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RISKS -- WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Our whole plutonomy thesis is based on the idea that the rich will keep getting richer. This thesis is not without its risks. For example, a policy error leading to asset deflation, would likely damage plutonomy. Furthermore, the rising wealth gap between the rich and poor will probably at some point lead to a political backlash. Whilst the rich are getting a greater share of the wealth, and the poor a lesser share, political enfrachisement remains as was -- one person, one vote (in the plutonomies). At some point it is likely that labor will fight back against the rising profit share of the rich and there will be a political backlash against the rising wealth of the rich. This could be felt through higher taxation on the rich (or indirectly though higher corporate taxes/regulation) or through trying to protect indigenous (home-grow)] laborers, in a push-back on globalization -- either anti-mmigration, or protectionism. We don’t see this happening yet, though there are signs of rising political tensions. However we are keeping a close eye on developments.
Plutocracy- Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. The term plutocracy is generally used to describe these two distinct concepts: one of a historical nature and one of a modern political nature. The former indicates the political control of the state by an oligarchy of the wealthy. Examples of such plutocracies include the Roman Republic, some city-states in Ancient Greece, the civilization of Carthage, the Italian city-states/merchant republics of Venice, Florence, Genoa, and pre-WWII Empire of Japan zaibatsus. Before the equal voting rights movement managed to end it in the early 20th century, many countries used a system where rich persons had more votes than poor. A factory owner may for instance have had 2000 votes while a worker had one, or if they were very poor no right to vote at all. Even artificial persons such as companies had voting rights. One modern, perhaps unique, formalised example of a plutocracy is the City of London. The City (not the whole of modern London but the area of the ancient city, which now mainly comprises the financial district) has a unique electoral system. Most of its voters are representatives of businesses and other bodies that occupy premises in the City. Its ancient wards have very unequal numbers of voters. The principal justification for the non-resident vote is that about 450,000 non-residents constitute the city's day-time population and use most of its services, far outnumbering the City's residents, who are fewer than 10,000.
Modern politics The second usage of plutocracy is a reference to a disproportionate influence the wealthy have on political process in contemporary society: for example Kevin Phillips, author and political strategist to U.S. President Richard Nixon, argues that the United States is a plutocracy in which there is a "fusion of money and government." The wealthy minority exerts influence over the political arena via many methods. Most western democracies permit partisan organizations to raise funds for politicians, and political parties frequently accept significant donations from various individuals (either directly or through corporations or advocacy groups). These donations may be part of a cronyist or patronage system, in which major contributors and fund-raisers are rewarded with high-ranking government appointments. While campaign donations need not directly affect the legislative decisions of elected representatives, politicians have a personal interest in serving the needs of their campaign contributors: if they fail to do so, those contributors will likely give their money to candidates who do support their interests in the future. Unless a quid pro quo agreement exists, it is generally legal for politicians to advocate policies favorable to their contributors, or grant appointed government positions to them. In some instances, extremely wealthy individuals have financed their own political campaigns. Many corporations and business interest groups pay lobbyists to maintain constant contact with elected officials, and press them for favorable legislation. Owners of mass media outlets, and the advertisement buyers which financially support them can shape public perception of political issues by controlling the information available to the population and the manner in which it is presented (see also: fourth estate). Within government bureaucracy, there is often the problem of a revolving door: the employees of government regulatory bodies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, often transition to and from employment with the same companies they are supposed to regulate. This can result in regulations being changed or ignored to suit the needs of business, since the regulators are more likely to later find employment in the private sector if their government work was beneficial to their new potential employer. In the United States, campaign finance reform efforts ostensibly seek to ameliorate this situation. However, campaign finance reform must successfully challenge officials who are beneficiaries of the system which allows this dynamic in the first place. This has led many
reform advocates to suggest taxpayer dollars be used to replace private campaign contributions; these reforms are often called clean money or clean election reform as opposed to simply campaign finance reform which does not address the conflict of interest involved where most or all of the campaign money is from private, often for-profit sources. In 2010, Justice Stevens along with Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor view Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission as having drastically weakened efforts to restrain the effect of money in government. In his dissenting remarks Justice Stevens states:
At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics Critics of clean elections point out that it allows the sitting government to decide which candidates would qualify to receive tax dollars - and therefore influence who would be allowed to win - thus solving one problem by creating another problem; courts in the United States[which?] have also agreed that some "clean election" legislation has discriminated against independent or third-party candidates, and has violated the constitution.
Democracy-Democracy is a political form of government in which governing power is derived from the people, by consensus (consensus democracy), by direct referendum (direct democracy), or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy). The term comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία – (dēmokratía) "rule of the people", which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (Kratos) "power", in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC. Even though there is no specific, universally accepted definition of 'democracy', equality and freedom have been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times. These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to power. For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no restrictions can apply to anyone wanting to become a representative, and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution. There are several varieties of democracy, some of which provide better representation and more freedoms for their citizens than others. However, if any democracy is not carefully legislated – through the use of balances – to avoid an uneven distribution of political power, such as the separation of powers, then a branch of the system of rule could accumulate power, thus become undemocratic. The "majority rule" is often described as a characteristic feature of democracy, but without governmental or constitutional protections of individual liberties, it is possible for a minority of individuals to be oppressed by the "tyranny of the majority". An essential
process in representative democracies is competitive elections that are fair both substantively and procedurally. Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are essential so that citizens are informed and able to vote in their personal interests.
Catcher in the Rye dropped from US school curriculum [replaced with environmental propaganda
and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird