My latest essay was just published by the World Financial Review here
Democracy in the United States has been replaced by a rival form of government premised upon the power of wealth. Not to be confused with mere corruption, plutocracy is an official system of rule built upon new interpretations of political speech, equality, and representation. The power of plutocracy rests upon public ignorance of and acquiescence to the profound transformation described in the pages that follow, perhaps the next American trend to sweep the globe… The New Tyranny
My talk about waking up to the reality of our political system can be found here, at minute 7 of the April 28th video
Thanks to Alba Camazón and Esther Castrillo for this excellent reporting on my talk at the University of Valladolid, Spain.
My colleague in England, Keith Ewing, has written The Death of Social Europe, a powerful article appearing back to back with my American Plutocracy. These two pieces are best read back to back, an exposé of where things are heading on both sides of the pond. Check them out by scrolling half way down this page http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/RKLJ20/current
I’m glad economists are taking notice of the book’s argument that money in politics corrupts capitalism. Most observers of big political spending and the Supreme Court’s case law focus on the harm inflicted upon democracy. I concur of course and develop facets of that argument; but I add that the harm to capitalism is at least as great, probably larger in fact, than the harm to democracy. (Vol. 53, No. 1, among a few books summarized for the journal’s readers, not a review)
The book received a very favorable review on
APR 10, 2015 (128 Harv. L. Rev. 1894):
“Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution. By Timothy K. Kuhner. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University Press. 2014. Pp. xiii, 360. $27.95. America depends on two foundational institutions — democracy and capitalism. Although each is based on values central to American ideals, the interaction of these institutions can be mutually corrosive. In Capitalism v. Democracy, Professor Timothy Kuhner convincingly shows that by blurring the line between economic and democratic values and rationalities, the legal regime governing money in politics has made this corrosion manifest. Professor Kuhner’s impressive book brings economic and political theory to bear on the evolution of the constitutional law of democracy, which he argues not only permits but ‘amplifie[s]’ the substitution of democratic values for free-market notions of economic competition in the political sphere (p. xi). The upshot of subjecting economic competition to a regime of constitutional rights is the loss not only of democracy but also of capitalism: innovation-producing economic competition is neglected amid battles over political influence. Kuhner ultimately determines that ‘[t]he free market theory now governing the law of democracy is so comprehensive and absolute’ that only a constitutional amendment or a change in the Court’s composition could properly separate politics from economics (p. 93). Professor Kuhner’s timely book will interest scholars and reformers alike.”
I’ve discussed Capital in the Twenty-First Century many times in my work, most recently here, and it was terrific to learn that Piketty had read Capitalism v. Democracy. “This book made me realize just how dangerous supreme courts can be for matters of inequality and democracy,” he wrote.
There’s a need within law to do the sort of work that Thomas Piketty does for economics and that Gilens & Page do for political science. Here’s a step in that direction.
Available here This essay comments on the link between Piketty, Gilens & Page, and money in politics / campaign finance. It contains some of the key points from my book, plus my commentary on the authors above whose works were published around the same time as my book.
Brazil is wrestling with questions of money in politics, just like the United States and most other democracies across the globe. My article in the Harvard Human Rights Journal was cited in the Court’s preliminary opinion, which when (or if) finalized will outlaw political donations from corporate foundations in all of Brazil. A news report is here and the draft opinion itself is here.
Professors at Oxford will be discussing my book in a colloquium on February 25th– the registration information is here