My name is Tim Kuhner– I’m an associate professor of law at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, the author of Capitalism v. Democracy (Stanford University Press 2014) and the co-editor of Democracy by the People (Cambridge University Press 2018). This website features my work on money in politics, corruption, and the relationship between the market and the state.
These are troubling times for capitalism and democracy. Our era is characterized by radical inequality, rising levels of money in politics, frequent Supreme Court cases–such as Citizens United and McCutcheon–that strike down campaign finance reforms, and an overall crisis in confidence. The result is a new tyranny and a new era of political exclusion. Since assuming office, Donald Trump has taken things to a new level, establishing a kleptocracy.
The tremendous heights of money in politics trigger uncomfortable questions: Has our mode of government come to stand for economic liberty over political liberty? Have our political values been co-opted by economic values? Money as speech, limits on money in politics as censorship, corporations as citizens, democracy as a market… Have wealthy individuals and corporations obtained economic gains through political channels, undermining the rules of economic competition?
It is time to expose how constitutional rights of free speech, association, and citizenship have been reshaped to increase the power of wealthy actors and decrease the power of ordinary citizens. At the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, a democratic constitution has morphed into a free market constitution. We must explore how and why this occurred. And we must examine the effects of these changes on both democracy and capitalism, for it too has been corrupted. Plutocracy and crony capitalism go hand in hand.
This site is dedicated to discussing:
- democracy in the age of capitalism
- Citizens United, McCutcheon and their lines of cases going back to 1976
- the financing of political campaigns, parties, and independent speech
- money in politics as a means of political exclusion
- the free market constitution
- corporate political power
- the corruption of democracy
- the corruption of capitalism
- consumer sovereignty
- neoliberal jurisprudence
- the relationship between liberty and equality
- democratic integrity and political equality, treated by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional motivations
- money as speech and corporations as citizens
- the Roberts Court as the architect of American plutocracy and crony capitalism
- political finance reform around the world
The events, publications, and blog entries found here aim to involve you in these fascinating, foundational issues of law and society.