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Doktor
18 Apr 14,, 12:41
Report by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern universities suggests that US political system serves special interest organisations, instead of voters

The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

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 organised 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 the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organisations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised 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 favour 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 is merely a coincidence, the report says, with the the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

The theory of "biased pluralism" that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the US system fits holds that policy outcomes "tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations."

The study comes in the wake of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial Supreme Court decision which allows wealthy donors to contribute to an unlimited number of political campaigns.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html

tankie
18 Apr 14,, 14:09
Report by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern universities suggests that US political system serves special interest organisations, instead of voters

The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

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 organised 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 the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organisations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised 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 favour 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 is merely a coincidence, the report says, with the the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

The theory of "biased pluralism" that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the US system fits holds that policy outcomes "tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations."

The study comes in the wake of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial Supreme Court decision which allows wealthy donors to contribute to an unlimited number of political campaigns.

The US is an oligarchy, study concludes - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html)

UK is the same but UKIP is making massive inroads into their strongholds , unelected megga bucks camoron n his coalition shysters are heading for a big fall thanks to N Farage and UKIP who is rekindling my interest in politics .The shites have just awarded thereselves a 12% payrise while nurses , military , essential services etc have to be told to tighten their belts and accept a 1 percent payrise while the cost of living rises , but not for the c###s who are in power while sitting on their millions .The UK being one of the richest nations gives away billions while its own citizens are now becoming dependent on food banks , go figure :mad:

Bullfrog
26 Apr 14,, 01:54
The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens

The US government is not suppose to represent the interest of the majority. We are a republic, not a democracy. They are suppose to represent the law of the land.

omon
26 Apr 14,, 02:01
I always thought we lived by golden rule.

Gun Grape
26 Apr 14,, 04:17
I always thought we lived by golden rule.

Would that be

"He who owns the gold, makes the rules"

bonehead
27 Apr 14,, 20:49
Would that be

"He who owns the gold, makes the rules"



Is it any wonder that those who own the gold wants so desperately to disarm the rest.

astralis
28 Apr 14,, 14:08
bonehead,


Is it any wonder that those who own the gold wants so desperately to disarm the rest.

heh, if that's so i guarantee you the gun landscape would look far different than today. NRA has never been stronger.

astralis
28 Apr 14,, 14:31
bullfrog,


The US government is not suppose to represent the interest of the majority. We are a republic, not a democracy. They are suppose to represent the law of the land.

that's not quite what a republic is, either. that's just any gov with the rule of law.

more accurately the republican form of government IS supposed to represent the interests of the majority (as well as the minority, of course). it is, however, left to the representatives to decide how best to carry out the interests.

this was a huge Republican talking point in the 80s/90s about how they distinguished themselves from the populist Dems-- largely to explain why they voted for policies that just-so-incidentally benefited the elite most of all.

Doktor
28 Apr 14,, 14:35
this was a huge Republican talking point in the 80s/90s about how they distinguished themselves from the populist Dems-- largely to explain why they voted for policies that just-so-incidentally benefited the elite most of all.

The Democrats don't do that? :eek:

astralis
28 Apr 14,, 14:46
doktor,

of course they do. but dems have a different set of hypocrises (as do the republicans today).

zraver
03 May 14,, 07:02
Free trade (out flow of wealth) as opposed to fair trade combined with tax laws that encourage keeping profits off shore combined with massive corporate welfare have crushed the American Dream. Both parties establishments are guilty of backing the the 1% of 1% over everyone else. So ya we are an Oligarchy or a Banktocracy.

bonehead
03 May 14,, 07:14
bonehead,



heh, if that's so i guarantee you the gun landscape would look far different than today. NRA has never been stronger.

Sorry but no. The big financial backing for even more gun control comes from the 1% and the government. Of course the NRA has never been stronger. The NRA is the front that protects our Constitutional rights which are threatened by more and more special interests groups every day.

Triple C
03 May 14,, 09:55
Good study, but hardly news. See The Irony of Democracy: An Uncommon Introduction to American Politics (http://www.amazon.com/The-Irony-Democracy-Uncommon-Introduction/dp/0495802700), which had ran sixteen editions. It makes the argument via statistical studies and the detailed examination of the legislative record that most high-powered politicians, campaign donations and public policy originated from and usually serves the interest of a group of well-neigh hereditary elites, and the political system is structured in a way that insulates the ruling organs from democratic will. The people's real (as opposed to apparent) freedom of choice is highly constrained. It also suggest that ultimately all political systems are in some sense oligarchic.

Don't take it as a jibe, Doktor, just thought it a good place to throw in a text book I really enjoyed.

neoconish
03 May 14,, 13:53
Whereas the study points out problems particular to the US, the ultimate conclusion is intellectually lazy at best.

The study concludes that the "that economic elites and organised 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" (emphasis mine).

Oligarchy (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/oligarchy?q=oligarchy), by contrast, signifies a "small group of people having control of a country or organization" (emphasis mine).

The inability to distinguish the inequality of influence from that of direct control is indicative of how those reading the study have willfully distorted its conclusion. In no way does it undermine the biased pluralism of a constitutional republic.

JAD_333
03 May 14,, 22:54
Report by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern universities suggests that US political system serves special interest organisations, instead of voters

The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

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 organised 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 the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organisations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised 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 favour 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 is merely a coincidence, the report says, with the the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

The theory of "biased pluralism" that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the US system fits holds that policy outcomes "tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations."

The study comes in the wake of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial Supreme Court decision which allows wealthy donors to contribute to an unlimited number of political campaigns.

The US is an oligarchy, study concludes - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html)


Dok: They're not describing an oligarchy, nor do they mention the word, but I see your point. In fact, what their research shows is that nothing much has changed in the US since 1789. The rich and well-connected have always influenced legislation, but the legislators can't afford to ignore what the common folk want...I mean, they need votes to get elected, and there are not enough rich people to outvote ordinary citizens. And I'll go out on a limb here and speculate that not everything the rich, business types want is against the interests of the people. Our early railroad barons bribed every legislator in sight to get subsidies and land concessions from the government, but in the end, the people got a railroad system that greatly benefited them and the economy. And we have tons of regulations affecting the aircraft, automobile and food industries, and so on, all designed with the public in mind. etc...

Doktor
03 May 14,, 23:11
JAD, it is not my point, Telegraph editor needed hype.

However, the conclusion that "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised 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 favour policy change, they generally do not get it." is worrisome, not only for USA, but for countries like mine where we see you and EU as role-models.

BTW, I can agree that not always Joe the public has the vision on what's good for him in a long run.

JAD_333
03 May 14,, 23:40
JAD, it is not my point, Telegraph editor needed hype.

Ah...you're forgiven.


However, the conclusion that "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose.

I think that depends on what interests we're talking about. Business often seeks narrow changes or additions to law that affects very few people, and not to the disadvantage of the country. I was a congressional staffer and occasionally had contact with 'special interests'. Sometime their proposals made sense; sometimes they didn't. The unions, from my experience, were among the worse. They commanded many votes so they could muscle through much of the legislation they wanted, not always for the good of country.



Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it." is worrisome, not only for USA, but for countries like mine where we see you and EU as role-models.

Yes, it is a difficult and lengthy process to bring about legislation for the pubic good. Sometimes it is because special interests stand in the way or want modifications to make change easier on them. But overall our legislative process was deliberately designed to make it hard to create new laws. That's can be a curse or a blessing. It's a curse when a new law is so obviously needed but is delayed for years, but other times the process of committee hearings and floor debates exposes good reason not to pass a certain proposed law. Then it's a blessing.



BTW, I can agree that not always Joe the public has the vision on what's good for him in a long run.

Like Obamacare? :biggrin:

Triple C
04 May 14,, 14:12
The difference is that a democracy allocates sovereign rights to the people as a matter of law. That is a significant restraint on the power of the few. Otherwise, in any political system or even a small groups of people, leadership is almost always claimed by a small number. Heck, even the high Stalinist/Maoist state is a rule of several "oligarchs".

Versus
05 May 14,, 14:28
When I was in the US it was plutcoracy or plutonomy, but more or less its the same thing. But still, it is somewhat better than the Kleptocracy, the system where I live now.