I ran across this video today by author David Korten. It is a few years old, but I think it does a very good job of explaining plutocracy in US government. Korten argues that the US was founded as a plutocracy. The Constitution was written to establish white men of the propertied class as the leaders of government. This was the norm until World War II. Following the war, the US entered a period of egalitarianism, until some time in the 1970’s when corporate powers became concerned that we were becoming too egalitarian. Over the past forty years, we have seen a return to the plutocratic norm of our history. (What Korten sees as a return to historic norms is what I see as plutocracy ascendant.) He concludes with actions to take to counter plutocracy with deep democracy.
By Joel S. Hirschhorn.
“(I)t is time for Americans to stop believing delusional truths and recognize that US democracy has become a myth, especially if there are ever to be serious actions by the majority to fix and restore democracy.”
Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America. A good primer on income inequality from Mother Jones.
The New York Time has published an article on the decline of the US middle class compared to Canada and Western Europe: The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest.
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
The Times research is based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years. The data was analyzed by researchers at LIS (a group affiliated with the Luxembourg Income Study Database) and The Upshot (a NY Times web site). The results were reviewed by outside experts.
The article points out the deception of averages. Statistics such as per capita GDP remains strong for the US, but only because the gains at the top offset the losses at the middle and bottom.
The article cites three factors behind the lackluster performance of US income: education, compensation practices, and government policies. These work together create what is a central theme of Plutocracy Ascendant: the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor and middle class.