Thursday, March 17, 2016

Crony Capitalism and Threefolding: Part 1

ACCORDING to the website of the Committee for Economic Development, a research and advocacy group, the Committee was formed in 1942 and contributed to passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act as well as to the creation of the Bretton Woods Agreement, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Marshall PlanThe CED is led by a “non-partisan group of corporate executives” (says Rebecca Ballhaus of the Wall Street Journal).

In fall 2015, the CED published the report Crony Capitalism: Unhealthy Relations Between Business and Government.  From a threefolding perspective, the report has limitations, but is well researched and strives for a balanced analysis.

"Crony capitalism," as the report notes, happens when politicians, for their own benefit, use their position in government to favor purely private interests within the economy.  In part because of the increasingly massive cost of funding election campaigns, some politicians seek to arrange tax preferences or public spending favorable to corporations ready to help fund expensive runs for political office.  Politicians are more likely to ignore economic groups and individuals with less money to spend on such campaigns.  Groups able to hire full-time lobbyists can cajole politicians peddling influence.  A justified perception thus arises that law and government are for sale, even if there is no explicit quid pro quo.

How big is this problem, and what solutions does the CED offer for it?  How would an advocate of social threefolding support or critique the CED's solutions? 

Part 2 of this series is here.   


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