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> "How does money = power, though? In a free society, money/wealth can only come to agents who exhibit extremely PRO-social behaviors"

Of course Money = Power, and has ever since the dawn of civilization.

Because the Rothschilds, and Rockefellers and Morgans have nearly all the World's Money, they have been able to systematically buy-out and hollow-out Governments (to control them), and also rig any alleged "free" (or non-free) market to their favor.

I agree with your theory, that in a perfectly pure "free market" this would be self-regulating over time. But this is just an academic abstraction, that has never existed in reality....ever.

It is like believing in flying Unicorns. No "free market" could possibly exist, when the people who have all the money seek to dominate, distort, and control any such market by using (guess) ....their money..., and the power of that money. It's never a fair fight.

Money = ownership = power (and ultimate control).

It's called Bribery, and unfortunately bribery always works because money is always a requirement to do anything in our society. This is the very thing that our Founding Fathers feared most of all. When Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of a government we had, he replied: "A Republic, if you can keep it." He wasn't so sure. His concerns were validated.

President Lincoln said:

"The money powers preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me & the financial institutions [ Private Banks ] at the rear, the latter is my greatest foe.

Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed."

--President Lincoln

This is exactly what we have. These people knew that the system was inadequate, and doomed to fail even back then.

Our Constitutional system failed, because the only Watchdog on the government was the government itself assuring its demise. So once privately-held wealth (Rothschilds, Rockefeller) had infiltrated the government and the Election system, there was nothing to ever stop or resist it.

Similarly, with no regulations on how many TV Stations Ruppert Murdoch can own, and no regulations on Wall Street, Foreign Banks, Multinationals, the War Establishment, the Pharmaceutical Industry, Insurance, etc., ...with their money...they will try to control and dominate everything.

And there is nothing to stop them, because they have the power (through money) to buy-out Corporations, buy the Airwaves, buy-out the government, and destroy all the small businesses and have them replaced with Walmarts.

There is no fairness, when the wealthy elites can do whatever they wish.