Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No Surprise - Study Says U.S. Is An Oligarchy

The more money you have, the more say you get in how things get run:

A new study by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities finds that America's government policies reflect the wishes of the rich and of powerful interest groups, rather than the wishes of the majority of citizens. 

The researchers examined close to 1,800 U.S. policy changes in the years between 1981 and 2002; then, they compared those policy changes with the expressed preferences of the median American, at the 50th percentile of income; with affluent Americans, at the 90th percentile of income; and with the position of powerful interest and lobbying groups.
The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism...
Recent research by Larry Bartels and by one of the present authors (Gilens), which explicitly brings the preferences of "affluent" Americans into the analysis along with the preferences of those lower in the income distribution, indicates that the apparent connection between public policy and the preferences of the average citizen may indeed be largely or entirely spurious.
The theory of Economic Elite Domination is fairly self-explanatory. The theory of Biased Pluralism holds that policy outcomes "tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations." In essence, the researchers found that government policy changes are correlated with the wishes of the wealthy and with interest groups, but not with the wishes of the average American—even though the whole idea of "Democracy" is to ensure that the wishes of the majority tend to carry the day.

In short, we live in a "fake democracy" that is really an oligarchy run by our economic elites.


  1. OK. When are we fixing this? I am with you all the way. Oligarchy with fascism on the side, or not on the side.

    1. Alas, with money equating to more voice, this is hard to fix.

  2. Hasn't it always been that way?

    Since the founding of this country, I would say.

  3. So how did the French do it?

  4. Read about the causes of the French Revolution. I doubt very much that too many people in this country would rise up against their masters these days - the spirit of liberty, equality and fraternity is long gone......