21 votes

Study: US Is an Oligarchy

by Eric Zuesse | Common Dreams
April 14, 2014

A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, "Who governs? Who really rules?" in this country, is:

Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, ..." and then they go on to say, it's not true, and that, "America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened" by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead "the nearly total failure of 'median voter' and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. 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 upon public policy.

To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.

The authors of this historically important study are Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, and their article is titled "Testing Theories of American Politics." The authors clarify that the data available are probably under-representing the actual extent of control of the U.S. by the super-rich.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

If this gets reported on, it

If this gets reported on, it should stir things up.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

bump for the frustration

that the majority hasn't even tried to overthrow it

Defend Liberty!

This is why Occupy, Tea Party, and Libertarians

are shot down constantly. The grassroots movements are difficult to control, subvert and corrupt.

And what exactly is the oligarchy? Our shadow government, of course.

The same power elite that have a hammerlock on the democratic and republican establishment.

They use a handful of wedge issues to pretend there is a large difference between each party. To maintain the illusion.

A grassroots Liberty takeover of the Republican party is their worst nightmare. Now that Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have failed their vetting, things are going to get very nasty.

a popularly elected oligarchy

to be more precise.

Yeah, As Josef Stalin said "Its enough that the people know

there was an election...."

That's why Kim Jong un does it. The people like to think they picked their ruler even if they really had nothing to do with it.

We get two guys with the same master, who depend on the already established oligarch controlled machine called the Executive Branch. Either one can sit in the chair in the Oval Office. Doesn't matter. The President will rubber stamp, whatever is given him eventually. And if he doesn't do it willingly at first he will be fed the proper oligarch horse poop until he thinks he's making these decisions himself.

But a simple comparison of the policies of George W. Bush and Barrack Obama - two guys who should have been MILES apart in policy, but who ended up pretty much the same, you can see that the guy in office means nothing. The oligarch machine functions just as well with or without him.


another like mind.

And I thought I was alone all these years.

Thanks for giving me hope :)

popularly selected, to be even more precise

Which is to say, the majority has not forcefully objected to the selections (so far).

allegory - ˈalɪg(ə)ri/ - noun - 1. a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

nice :)


Socialism by any other name, is still Socialism

Hayek showed that Oligarchy, Socialism, Fascism, Marxism, State Capitalism, Leninism, Maoism, Serfdom, and all other Central Planning Governments are essentially the same. While their are different names for the participants, in practice a few individuals Own a great deal of individuals and property.

Oligarchy is the normal form of government in any country.

Oddly enough I was just thinking about this today. There is much talk in the media of oligarchs in Ukraine and Russia and the corruption associated with these people. However the revelations over the past few years of the actual way the US and other Western nations are governed by the banking and corporate elites have prepared people's minds for a scientific study of this nature.

I believe it is G. Edward Griffin who points out that the normal form of government in any country is an oligarchy and I know he was not the first. One book I read many years ago made the same claim. It was "The Managerial Revolution" by the political theorist James Burnham. He also observed that the oligarchs hid their control by means of conscious misdirection of their motivations.

What is perhaps less obvious is the intimate connection between oligarchy and corruption. By corruption I mean the incestuous relationship between the State and those who control the economy. Today that is the banking and corporate elites who are in many cases the same people. This means that the economy and the government are run for the benefit of the oligarchs who have over the past eighty years learned how to use skilful propaganda to convince the people of the United States that they live in a free and Constitutionally democratic republic under the rule of law.

If one studies history to any depth it becomes quite clear that, whatever the ostensible form of government, the actual structure is always oligarchic. Even the former Soviet Union was an oligarchy and this meant that when it dissolved those who were in charge remained in charge and came out of the closet as it were as the new financial oligarchs running the economy and the government. There may have been a bit of re-shuffling of the deck but the same form of government remained.

The only formal difference between the East and the West today is that the West has a bigger oligarchy and they want to swallow up the oligarchies of the East. This does not mean there are no other differences between them, but it may be that even these differences are illusory. However I have reason to believe that the differences are indeed more fundamental and therefore will result in a radical change in the government and economy if the East wins, although the form, if not the substance, will remain the same.

"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

Of Cousrse We are an Oligarchy

The Bushes and Clintons have been in high power positions over the last four decades and there is talk of the candidates for POTUS in 2016 may be Hillary and Jeb.

Oligarchy - Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families.

How do you control Oligarchs?

While I believe completely in free market capitalism for most all functions (having some limited non-profit public resources in parallel I believe is also appropriate and practicle), it is a myth that capitalism by itself is a self-correcting system, and that if just left alone ... it will create uptopia.

The raw power to exploit things and control things by private wealth and private power (Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Warburgs, Morgans, Chase, Goldman Sachs, etc.) is what drove the U.S. into Oligarchy. While a free market economy sounds wonderful, it is not without imperfections that come from those with "big money" seeking to hurt or deceive or ripoff the people -- in order to enrich themselves further (and build their own private Empires).

This is the great problem that the "pure", absolutist-Libertarians fail to confront: How do you control Oligarchs?

Clearly, they will not control or self-regulate themselves. And they will not face competition if they have the desire to starve out competition through acquisitions and financial corruption.

Big money and big business (by nature) wants to form cartels and Monopolies in order to dominate and drive out all the competition from the marketplace (the very thing that would provide balance). So there must be some regulating force to stop private cartels and Monopolies from forming in the first place before they do (Comcast), and warping the whole Marketplace .. and taking the "free" out of the free market.

In fact, every bad government policy has its origins coming from private sponsors (think tanks), and private profiteers that either created the idea, profit from the idea, or both. This tells you where the real power lies in our Country.

There must be some regulation to stop Wall Street theft, and to ensure a climate for fair competition in the marketplace, and to enforce the Law equally for rich people as well as poor.

Similarly, there must be some regulation that assures fair elections, and equal access with our elections. The fact that our Elections are today determined just by massive wealth (hundreds of millions of dollars), and not by ideas shows just how private power can totally wipe out a once effective democratic republic.

For example Glass-Steagall was a good government regulation. We are all worse off without it. If we also had regulation to stop Banks from granting loans on (phony) non-existent money .. this would also be good regulation. So when you hear libertarians like Peter Schiff just say that all we need is less regulation .... then this is a big problem.


What we need is a new regulatory system that makes corruption, bribery, and individual wealth powerless over that way that we all live -- and that ensures a level playing field in business, and in school, and overall in our lives.

Regardless of how dysfunctional and corrupt the government is right now, some sort of proper regulation needs to exist here, and it is the role of "government by the People" to try to provide that.

You cannot have freedom or liberty in an environment totally poisoned by the rich 1%, and also with two separate systems of "justice" in use.

Libertarians need to acknowledge that the awesome power (and greed) of private wealth is a corrupting influence. It was private wealth and private power that completely took over our Country (Rothschilds private-profiteering Central Bank system) and it is these Oligarchs that sit here at the top of the pyramid (and stand ready to put hundreds of millions of dollars in Jeb Bush's pocket and/or Hillary to get just what they want).

Something has to now finally regulate this power out of our existence, and also create a regulatory structure by which "free" competitive markets (not Monopolies), and elections based on ideas (and not private wealth) can finally exist.

It's not going to happen by "getting out of the way" of Wall Street, or Monsanto now is it?

Our liberty is not safe if people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That is what fascism is - the ownership of government by an individual, by an unelected group, or any controlling private power.


So it would be wise for Libertarians to join forces with "Progressives/Liberals" to form a large voting block around a new: "Get Wall Street, Big Banks, and War Profiteers Off Our Back" movement.

Those who simply hold on to the "get gov'rment off our backs" mantra are missing the whole point here of where the controlling power actually comes from.

So can we agree:

==> "Get Wall Street, Big Banks, and War Profiteers Off Our Backs"

That is the new movement that we need to see in our Country.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall was a tipping point

The banks and brokerage houses were lobbying for decades to repeal Glass-Steagall, 10 years later they collapsed the financial system with fraud and misrepresentation and no ones in jail for it.

LittleWing's picture

Yep, The Ruling Elite

Thanks DD, for posting this good read. They are corrupt,immoral, powerful and deadly but what they fear most is that we the people will realize it!

If Wars Can Be Started by Lies, They Can Be Stopped By Truth.

Clive Bundys little beta-test just proved it

Friday it was a theory, Sunday it became a proven fact. When they are confronted with honest, hardworking citizens with the facts behind them, they retreat.