Democracy Distorted: Wealth, Influence and Democratic by Jacob Rowbottom

By Jacob Rowbottom

High-profile controversies surrounding the investment of political events have proven how inequalities in wealth can input the political technique. the expansion of the pro lobbying of MPs and the administrative increases comparable questions on funds in politics. extra extensively, inequalities emerge by way of the possibilities the general public need to perform political debate. This research of the methods wealth can be utilized to persuade politics in Britain explores the danger posed to the primary of political equality. in addition to analyzing lobbying and occasion investment, the dialogue additionally makes a speciality of the possession and keep watch over of the media, the opportunity to be heard on the web and the effect of the privatisation of public areas on rights to gather and protest. this diversity of political actions, the writer proposes numerous ideas designed to guard the integrity of British democracy and prevent inequalities in wealth turning into inequalities in politics.

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The strategy to be considered here is to find other ways of reducing the impact of economic inequalities in the political sphere. In so far as legal reforms can be used to address these difficulties, strategies to be considered will include transparency requirements, limits to the amounts that can be spent on political activities, and the redistribution of political resources. Such measures take steps towards a fair process, but do not impose too great a restriction on the possible outcomes for democratic decision-making.

The use of economic resources therefore sets the agenda and determines which views will get priority during the pre-voting stages. The difficulty with this argument as a way of isolating wealth as a source of influence is that other inequalities, such as levels of expertise, can also determine who gets to disseminate information to a wide audience. When deciding whom to invite to brief Downing Street on an issue or whom to invite to speak on Newsnight, there is no need to put an established policy expert on the same footing as any other person with a vague interest in the topic.

Cunningham, Theories of Democracy, p. 77. 105 A. Heard, The Costs of Democracy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960) p. 90. 102 26 Democracy Distorted of influence becoming aligned and reinforcing rather than constraining one another. Similarly, when those in government also have an advantage based on wealth, then the economic resources can uphold rather than check state power. The most visible example of such a connection is in Italy, where Silvio Berlusconi, one of the country’s wealthiest individuals and owner of much of its mass media, is also its Prime Minister.

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