The Dichotomy Of Democracy

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One of the most fundamental orthodoxy of American political life, is the dichotomy between democracy and capitalism. This dichotomy stems from the tension of individuals trying to achieve economic prosperity, while the community is trying to achieve relative political equality. There is much debate about whether in our current state of economic inequality and disparity, political equality can be achieved. The nature of this debate stems from the different ways democracy is defined. Many scholars, including Howard Zinn have defined democracy operationally rather than conclusively thus creating a focus that goes beyond political institutions and addresses the quality of life of the citizens. This focus on equality and fairness of outcomes generally …show more content…
In 2010, in the case of Citizens United, the Supreme Court concluded that corporations are people and have the same inherent first amendment rights of everyday Americans. The result of this decision is that big corporations can legally donate any amount of money to various political causes and as a result get preference in terms of the laws. Without question, this undermines the very nature of a democratic society as it creates a system in which big business get to dictate the political decisions of our country in a major way. As analyzed by a statistical study done by the Princeton Journal, “when the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact on policy.” If the average American has little or no power to influence decisions impacting the policies of the country then the next question is, “Who does?” The Princeton study argues that interest groups do have a substantial independent impact on policy and a few groups (particularly labor unions) do represent the average citizen’s view reasonably well. However, the interest group system as a whole does not, and the most influential business oriented groups are negatively correlated with the average citizen’s wishes. This means that the average citizen is not being fairly represented. Under this contemporary context, Tocqueville thesis of America’s political equality and great “middling” due to a separation from a royalty based system, begins to unravel. This is because while certainly different than traditional royalty, America’s has its own power elite that monopolized important decision making. In this system of interest groups and

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