The United States has ceased to be, according to a new study, a mixed democratic republic as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution, but is now an oligarchy. Led by a small dominant elite class that consisted of powerful citizens who wield tremendous power over individual Americans, the study by researchers at Princeton University and Northwestern University concludes that the U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not corpus consisting of average citizens.
The researchers compared 1,779 different U.S. policies enacted between 1981 and 2002 to the sorts of policies sought by the average and wealthy American, or special interest groups. Entitled, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens,
” the study found that U.S. policies are formed more by special interest groups than by politicians properly representing the will of the general people, including the lower-income class. “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,” the study found.
The study also found that “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.”
Penned by Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Paige of Northwestern University and released on April 9, the study described the four basic political theories in the U.S. as Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, and two kinds of interest group pluralism: Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism. Claiming that their conclusions are based on a considerable amount of empirical data, the study’s authors wrote “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. The 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.”
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