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    Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has & It's Not a Democracy

    Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It's Not a Democracy

    By Tom McKay 14 hours ago
    172 Comments|35280 Shares

    Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It's Not a Democracy

    The news:
    A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn't a democracy any more. And they've found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
    An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
    For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
    It's beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
    That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren't in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
    This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think, as mapped by these graphs from the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities:






    Piketty and Saez also calculated that as of September 2013 the top 1% of earners had captured 95% of all income gains since the Great Recession ended. The other 99% saw a net 12% drop to their income. So not only is oligarchy making the rich richer, it's driving policy that's made everyone else poorer.

    What kind of oligarchy?
    As Gawker's Hamilton Nolan explains, Gilens and Page's findings provide support for two theories of governance: economic elite domination and biased pluralism. The first is pretty straightforward and states that the ultra-wealthy wield all the power in a given system, though some argue that this system still allows elites in corporations and the government to become powerful as well. Here, power does not necessarily derive from wealth, but those in power almost invariably come from the upper class. Biased pluralism on the other hand argues that the entire system is a mess and interest groups ruled by elites are fighting for dominance of the political process. Also, because of their vast wealth of resources, interest groups of large business tend to dominate a lot of the discourse. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call "democracy."
    In either case, the result is the same: 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.

    Nothing new:
    And no, this isn't a problem that's the result of any recent Supreme Court cases — at least certainly not the likes FEC v. Citizens United or FEC v. McCutcheon. The data is pretty clear that America has been sliding steadily into oligarchy for decades, mirrored in both the substantive effect on policy and in the distribution of wealth throughout the U.S. But cases like those might indicate the process is accelerating.
    "Perhaps economic elites and interest group leaders enjoy greater policy expertise than the average citizen does," Gilens and Page write. "Perhaps they know better which policies will benefit everyone, and perhaps they seek the common good, rather than selfish ends, when deciding which policies to support.

    "But we tend to doubt it."


    http://www.policymic.com/articles/87...ampaign=social
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    Chomsky: The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracy

    The MIT professor lays out how the majority of U.S. policies are opposed to what wide swaths of the public want

    Salon

    Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy

    Government serves special interests, not people.

    Business Insider
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    Freedom Outpost

    New Study Confirms: “The United States Is... An Oligarchy” Dominated By The Economic Elite : Freedom Outpost http://ow.ly/vSdiA



    New Study Confirms: “The United States Is... An Oligarchy” Dominated By...

    Most Americans wake up every morning believing that they live in a democracy. We have the right to vote, the right to work, and the right to freely...

    Freedom Outpost
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    The U.S. Is Not A Democracy But An Oligarchy, Study Concludes

    April 16, 2014 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.

    WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) — Oligarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in a dominant class and a small group exercises control over the general population.
    A new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities concluded that the U.S. government represents not the interests of the majority of citizens but those of the rich and powerful.
    “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” analyzed extensive data, comparing nearly 1,800 U.S. policies enacted between 1981 and 2002 with the expressed preferences of average and affluent Americans as well as special interest groups.
    The resulting data empirically verifies that U.S. policies are determined by the economic elite.
    “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,” says the peer-reviewed study.
    The 42-page study analyzes U.S. politics through the framework of four major theoretical traditions — Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism — concluding that U.S. political policies rarely align with the majority of citizens.
    What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute
    troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond
    primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our
    findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually
    determining policy outcomes. 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 U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy
    change, they generally do not get it.
    The report consoles that “Americans do enjoy many features
    central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association” but goes on to warn that “we believe that if policymaking is dominated
    by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s
    claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”


    http://personalliberty.com/the-u-s-i...udy-concludes/
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    America is an Oligarchy, Not a Democratic Republic, University Study Finds

    By Steve Straub On April 21, 2014 · 143 Comments · In US


    It does seem that most of those in power only care about what we think around election time. After that they do pretty much whatever they want…

    Via Washington Times:

    America is no longer a democracy — never mind the democratic republic envisioned by Founding Fathers.
    Rather, it has taken a turn down elitist lane and become a country led by a small dominant class comprised of powerful members who exert total control over the general population — an oligarchy, said a new study jointly conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities.
    One finding in the study: The U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not the average citizen, United Press International reported.
    In the study, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens,” researchers compared 1,800 different U.S. policies that were put in place by politicians between 1981 and 2002 to the type of policies preferred by the average and wealthy American, or special interest groups.
    Researchers then concluded that U.S. policies are formed more by special interest groups than by politicians properly representing the will of the general people, including the lower-income class.

    Do you agree or disagree with the reports conclusion that America is now an oligarchy?

    Related posts:


    1. Why America is a Republic, not a Democracy (VIDEO)
    2. Megyn Kelly DESTROYS atheist’s spin on World Trade Center cross appeal
    3. Edward Snowden: I Saw the Constitution Being Violated on “Massive Scale”
    4. Trey Gowdy: ‘How Does Going From A Senator To President Rewrite The Constitution?’



    Tagged with: Constitution of the United StatesdemocracyoligarchyrepublicUnited States


    http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/u...ty-study-finds
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    Princeton Researchers Conclude US Political System Has Been Almost Completely Usurped

    Of the elite, by the elite, for the elite

    Steve Watson
    Infowars.com
    April 21, 2014

    A recent scientific study by Princeton and Northwestern universities, which has gone somewhat under reported in the mainstream media, concludes that the US is now a fully fledged oligarchy.
    The paper, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens, notes that America is no longer even a Democracy, which begs the question, how far removed is the country from being the Republic envisioned and painstakingly established by Benjamin Franklin and the founding fathers.
    “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,” the study notes.



    In other words, powerful elites have taken over the country and effectively run the government, it is official. Of the people, by the people, for the people is now a thing of the distant past.
    The research undertaken by the universities included the study of close to two thousand government policies enacted over a 21 year period between 1981 and 2002.
    Using a framework of political models – Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism – researchers found that the majority of those US policies were specifically designed to benefit wealthy elites.
    Policy outcomes “tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations,” the research states, meaning the US falls into the category of Biased Pluralism.
    Researchers concluded that the reason for the trend is that policies are made by special interest groups rather than by politicians acting on behalf of average Americans.
    “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.” the study also notes.
    “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.”
    “Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.” the study also notes.
    The study points toward the conclusion that the US is nothing more than an illusion of democracy.
    “Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association” the study notes, while warning “we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”
    The authors of the study, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concur that the will or opinion of the majority in the US has no effect on the way government is run.
    “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
    “Perhaps economic elites and interest group leaders enjoy greater policy expertise than the average citizen does,” Gilens and Page write. “Perhaps they know better which policies will benefit everyone, and perhaps they seek the common good, rather than selfish ends, when deciding which policies to support.
    “But we tend to doubt it” they add.
    —————————————————————-
    Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, andPrisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

    This article was posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    http://www.infowars.com/princeton-re...etely-usurped/

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    Fed Chair Unsure If Capitalism or Oligarchy Describes the U.S.

    Posted by Joe For America on May 9, 2014 in Economics, Politics, Uncategorized



    (CNSNews.com) – “Are we still a capitalist democracy or have we gone over into an oligarchic form of society in which incredible economic and political power now rests with the billionaire class?” Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont socialist, asked that question of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday.


    Yellen said she’d “prefer not to give labels,” but she admitted to being very concerned about income inequality.

    “So, all of the statistics on inequality that you’ve cited are ones that greatly concern me, and I think for the same reason that you’re concerned about them. They can shape the — determine the ability of different groups to participate equally in the democracy and have grave effects on social stability over time.”

    And so I don’t know what to call our system or how to — I prefer not to give labels; but there’s no question that we’ve had a trend toward growing inequality and I personally find it very worrisome trend that deserves the attention of policy-makers.

    Video at the Page Link:


    Sanders told Yellen, “There comes a point, where the billionaire class has so much political power — where the Koch brothers are now, because of Citizens United, able to buy and sell politicians — they have so much political power — at what point is that reversible?” he asked.

    Sanders also asked Yellen about repealing the estate tax: “Would it make sense to you to give enormous tax breaks to the families of the top one percent of people in this country.

    Continue reading…


    http://joeforamerica.com/2014/05/fed-chair-unsure-capitalism-oligarchy-describes-u-s/
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    17 April 2014 Last updated at 17:09 ET

    Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy



    This man does not like to be disturbed while he's running the US
    A review of the best commentary on and around the world...

    Today's must-read

    The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite.

    So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page.
    This is not news, you say.
    Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here's how they explain it:
    Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.
    In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.
    The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted.
    "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time."
    On the other hand:
    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.
    They conclude:
    Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.
    Eric Zuess, writing in Counterpunch, isn't surprised by the survey's results.
    "American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation's "news" media)," he writes. "The US, in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic' countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now."
    This is the "Duh Report", says Death and Taxes magazine's Robyn Pennacchia. Maybe, she writes, Americans should just accept their fate.
    "Perhaps we ought to suck it up, admit we have a classist society and do like England where we have a House of Lords and a House of Commoners," she writes, "instead of pretending as though we all have some kind of equal opportunity here."
    South Korea Ferry tragedy was a manmade disaster - The death toll from the sinking of the Sewol off the south-eastern tip of South Korea could have been greatly reduced if the passengers had been properly instructed in safety procedures and the crew hadn't been among the first to abandon the ship, write the editors of South Korea's Joongang Daily.
    The South Korean government also shares blame, they write. "It failed to grasp the seriousness of the accident from the start and didn't know how many were rescued or missing."
    The government, they continue, should conduct a thorough investigation and prepare a report on how to upgrade the nation's "safety systems and procedures".
    Argentina Cristina Kirchner's sham populism - The government of Cristina Kirchner touts a populism that "redistributes wealth to benefit the poor", writes Luis Alberto Romero in Agentina's Clarin (translated by WorldCrunch).
    In reality, he says, "the outcome has been greater wealth concentrations and more social polarisation, helped by subsidy policies".
    The Kirchner regime, he argues, has been "built on two foundations: concentration of power and accumulation of wealth".
    Algeria Presidential vote endorses status quo - It seems clear that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will win a fourth term in this week's election despite looking "more dead than alive", writes University of Houston Prof Robert Zaretsky in the Los Angeles Times.
    Mr Bouteflika "is entrenched, propped up by generals and an uneasy status quo", he says.
    "The question is," he writes, "how long will the government manage to impose scripted elections on a population ready for the risks and rewards of an unscripted future?"
    Ukraine Nato football v Russian chess - The Ukrainian crisis has taken Nato planners by surprise, writes Prof David Murphy of National University of Ireland, Maynooth, in the Irish Times. This, he says, is because of "fundamental cultural, strategic and political differences" between Russia and the West.
    "Nato operates at a huge disadvantage as it needs consensus and co-operation within its member states in order to act," he writes. "President Vladimir Putin and his political and military staffs do not face such limitations and have the freedom to act quickly."
    Russia has formulated a plan and is executing it, he concludes. It is up to the members of Nato to work together to stop it.
    BBC Monitoring's quotes of the day Ukrainian media respond to high-level meetings between officials from the US, EU, Ukraine and Russia in Geneva aimed resolving the crisis in Ukraine.
    "There is an illusory hope for the conference in Geneva. Ukraine will be presented there as a pie which will be divided. Everything ... shows the signs of a grand plot, where big geopolitical players resolved their issues at Ukraine's expense. It will be like that this time around too." - Editorial in Glavkom.
    "Today's meeting will show if the West can counter [Vladimir] Putin's plans to impose his 'world order'." - Editorial in Den.
    "International talks will hardly improve the situation in Ukraine until people inside the country start talking. So the only thing the Geneva meeting could influence is to facilitate the beginning of talks inside the country between representatives of the east and the central authorities. If the meeting provides this impetus it will be a positive result." - Volodymyr Fesenko in Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukraine.
    Have you found an interesting opinion piece about global issues that we missed? Share it with us via email at echochambers (at) bbc.co.uk.

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