Monday, April 14, 2014

Democracy myth exposed

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, Prof. Martin Gilens, Princeton University and Prof. Benjamin I. Page, Northwestern University.
"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."

Source: Economic Policy Institute - H/T Bob Rae

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8 comments:

  1. "Nincompoops ranting in their underpants is the term for Princeton and Northwestern profs researching and publishing, for me." ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Then, i guess we can ignore them, even if what they say is correct.

      Delete
    2. At our own peril.
      (You did note the direct jab at Rip Vaughn Palmer and the wink?)

      Delete
    3. You scored. Touche.

      Palmer and edge of the ledge pals were trying to convince listeners that bloggers never have anthing worthwhile or inteligent to say. It was the shoot the messenger, ignore the message that pro media prefers. They want to be the source of all news, which ignores the modern practices of news consumers.

      We could ask, "How's that working out?" Bill Good has taken NW from 1st to 10th in morning ratings while VP's employer is sliding to insolvency and KB's audience is turning to CTV.

      Delete
  2. We do not live in a democracy, nor even in a benevolent autocracy, at best it can be called a benign dictatorship. The only way the "people"can really challenge the government is at the polls and as elections are every four years apart, it can be said that we have democracy for only one day every four years.

    In Canada, once elected, politicians can do almost what they will with little or no public say. To win in a four year election cycle, vast amounts of cash must be had to buy votes from the voters, which gives the wealthy, who can afford to buy politicians, great power.

    With politicians controlled by the wealthy means laws and taxes are reformed to benefit them, which means the lower classes have to bear more and more of the tax burden. Public works are built to satisfy the needs of the wealthy and nothing more. As our political system rots from both the bottom up (people don't vote) and from the top down (corruption), democracy collapses. In Canada, democracy has all but disappeared and the result is a sort of rule by mob, where government tries to satisfy public opinion to regain power after their four year reign is over.

    This means government does not rule in the best interests of the people, but the best interests of their benefactors, with those benefactors actually calling the shots. Politicians have been reduced to the role of 'photo-op", with smiles and glad-handing everywhere, while dodging real issues.

    Government in Canada is all about money and how government can help their friends and insiders more money and turning a blind eye to illegal money. Which brings us to the multibillion dollar drug industry which is so large in Canada and so many people in involved, that just by the sheer weight of drug monies around, that it must have infiltrated government.

    BC casinos, used a drug money laundering institutions is just the tip of the iceberg of the criminal involvement in BC politics.

    BC/Canada democratic? No, not even close and I would rather have direct autocratic rule from the monarchy today for was passes as Canadian democracy, steeped in cronyism, gangsterism and dictatorship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great post. You nailed it, right on the money.

      Delete
  3. I took a brief look at the prof's piece — but I was starting to nod off.

    The graph is a far easier read… if I'm reading it correctly. It seems to be saying that while productivity has been steadily rising, the workers haven't been sharing in the bounty — though a paltry rise of perhaps 20-25% in hourly compensation from 1976 till now is hard to believe. That doesn't reflect my experience since 1976, not by a long shot (more like quadrupled wages). Is this in adjusted dollar value, or actual?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like most stuff written by academics, especially economists, it is sleep inducing. But, it's meant to inform, not entertain. However, they didn't publish the graph; I made the connection after seeing both on the same day, from different sources.

      Wages are adjusted to 2013 dollars. These are American numbers so not entirely valid here but, IMO, the trend line in Canada would look much the same.

      Government encourages the use of temporary foreign workers, even when Canadian are ready and willing to work, because maintaining a pool of unemployed keeps market pressures from forcing wages up and justifies all kinds of programs, like subsidies to industry "to create jobs." We know that the fastest ways to produce jobs for British Columbians would be to end the TFWP but that would cause wages to rise as employers competed for staff.

      Organizations like the Fraser Institute claim they want Canadian businesses to operate in free markets but they desire unlimited access to labour from low wage economies. They want all the power in labour markets to be in the hands of employers.

      Delete

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