Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

“It’s not enough for governments to simply be democratic,” Oxford professor Stein Ringen recently wrote in the Washington Post, “they must deliver or decay.”

Deliver what, you ask?

Ringen isn’t clear — surprise, surprise — but attacks “Thatcherite inequality” — though, he admits it’s worse today in Great Britain than when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister (1979-1990). Why no progress to his apparent ideal of economic equality? According to Ringen, “concentrations of economic power . . . have become unmanageable.”

He advances the same analysis of U.S. “democracy,” claiming that power has been “usurped by actors such as PACs, think tanks, media and lobbying organizations.”

Think tanks are a problem?

Ringen doesn’t explain how these additional voices serve to undercut “democracy.” Instead, he simply hurls broadsides against our “mega-expensive politics,” warning that, “When money is allowed to transgress from markets, where it belongs, to politics, where it has no business, those who control it gain power to decide who the successful candidates will be — those they wish to fund — and what they can decide once they are in office.”

There is generally money on both or numerous sides of any given policy question. There is certainly no monolithic “they” constituting “the rich” who decide our public policy over tea at the club. Pretending there is won’t help democracy.

“It is a misunderstanding to think that candidates chase money,” writes the professor from his ivory tower. “It is money that chases candidates.”

Really? Ringen can easily test his hypothesis: run for office and wait for all that money to chase him down.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Rick says:

    He’s an idiot but he’s right about “concentrations of economic power”.

    Because the fed propped up everything, the bad actors were not wiped out. They are in fact now in control. The very people, across the board, in economics and politics who should have been brought to justice for their part in everything that has gone wrong in our economy have been saved by the fed and they now OWN us. Remember, it was Eric Holder who admitted that there are banks that are “too big to prosecute”. Please note that they only decided to go after Blythe Masters AFTER jpmorgan sold their commodity unit.

    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. former head of commodities Blythe Masters is under investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors, according to a report on Bloomberg, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. The probe opened after the firm settled with regulators over allegations of manipulating the power markets in the Midwest and California, Bloomberg reported. J.P. Morgan settled for $410 million last July with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) without admitting or denying wrongdoing. J.P. Morgan recently announced Masters exit from the firm, after the sale of its physical commodities unit to Geneva-based Mercuria Energy Group Ltd for $3.5 billion. The report also noted that Masters wanted to continue as the CEO of the commodities after the sale.

  2. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    Whenever I read about the manipulations, high shenanigans, cronyism and inter connections I can only think of the “Tangled Web we Weave.” Getting an understanding of this is difficult for sure. Explaining it to others is nigh impossible.

  3. JFB says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that such pundits cannot see what is so oblivious to any rational observer, the reason there is money in politics is due to the fact the government has usurped hideous amounts of economic control and power. Government’s favor is now necessary to “successful”. Its disfavor is ruin. The system is called fascism.
    The concentration of economic power which has become unmanageable is the government itself, and making it more powerful is NOT the antidote.

  4. Drik says:

    Ringen is another wordy theoretician pontificating from his ivory tower and protected from the consequences of his lack of real world experience by tenure. Also getting acolades from others of the same ilk.

  5. MoreFreedom says:

    JFB is right, and Rick is wrong. Corporations have no power, just advantages bestowed on them by government (like restricting competition, or bailing them out).

    The banks don’t own us, and can’t force us to do business with them, or give them money. But the government sure can, and does, via the guns they’ll use on you if you refuse to pay them.

    If politicians weren’t selling favors, there wouldn’t be money chasing them. And the more power the government has to pick winners and losers, the more advantage the rich 1% have over the rest of us. The solution is to separate the state and commerce, and allow disputes in commerce to be handled by the courts using property and common law to deal with breach of contract, fraud, etc.

  6. Karen says:

    Agree with Drik. With professors like these teaching our youth; it should be no wonder that they can’t find jobs.

  7. MingoV says:

    If money has no business in politics, then why do the politicians in the USA control over one-third of all spending?

  8. George Ripley says:

    So you think that unlimited bribery is acceptable? I’m not sure I understand your meaning Paul.

  9. David Frank says:

    This is real COMMON SENSE and REAL DEMOCRACY..Please just give this video 5 minutes…
    It is NOT ‘Empowering’ the American People with a Real Voice on the Issues that Affects Their Lives. The same ‘Empowerment’ that our Founders and Ancestors wanted for’ U.S.’

  10. Rick says:

    MoreFreedom says: “Corporations have no power”

    Are you in business?

    I actually agree with Elizabeth Warren on the problem of the TBTF–too big to fail– banks. She calculates that Fed zero interest rate policy hands the TBTF banks an $85BILLION/year advantage over smaller banks. They are so out of control that they dare the Fed to let rates float because they will go into systemic collapse. Which would be a good thing but ugly to watch while it happened.

    No power?

    The big companies institutionalize their control over markets every day. It’s called regulatory capture and it exists in every single agency.

  11. Rick says:

    Incredible interview with the former chief economist of the BIS, which is the Central Bank for the Central Banks:

    Do you see outright bubbles in financial markets?

    Yes, I do. Investors try to attribute the rising stock markets to good fundamentals. But I don’t buy that. People are caught up in the momentum of all the liquidity that is provided by the central banks. This is a liquidity driven thing, not based on fundamentals.
    So are we mostly seeing what the Fed has been doing since 1987 – provide liquidity and pump markets up again?

    Absolutely. We just saw the last chapter of that long history. This is the last of a whole series of bubbles that have been blown. In the past, monetary policy has always succeeded in pulling up the economy. But each time, the Fed had to act more vigorously to achieve its results. So, logically, at a certain point, it won’t work anymore. Then we’ll be in big trouble. And we will have wasted many years in which we could have been following better policies that would have maintained growth in much more sustainable ways. Now, to make you feel better, I said the same in 1998, and I was way too early.
    What about the moral hazard of all this?

    The fact of the matter is that if you have had 25 years of central bank and government bailout whenever there was a problem, and the bankers come to appreciate that fact, then we are back in a world where the banks get all the profits, while the government socializes all the losses. Then it just gets worse and worse. So, in terms of curbing the financial system, my own sense is that all of the stuff that has been done until now, while very useful, Basel III and all that, is not going to be sufficient to deal with the moral hazard problem. I would have liked to see a return to limited banking, a return to private ownership, a return to people going to prison when they do bad things. Moral hazard is a real issue

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