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Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy
Image copyright Thinkstock 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. 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. On the other hand: They conclude: South Korea Argentina Algeria Ukraine

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Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: We're Headed for Oligarchy - Rebecca J. Rosen In a recent interview at the Economic Policy Institute, Nobel Prize-Winning economist and MIT professor Robert Solow riffed on the political effects of increasing inequality and concentration of wealth at the very top. "If that kind of concentration of wealth continues, then we get to be more and more an oligarchical country, a country that's run from the top," he said. Solow's sentiments echo a point he made earlier this week in his review of Thomas Piketty's book in The New Republic.

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Will "deliverology" work for the federal government? Written by Date published Share Story In January, the newly minted government of Justin Trudeau held its first cabinet retreat. Cabinet retreats are usually held twice a year, and they are theoretically designed to allow ministers to engage in a broader discussion of issues and strategy beyond any one particular file. At its inaugural retreat, the cabinet heard from Sir Michael Barber, the British architect of “deliverology” and aide to former prime minister Tony Blair. Deliverology is simply the science (or art, depending on your perspective) of delivering on goals and promises, particularly those made by governments.

a-bigger-economic-pie-but-a-smaller-slice-for-half-of-the-us The new findings, by the economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, provide the most thoroughgoing analysis to date of how the income kitty — like paychecks, profit-sharing, fringe benefits and food stamps — is divided among the American population. Inequality has been a defining national issue for nearly a decade, thanks in part to groundbreaking research done by Mr. Piketty at the Paris School of Economics and Mr. Saez at the University of California, Berkeley. But now a new administration in Washington is promising to reshape the government’s role in curbing the intense concentration of wealth at the top and improving the fortunes of those left behind.

Is America an Oligarchy? From the Dept. of Academics Confirming Something You Already Suspected comes a new study concluding that rich people and organizations representing business interests have a powerful grip on U.S. government policy. After examining differences in public opinion across income groups on a wide variety of issues, the political scientists Martin Gilens, of Princeton, and Benjamin Page, of Northwestern, found that the preferences of rich people had a much bigger impact on subsequent policy decisions than the views of middle-income and poor Americans. Indeed, the opinions of lower-income groups, and the interest groups that represent them, appear to have little or no independent impact on policy. “Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” Gilens and Page write:

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