Ten Quick Topics to Ruin Your Summer [PDF] (GMO Quarterly Letter 2Q 2015)

7. 民主主義と資本主義における欠陥について考えてみる





7. Trying to understand deficiencies in democracy and capitalism


"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." [Emphasis added.] This is the killer conclusion of a paper last fall by Gilens and Page. Based on the study of almost 1,800 policy issues for which income breakdowns were available, and defining the "Elite" generously as those above the 90th percentile, it finds that "majoritarian electoral democracy" is largely a thing of the past.

To keep the review of this study short, it is probably only necessary to point out that the average bill in the U.S. Congress has a 31% chance of passing; this chance falls to 30% when the proposed legislation is hated by average citizens and rises to 32% when they love it! In contrast, love from the economic elite, although not absolutely guaranteeing success, raises the chances of its passing to 60%. But when the elite truly detest an issue, it is like passing a death sentence: About 1% of these bills pass!

It would be helpful to know one day whether it is the 1%, the .01%, or only the top 2,000 or so who really drive this data, for it is surely not the top 10%. Other than that, the data speaks for itself: It would seem that "government of the people, by the people, for the people" has indeed, for practical purposes, "perish(ed) from the Earth." Lincoln would no doubt urge us to try to resuscitate it.

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