Monday, August 24, 2015

Peter Radford — Plutocracy?

The 2012 Page, Bartels, and Seawright paper makes interesting reading. I came across it via the Krugman blog and recommend it to you all.
The key is that this is a first small attempt to quantify the difference in perspective between the ‘wealthy’ and the ‘general public’. The paper is thus an important step along the way towards understanding why it is that so much of our political discourse seems totally blind to the reality as experienced by the vast majority of our citizens.
If, like me, you have come to believe that our policy makers have a narrow focus and that their focus overlaps more with that of the wealthy and/or big business than it does with ordinary folk, then this paper is a start to getting empirical support for that feeling.
The paper’s concluding paragraph is worth quoting in full:

“Even without being able to gauge the actual political power of wealthy citizens, we can confidently reject the view that extensive political power by the wealthy would be of little practical importance anyway because their political preferences are much the same as everyone else’s. On many important issues the preferences of the wealthy appear to differ markedly from those of the general public. Thus, if policy makers do weigh citizens’ policy preferences differentially based on their income or wealth, the result will not only significantly violate democratic ideals of political equality, but will also affect the substantive contours of American public policy.”
This is the point: the ability of wealth to affect policy, substantially increased by recent trends and legal decisions, is subverting the very foundation of America’s self-image and self-justification. It is no longer a democracy, or is nearly so, and is rapidly declining into plutocracy.….
The Radford Free Press
Plutocracy?Peter Radford

Also Market Truths Or Obscured Views?

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