Incentivize the Powerful or Empower the Poor?: Thoughts on John McCormick's Machiavellian Democracy

Incentivize the Powerful or Empower the Poor?: Thoughts on John McCormick's Machiavellian Democracy a n drew re h f e l d On September 16, 2008, US Treasury Secretary Stanley Paulson and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke held a "closed door meeting" with members of congress at which they shared information about the pending financial crisis. The next day one of those attendees, Congressman Jim Moran, sold off his financial shares in companies that stood to be affected. Because legislators are apparently not forbidden to trade on information gleaned as a result of their insider access, the trade was legal.1 While the political benefits of wealth is well documented through the influence of money on politics, the economic benefits of political power should now be abundantly clear as well. In neither case does the public good seem to be much enhanced. A rising tide may raise all boats, but increasingly it appears that the political and economic elite are simply siphoning off water to play in their own reservoir. As the global economic crises of the past 3 years continue to spread misery to those outside of the top 90% of whatever measure one uses of wealth and political influence, one has to wonder whether our current institutions are http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Incentivize the Powerful or Empower the Poor?: Thoughts on John McCormick's Machiavellian Democracy

The Good Society, Volume 20 (2) – Feb 16, 2011

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-9731
Publisher site
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Abstract

a n drew re h f e l d On September 16, 2008, US Treasury Secretary Stanley Paulson and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke held a "closed door meeting" with members of congress at which they shared information about the pending financial crisis. The next day one of those attendees, Congressman Jim Moran, sold off his financial shares in companies that stood to be affected. Because legislators are apparently not forbidden to trade on information gleaned as a result of their insider access, the trade was legal.1 While the political benefits of wealth is well documented through the influence of money on politics, the economic benefits of political power should now be abundantly clear as well. In neither case does the public good seem to be much enhanced. A rising tide may raise all boats, but increasingly it appears that the political and economic elite are simply siphoning off water to play in their own reservoir. As the global economic crises of the past 3 years continue to spread misery to those outside of the top 90% of whatever measure one uses of wealth and political influence, one has to wonder whether our current institutions are

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Feb 16, 2011

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