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Millions of dollars are pumped into election by billionaires
T he emergence of billionaires does not remain confined to the developed world. Their growing presence, influence and interest in politics of world’s richest individuals raises many questions especially in developing countries. Can money and billionaires make politics more people friendly when people in developing countries hate politics? Or will it mark the return of ‘billioanophobia’?
A close analysis of the role and impact of billionaires’ interest in politics in developed world can help illustrate the point. Russian & Ukrainian billionaires kept close ties with both communist and pro-western parties which divulged their ideologies, political aims to common citizens. However, the trend has become evident when American billionaires started donating or raising funds for democrats and republics openly. George Soros, the hedge fund billionaire has donated over $5 billion to various political and philanthropic groups in last three decades. Private equity tycoon Ronald Burkle is the Clintons’ good friend who has raised over $20 million for democrats in the US election campaign. This has become the norm for rich Americans, from Warren Buffet to Jim Walton. However, people in the developing world are also getting richer. Though most billionaires on the Forbes list are from the developed world, a majority of new inclusions are from developing countries too. Billionaires in Asia have increased to 50. The picture in Africa and Middle East is also same. The region is now home to 26 billionaires, including six newcomers, with a total worth of $85 billion.
However, the emergence of billionaires means many positive ramifications in the economy and standard of living of the fellow citizens in developing countries. With that, can their interest and affiliation with politics and significant contributions in politics and election campaigns make politics more popular or interesting among uneducated common citizens? Or will their emergence just result in taking over of the bureaucracy where citizens are misguided in choosing their representatives, leaders!
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