06 November 2014

America functions as an oligarchy, not as a democracy

Who really matters in our democracy — the general public, or wealthy elites? That's the topic of a new study by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. The study's been getting lots of attention, because the authors conclude, basically, that the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter...
The Vox link discusses these conclusions in some detail.  This graph shows the probability of a policy being adopted by the U.S. vs the percentage of the general population that agrees with the policy:

And this one shows the approval probability vs the preferences of the economic elite and special interest groups:

The study is here.  This from their Abstract:
Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The 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.


  1. Stan,
    This could have gone side be side with the health care article above.

  2. And, to simplify the multisyllabic paragraph above, it's the Golden Rule, "If you got the gold, you make the rules."

    Whatever happened to "government of the people, by the people and for the people"?

  3. Until we stop blaming those with the least for all our ills and misfortunes, and buying into the "grass roots" propaganda machine of multibillionaires like the Kochs, we will continue to vote for, follow and idolize those who look upon us as nothing but the pawns we have allowed ourselves to become.

    Soon to be Senate Majority Leader Mitch O'Connell won in large part because of his pro stance on Big Coal. Meanwhile, his gun ho, yahoo supporters were completely oblivious to the fact that his filthy rich wife is in the business of shipping in cheap coal from... Columbia (along with a little blow on the side).

    BTW- Her shipping company avoids U.S. taxes and labor law by registering in the Marshall Islands and flagging their ships through Liberia.


    Civilizations in the final stages of decay are dominated by elites out of touch with reality.
    -Chris Hedges


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