It is not Trump that will split western nations, it is INEQUALITY. In every possible way.
Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich?
In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy–but as this book demonstrates, America’s policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged.
Affluence and Influence definitively explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how this growing disparity has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections.
With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans.
His findings are staggering: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups.
In contrast, affluent Americans’ preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not.
Gilens shows that representational inequality is spread widely across different policy domains and time periods.
Yet Gilens also shows that under specific circumstances the preferences of the middle class and, to a lesser extent, the poor, do seem to matter.
In particular, impending elections–especially presidential elections–and an even partisan division in Congress mitigate representational inequality and boost responsiveness to the preferences of the broader public.
At a time when economic and political inequality in the United States only continues to rise, Affluence and Influence raises important questions about whether American democracy is truly responding to the needs of all its citizens.”
“Tackling one of the most volatile issues in contemporary politics, Martin Gilens’s work punctures myths and misconceptions about welfare policy, public opinion, and the role of the media in both.
Why Americans Hate Welfare shows that the public’s views on welfare are a complex mixture of cynicism and compassion;
misinformed and racially charged, they nevertheless reflect both a distrust of welfare recipients and a desire to do more to help the “deserving” poor.
“With one out of five children (20%) currently living in poverty and more than 100,000 families with children now homeless, Gilens’s book is must reading if you want to understand how the mainstream media have helped justify, and even produce, this state of affairs.” —Susan Douglas, The Progressive
“Gilens’s well-written and logically developed argument deserves to be taken seriously.” —Choice
“A provocative analysis of American attitudes towards ‘welfare.’. . . [Gilens] shows how racial stereotypes, not white self-interest or anti-statism, lie at the root of opposition to welfare programs.” –Library Journal
While the rich completely live on a different planet – the politicians get paid to ignore the problem.
This is not sustainable. And everybody knows that. But well… mankind need to come up with more reasonable far-sighted solutions than civil war and kidnapping some rich people (as it has becomes popular in Iraq after the US invasion ) just so that other rich people completely lock themselves up in their private Disney land.
I would argue – it depends if mankind managed to develop and train the consciousness of the masses. Or not.
Anything else will not lead mankind out of this cruel and stupid game.
“By allowing voters to choose among candidates with competing policy orientations and by providing incentives for incumbents to
shape policy in the direction the public desires, elections are thought to provide the foundation that links government policy to the preferences of the governed.
In this article I examine the extent to which the preference/policy link is biased toward the preferences of high-income Americans.
Using an original data set of almost two thousand survey questions on proposed policy changes between 1981 and 2002, I find a moderately strong relationship between what the public wants and what the government does, albeit with a strong bias toward the status quo.
But I also find that when Americans with different income levels differ in their policy preferences, actual policy outcomes strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent but bear virtually no relationship to the preferences of poor
or middle-income Americans.
The vast discrepancy I find in government responsiveness to citizens with different incomes stands in stark contrast
to the ideal of political equality that Americans hold dear.
Although perfect political equality is an unrealistic goal, representational biases of this magnitude call into question the very democratic character of our society.”