Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Political capture and economic inequality

Oxfam briefing paper dated 20th January, 2014 says, inter alia, the following:

"Extreme economic inequality is damaging and worrying for many
reasons: it is morally questionable; it can have negative impacts on
economic growth and poverty reduction; and it can multiply social
problems. It compounds other inequalities, such as those between
women and men. In many countries, extreme economic inequality is
worrying because of the pernicious impact that wealth concentrations can
have on equal political representation. When wealth captures
government policymaking, the rules bend to favor the rich, often to the
detriment of everyone else. The consequences include the erosion of
democratic governance, the pulling apart of social cohesion, and the
vanishing of equal opportunities for all. Unless bold political solutions are
instituted to curb the influence of wealth on politics, governments will
work for the interests of the rich, while economic and political inequalities
continue to rise. As US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously
said, ‘We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in
the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.’"

The paper talks about political capture by the stinkingly rich. Combination of wealth and political power is toxic to democratic governance. As a consequence, the rich, if they happen to be politically powerful, can get away with murder (please see the previous post).


Anonymous said...

There is an article in today's FT (Jan 24, 14) by Samuel Brittan titled Banish 'Inequality' from the economist's lexicon which is worth reading

K.R.Srivarahan said...

Thanks. The article was nice.