Affluence and Influence

By Martin Gilens,

Book cover of Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America

Book description

Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged. Affluence and Influence definitively…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Affluence and Influence as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

For Martin Gilens, the normal business of governing in the U.S. is largely untroubled by the preferences and desires of anybody but the wealthy.  Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans’ preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not.

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