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Tuesday 27 December 2022

The US Is An Oligarchy

Image: Unsplash

I know this might not need to be said for some. But I had a guy tell me in an online discussion a while back that I needed to read what a Republican system is, because, as he asserted America is not an oligarchy, it's a Republic. Obviously he had not been paying attention to how the wealthy have co-opted his political system. 

I observe that right leaning conservatives tend to be blind to oligarchic influences on their nation, because they see merit wherever there is wealth. However, this is often a false lense. Once society coalesces enough wealth in the hands of a small enough group of people, then wealth becomes its own kind of "merit". This is oligarchy in its formation stages. 

So I thought I'd put this here for future reference:

"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."

In other words America is an oligarchy and trending more that way as time goes on. 

This might not be news to you, but I've encountered Americans who still can't accept this. Not that the Australian political sphere is much better. Our government appears to more and more tend to minority interests as time goes on, rather than mainstream Aussie culture. Such is the tendency of decaying societies. They forget what is important. 

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