As you pointed out, LinkedIn has many technical snafus, update problems, etc. This is why I question people using, say, Azure. I can’t trust Microsoft enough to use Azure because Microsoft is more focused on making acquisitions and marketing and sales than the technology side.

The Effect of Monopoly on the Economy and the Rise of US Oligarchs

The enormous buying of companies and monopolization is disastrous for an economy — it kills competition, innovation and respect for consumers. That’s why the US had mechanisms to limit and prevent that. They were all dismantled and we see the consequences: the US is going down the drain, whichever way you look at it. (emphasis added)

Get used to a few oligarchs controlling everything that goes on such that their wealth is preserved and increases and the plebos are kept in line. Nothing else will be tolerated.

Little did Orwell realize that it’s not only communism that devolves into tyranny — capitalism does too. Both of them get corrupted and distorted in the absence of an educated and informed public, which is why it was so important that education was killed in the US and misinformation has been unleashed. – Fabian Pascal

Chomsky explains how Neoliberalism degrades countries. 

This video on the now-ended Bill Moyers program on PBS explains how oligarchical banks receive a yearly subsidy from US taxpayers but are not effectively regulated by the government. Meanwhile, these banks deceive the public into thinking that they are entirely private entities and should not be regulated. These enormous oligopolistic banks function as criminal enterprises. The problem comes in viewing these banks as criminal organizations. 

How is this behavior worse than Russian oligarchs?


And for these oligarchs to be entirely and uncritically celebrated in our media. Bill Gates is a philanthropist. Jeff Bezos is a genius. Something else I find odd. We generally use the term oligarchs to describe Russian billionaires who purchased assets during the great privatization during the drunk Yeltsin years, leading to enormous financial concentration. We have out-of-control billionaires similarly, yet we don’t generally refer to US billionaires as oligarchs. Russian oligarchs are evil (you know, they are Russian), but US oligarchs are virtuous.