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Colombian financial oligarchy

Garcia, Gonzalo (1976) Colombian financial oligarchy. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this research is to analyse the social, economic and political organization of the “financial oligarchy” of Colombia. In the study the author attempts to determine whether the financial oligarchy is a class, a fraction of a class, an isolated social group, or an institution. Furthermore, he strives to determine whether the financial oligarchy is part of the capitalist class itself, and if the financial oligarchy could be a ruling class or if the capitalist class as a whole could be considered as the ruling class. In order to present a clearer view of the political and economic role of the financial oligarchy the author studies their main economic institution, “the financial group” to determine whether it is a private enterprise, a family firm, a corporation, a monopoly of financial institutions or a colescence of banking and industrial monopoly associations. Further, the author analyses the financial and credit system and the function of credit in the process of production, in the reproduction of capital and in the concentration and centralization of capital. It is also the attempt of this research to establish the location within the financial groups of the very top men, and if the top financiers are a distinct breed of men, or if they are merely a miscellaneous collection of Colombians. Does the financial oligarchy consist of a cross-section of Colombians who happen to be successful, or are they a quite uniform social type which has had exceptional advantages of origin and training? How have they climbed to the top levels of Colombian finance capital? How have they maintained their positions and how does job recruitment take place? Studying the social mobility of the Colombian financial oligarchy the author develops two different types of movements. The first, a vertical movement, is moving from a lower occupational background to a position in the financial oligarchy – movement out of the occupation of the father, through a succession of positions to a position in the financial oligarchy. The second, a horizontal movement, is from a financial background to a position in the financial oligarchy – movement through a series of occupations with the intention of establishing in their own persons the position their father occupied in the financial oligarchy. These two movements give rise to two main groups: “The mobile oligarchy” and “the birth oligarchy”. At the same time, the “mobile financial oligarchy” can be divided into two groups: “The well-born mobile oligarchy” and “the social-climber mobile oligarchy” The “social-climber” moves from an occupational background out of the capitalist class of landowner class to a position in the financial oligarchy. And the “well-born” move from a capitalist (agricultural, commercial and industrial bourgeoisie) or landowner background to a position in the financial oligarchy. The financial capital is controlled by financial groups, which are composed of a linkage of banks, insurance companies, financial corporations, savings and loan corporations, wharehouses, investment trusts, development funds, the central bank and great commercial and industrial enterprises. This linkage is affected by a small number of individuals: top shareholders, chairman of the boards, presidents, vice-presidents, and others, who comprise top management. They may thus be said to preside over a combination of functions and thereby acquire a good measure of control over a slice of capitalism’s sphere of operations. The author demonstrates that the separation of ownership and control in Colombian financial oligarchy does not exist. In the first place, the managers are very often owner; secondly, even when managers are not important shareholders in their own groups, they are usually quite wealthy men; thirdly, they are mutually interested in high profits and profitable expansion; and fourthly, the recruitment of managers and shareholders is predominantly from the upper strata of society. In conclusion, the advent of finance capital has created an oligarchy within the capitalist class itself. The top groupings of finance capital have constituted collectively the top stratum of the capitalist class, and in effect, decide policy, acting not simply with a view of their own particular interests but from their conception of the interests of their class as a whole. The political rule of the finance capital is not a matter of absolute power. It is a matter of pursuing class interests in conditions of class struggle on a national and international scale.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1976
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:38

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