Capitalism v. Democracy offers the key to understanding why corporations are now citizens, money is political speech, limits on corporate spending are a form of censorship, democracy is a free market, and political equality and democratic integrity are unconstitutional constraints on money in politics. Supreme Court opinions have dictated these conditions in the name of the Constitution, as though the Constitution itself required the privatization of democracy. Kuhner explores the reasons behind these opinions, reveals that they form a blueprint for free market democracy, and demonstrates that this design corrupts both politics and markets. He argues that nothing short of a constitutional amendment can set the necessary boundaries between capitalism and democracy.
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"A must-read for anyone concerned with the health of American constitutional democracy, regardless of political inclinations." (Jefferson Powell, Duke University School of Law)
"All concerned with American democracy (which should be all of us) need to read this insightful book about political power at a time when money, and the corporations that possess it, have increasing influence." (Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California, Irvine School of Law)
"This powerfully written work teaches us a fundamental lesson about American politics today: that the demand for reform is not partisan. From the Right and Left, Kuhner shows why the rules that corrupt both democracy and capitalism must change." (Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School)
Behold! A snob is about to pontificate
In general, extremely sound researcj and reasoning. A bit monotone-ish on the reading.
If you are like me, and trying to make a difference in the catastrophic course the U.S. Supreme Court has set us on, then this book and Zephyr Teachout's Corruption in America are absolutely essential. This book breaks down the recent history of the Supreme Court steadily fixing the Constitution to the economic ideals which have led us into crisis after crisis.
Software engineer and avid, lifetime student. I like deep, thoughtful non-fiction, and fiction that compliments and enriches it.
This is an excellent contribution to the growing problem of the appropriate role of money in influencing politcs. It's a very dense read, however, and my only criticism is that it may have been written in an overly florid style that can make it unnecessarily difficult to understand at times. However, I'm not sure how much of that is caused by the horrible reader, who pounds out the syllables with only the most rudimentary variation in tone, even misproniuncing some words seemingly merely because the correct pronunciation would throw off his rhythm! There should be a charity fund for great books that need to be recorded via a GOOD narrator (to facilitate reading comprehension, mainly) and this book would be near the top of that list.
So I'm definitely going to go back and read/listen to this one again. I'd like to write more about what the book is about, but .... it's complicated. Basically, the author illuminates the idea that the political sphere can be thought of as a "market", discusses where that analogy breaks down, what a "free-market" really means (to a real market, not politics), and then addresses how the "free-market" analogy can - and cannot - be applied to the political sphere, with a healthy dose of criticism on the ideological leaders of free-market-politics. He ultimately builds to a case for an ammendment that would recognize the political power of capital and therefore place a new "separation of powers" barrier on the freedom of capital to influence the government.
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