Illusion of capitalist democracy, in 2 graphs: Study shows public has no influence on US gov. policy

“Majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” according to a study by scholars at Princeton and Northwestern Universities.

“Clearly, when one holds constant net interest-group alignments and the preferences of affluent Americans, it makes very little difference what the general public thinks,” write professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page.

In other words, government policy is made on behalf of the rich.

Their study, titled “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” was published in 2014 in Cambridge University Press’ peer-reviewed academic journal Perspectives on Politics.

The scholars explain:

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.

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.

The following are two graphs from the study, which together expose the notion of capitalist “democracy” to be an illusion:

capitalist democracy graphs

The graph on the left shows that, regardless of how much average citizens prefer a particular policy, there is almost no impact on the chances of that policy being adopted. The graph on the right, on the other hand, shows a direct correlation between what economic elites want and the chances of that being implemented as policy.

That is to say, in US “democracy,” the rich — the 1 percent, the capitalists, the ruling class, the bourgeoisie, whichever nomenclature one prefers — are the beneficiaries of government policy, and everyone else has to live with it.