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Thread: Study: The U.S. Has Likely Been An Oligarchy For Decades

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    Default Study: The U.S. Has Likely Been An Oligarchy For Decades

    Study: The U.S. Has Likely Been An Oligarchy For Decades

    "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."

    In 2014, a Princeton University study concluded that the United States lapsed into oligarchy at some point in the 20th century. Oligarchy can best be understood as a form of government that enacts policies that overwhelmingly benefit a small and privileged elite.

    Using a data set from the years 1981-2002, researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University made the following observations about U.S. democracy.

    1. Economic elites and organized groups representing businesses have substantial effect on U.S. policy while, "mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

    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.

    2. An average citizens' policy preferences have a "near zero-level" impact on the U.S. policy debate.

    The estimated impact of average citizens’ preferences drops precipitously, to a non-significant, near-zero level [when compared to economic elites and organized groups representing business interests]. Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all. By contrast, economic elites are estimated to have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy.

    3. Even if a majority of Americans are in favor or against a particular policy, they will lose the debate against a wealthy and organized interest. "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose."

    Similarly, organized interest groups (all taken together, for now) are found to have substantial independent influence on policy. 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 or with organized interests, they generally lose.

    4. While Americans do enjoy many freedoms associated with being a constitutional republic, the country's claims to being "a democratic society are seriously threatened."

    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 organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.
    Article Source: https://mavenroundtable.io/theintell...UK9i9Qs_nGtjw/

    Academic Source: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/...litics.doc.pdf











    Last edited by Raver; 01-20-2019 at 07:04 AM.
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    The United States never was anything but an oligarchy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramas View Post
    The United States never was anything but an oligarchy.
    Maybe, but I think the transition from a representative democracy or a constitutional republic to an oligarchy for the U.S. happened some time during the 20th century. 1913 is a popular time for that transition because of the 1913 federal reserve act passed by Woodrow Wilson:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_Act

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critic...ederal_Reserve

    The great depression is often blamed on this act and similar volatile market recessions benefiting the wealthy elite at the expense of the general public that followed afterwards. However, the transition to an oligarchy could of possibly happened earlier or later and more gradually and for different reasons.

    Last edited by Raver; 01-20-2019 at 08:46 PM.
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    Supply-side, "trickle down" economics...... If there's one thing I'm curious to know, it's whether the advocates of that theory ever honestly believed that it would work as proclaimed. Sure, you've got charities like the Gates Foundation, but not all the economic elite are like Bill Gates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Leopold View Post
    Supply-side, "trickle down" economics...... If there's one thing I'm curious to know, it's whether the advocates of that theory ever honestly believed that it would work as proclaimed. Sure, you've got charities like the Gates Foundation, but not all the economic elite are like Bill Gates.

    And these rich guys donating to charity does not change the structural economic problem that allows them to be that rich in the first place. Bill Gates' charity does zero to solve the oligarchy problem.

    I play the stock market and often look at insider selling. These guys are selling tens of millions worth of stock. Executives from all sorts of companies. It is kind of depressing and annoying to see them cashing out numbers so big.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raver View Post
    Maybe, but I think the transition from a representative democracy to oligrachy for the U.S. happened some time during the 20th century. 1913 is a popular time for that transition because of the 1913 federal reserve act passed by Woodrow Wilson:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_Act

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crit...ederal_Reserve

    The great depression is often blamed on this act and similar volatile market recessions benefiting the wealthy elite at the expense of the general public that followed afterwards. However, the transition to an oligarchy could of possibly happened earlier or later and more gradually and for different reasons.

    When the United States was founded, only landowning white men could vote. How's that democratic? It's closer to Athenian democracy, but not to the present day idea of it.

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    It also doesn't help that at least 90% of the population is financially illiterate. It has nothing to do with the Federal Reserve. The Fed creates money out of nothing just like consumers who use credit cards they can't pay off. They are no different than the Fed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Leopold View Post
    Supply-side, "trickle down" economics...... If there's one thing I'm curious to know, it's whether the advocates of that theory ever honestly believed that it would work as proclaimed. Sure, you've got charities like the Gates Foundation, but not all the economic elite are like Bill Gates.
    Yeah, wealthy billionaires like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet that are giving away almost all of their wealth to charitable organizations are the exception rather the norm. Most billionaires will hoard the majority of their wealth and will only give away a fraction of it in order to appear charitable. Large corporations do the same practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aramas View Post
    When the United States was founded, only landowning white men could vote. How's that democratic? It's closer to Athenian democracy, but not to the present day idea of it.
    Yeah, the US was never a full Ancient Greece style direct democracy. Even back at 1776, it was either a representative democracy or a constitutional republic at best, which is an indirect democracy and it has slowly transitioned into an oligarchy over time with 1913 as possibly the final nail in the coffin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tearsofaclown View Post
    It also doesn't help that at least 90% of the population is financially illiterate. It has nothing to do with the Federal Reserve. The Fed creates money out of nothing just like consumers who use credit cards they can't pay off. They are no different than the Fed.

    The Fed is definitely a part of the problem, but I agree that it is not the only issue. Credit cards were originally for business and wealthy people, but were changed to become available to the public so banks can profit off of credit card debt. So yes, financial illiteracy is a part of the problem too, but I think that is deliberate.
    Last edited by Raver; 01-20-2019 at 08:47 PM.
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    Money talks in politics, and 20% of US households have a net worth less than zero.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raver View Post
    Yeah, wealthy billionaires like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet that are giving away almost all of their wealth to charitable organizations are the exception rather the norm. Most billionaires will hoard the majority of their wealth and will only give away a fraction of it in order to appear charitable. Large corporations do the same practice.



    Yeah, the US was never a full direct Greek style democracy. Even back at 1776, it was a representative democracy at best and it has slowly transitioned into an oligarchy over time with 1913 as possibly the final nail in the coffin.



    The Fed is definitely a part of the problem, but I agree that it is not the only issue. Credit cards were originally for business and wealthy people, but were changed to become available to the public so banks can profit off of credit card debt. So yes, financial illiteracy is a part of the problem too, but I think that is deliberate.
    I think a major problem is fear. People are scared. They think the stock market is the fuckin lottery. It is the greatest way to gain wealth. But people grow up in their parent's shadows. Don't take risks. Don't care to understand money on a real level. I have heard this from countless successful investors. They grew up and their parents or grandparents were around for the Great Depression. Then the thing in the 80s. Then 2008. The fear is beaten into people year after year. They take no risks. Being rich requires a state of mind. A state of mind that was so foreign to me that I had to learn it abstractly from others. Chances are our parents played it safe and that cycle just continues. You need role models and teachers. Alexander the Great said he was indebted to his father for living, but to his teachers for living well.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Strange View Post
    Money talks in politics, and 20% of US households have a net worth less than zero.
    Exactly, which is the result of an oligarchy trying to obtain as much wealth as possible for themselves and less for the average citizen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tearsofaclown View Post
    I think a major problem is fear. People are scared. They think the stock market is the fuckin lottery. It is the greatest way to gain wealth. But people grow up in their parent's shadows. Don't take risks. Don't care to understand money on a real level. I have heard this from countless successful investors. They grew up and their parents or grandparents were around for the Great Depression. Then the thing in the 80s. Then 2008. The fear is beaten into people year after year. They take no risks. Being rich requires a state of mind. A state of mind that was so foreign to me that I had to learn it abstractly from others. Chances are our parents played it safe and that cycle just continues. You need role models and teachers. Alexander the Great said he was indebted to his father for living, but to his teachers for living well.


    Yeah, well said. In order to become wealthy, you must be willing to lose everything you have. I know some wealthy people either through friends or relatives and they all got there by taking big risks. Some of them got there by simply willing to take entrepreneurial risks and others got there by doing that and burning others. Anyone I know who has become wealthy did it by either taking risks legally, illegally or both. You won't get there by following a set career path as there's a limit to how much money you can make and how much free time you have due to the high working hours most high paying careers demand.
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    No kiddinng. Democracy died when the parties started to agree. Who's the Republican that implimented welfare and social healthcare? I'm talking about medicaid and medicare. Now they don't agree, which is good, but what they're doing is pure cancer, also leading to the death of democracy. Well, kind of. They still agree that spending on frivolous projects is a good idea. Frivilous spending. I wonder where that money goes? Hrrm. Maybe the oligarchs?

    Essentially, they're trying to push out the other side by making it out to be a Nietzsche style war between the correct moral people and immoral savages. And this is both sides. One is winning, which will shape politics for generations. I hope its the more tolerant one.
    Last edited by Alomoes; 02-17-2019 at 11:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alomoes View Post
    No kiddinng. Democracy died when the parties started to agree. Who's the Republican that implimented welfare and social healthcare? I'm talking about medicaid and medicare. Now they don't agree, which is good, but what they're doing is pure cancer, also leading to the death of democracy. Well, kind of. They still agree that spending on frivolous projects is a good idea. Frivilous spending. I wonder where that money goes? Hrrm. Maybe the oligarchs?

    Essentially, they're trying to push out the other side by making it out to be a Nietzsche style war between the correct moral people and immoral savages. And this is both sides. One is winning, which will shape politics for generations. I hope its the more tolerant one.
    The issue is that politics is being used to manipulate people against each other. Liberal and Conservative politicians differ on many issues, but on the ones that benefit the oligarchs, they are nearly exactly the same generally speaking. They only differ on issues that don't matter to them as much and those are the issues that distract us from the real problems.

    So anyways, it doesn't matter what side of the political fence you are on, what matters is if you can distinguish the common enemy that is the economic elite and the issues that negatively impact us for their own benefit. Unfortunately, most people are not able to do that yet. However, I am optimistic that more people will wake up to the harsh reality around them. The question is whether it will be enough to make a difference.
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