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Wed Apr 23, 2014, 01:20 PM

The US is an oligarchy, study concludes

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favor special interests and lobbying organizations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it."

The positions of powerful interest groups are "not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens", but the politics of average Americans and affluent Americans sometimes does overlap. This merely a coincidence, the report says, with the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

More at link...

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after a bit of googling, I wasn't able to locate a single U.S. news outfit that carried this story.

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Reply The US is an oligarchy, study concludes (Original post)
Javaman Apr 2014 OP
Gothmog Apr 2014 #1
deutsey Apr 2014 #2

Response to Javaman (Original post)

Wed Apr 23, 2014, 02:48 PM

1. Talking Points Memo had a great interview with the author of this study

TPM had a great interview with the author of this study yesterday http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/princeton-scholar-demise-of-democracy-america-tpm-interview This question and answer really stood out

Let's talk about the study. If you had 30 seconds to sum up the main conclusion of your study for the average person, how would you do so?

I'd say that contrary to what decades of political science research might lead you to believe, ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States. And economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence. Government policy-making over the last few decades reflects the preferences of those groups -- of economic elites and of organized interests.

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Response to Javaman (Original post)

Wed Apr 23, 2014, 02:54 PM

2. I think the brick wall at the back of the theater is finally revealed.

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

Frank Zappa

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