Centralized power enables small groups to buy-off power structures to their own benefit. Decentralized power keeps leadership more responsive to those they represent.
The following paragraph pretty much sums up the findings: “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. Our 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.”
The problem facing the US with the oligarchy is the inordinate power exerted against certain stocks or sectors of society in the country. The oligarchy monopolizes the possibilities of progress of individuals and human groups.
The oligarchies pressure on governments and societies towards their relative superiority. A well known example is how big corporations manipulate public opinion and the media. The elite and the big corporations not only seek to grow, but have absolute market dominance in some regions. The main purpose is to remove competition and own absolute power and dominion to bid in the market.
People who are major shareholders, or simply part of the elite and wealthy, possess the ability to basically control the rest of humanity. Individual guarantees have been violated within the same capitalism, and socialism to capitalism is the exclusive ruling class. The reality is that there will always be small groups of powerful individuals who control the masses. As Gawker puts it…”regular people tend to think that their political interests are being represented when they see the triumph of some political position that they agree with. In fact, the researchers say, this is a mere coincidence. Yes, the average American will see their interests represented—as long as their interests align with the interests of the wealthy.”
The 17th Amendment was one of the biggest mistakes in American political history, in that it made the U.S. Senate the elite’s best friends–an easy ticket to buying a second branch of the American government (in addition to the ease of buying a President).
Big Government becomes the best friend of Big Business (see this post from Charles Hugh Smith). Freedom keeps things smaller, and power distributed.
The essence of crony-capitalism is the merger of state and corporate power–the definition of fascism.
When it comes to the real world, the difference between fascism, communism and crony-capitalism is semantic. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite hot-word, fascism, which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini defined as “the merger of state and corporate power.” In other words, the state and corporate cartels are one system.
Real-world communism, for example as practiced in the People’s Republic of China, boils down to protecting a thoroughly corrupt elite and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The state prohibits anything that threatens the profits (and bribes) of SOEs–for example, taxi-apps that enable consumers to bypass the SOE cab companies.
What I love about Charles Hugh Smith is that he does not stop with identifying economic and political cancers—he often offers up potential policy solutions. Even if you have a quibble with his ideas, at least there is something to begin the conversation.
Of course, the ultimate solution to what he describes herein is spiritual revival. Communism, Fascism, and Crony Capitalism are all birthed in wicked human hearts that do not love God and their neighbor. As long as men are focused solely on personal profits, and not their neighbor’s well-being, there will be economic and societal injustices without number.
Two thousand years ago a solution to that was accomplished… but some of us (yeah, including me) need to do a better job of dispensing that antidote.