Friday, April 18, 2014

Is America an Oligarchy?

Is America an oligarchy? That’s what two Princeton researchers concluded after conducting a scientific study.  The authors, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, examined data from policy initiatives from the 80’s until 2002.

They conclude that "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."  Gilens and Page argue that these decisions are made by lobbying and business groups and by people in the 90th percentile of income. And the gap between the ultra wealthy and everyone else, as the two graphs show, continue to increase.

According to this story in  Policy Mic "Big corporations, the ultra-wealthy and special interests with a lot of money and power essentially make all of the decisions. Citizens wield little to no political power. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call "democracy" — systems such as majoritarian electoral democracy or majoritarian pluralism, under which the policy choices pursued by the government would reflect the opinions of the governed."

Vox also has a good story about the study as well.

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