[OPE] Fukuyama on plutocracy (excerpt)

From: Jurriaan Bendien <jurriaanbendien@online.nl>
Date: Sun Jan 30 2011 - 09:54:58 EST

 Left Out

 by Francis Fukuyama

 The American Interest, January - February 2011 issue

(...) Why, given the economic history of the past thirty
 years, have we not seen the emergence of a powerful left-wing political
 movement seeking fairer distribution of growth? Why was Obama pilloried
 during the 2008 campaign for even using the word "redistribution", when all
 modern democracies (including the United States) already engage in a
 substantial degree of redistribution? Why has anti-elite populism taken a
 right-wing form, one that sees vast conspiracies not among private-sector
 actors like bankers and hedge-fund operators, but among government
 who were arguably trying to do no more than protect the public against real
 collusions if not outright conspiracies? Why have there been so few demands
 for a rethinking of the basic American social contract, when the present
 has been revealed to be so flawed? How can it be that large numbers of
 congressional Democrats and arguably the most socially liberal President in
 American history are now seriously considering extending, and even making
 permanent, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003? Is this not prima facie
 evidence of plutocracy?

 There are several possible answers to these questions. (...)
 A final explanation lies in the realm of ideas, and comes closest to a
 Marxist plutocracy-conspiracy theory. Simon Johnson's view that Wall Street
 constitutes an oligarchy manipulating the political system in a manner
 uncomfortably similar to the Russian oligarchs or other developing country
 elites does not ring true because it does not take account of ideas. At
 level, corrupt developing-country elites know they are getting away with
 murder (sometimes for real); they rarely try to justify their
 self-enrichment to themselves in moral terms. American elites, however,
 to believe they are helping society as a whole even as they help
 Thus the centrality of the efficient market hypothesis: Financiers proudly
 see themselves as "value creators", not as highbrow pickpockets of widows
 and orphans. (...)

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