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The Wealth-Power Connection (Thomas Weisskopf Festschrift Conference Paper)
Arthur MacEwan | 10/31/2012
Abstract:
 Arthur MacEwan proceeds from a 1978 essay by Tom Weisskopf and his co-authors Richard Edwards and Michael Reich that asks the question, “How [has it been] possible for capitalists, who constitute an insignificant minority of the voting public, to get the state to act on their behalf?” As MacEwan describes, Weisskopf and his co-authors offer three main explanations: 1) Money power: Money buys access and influence and is generally decisive in winning elections; 2) Ideology: Capitalists can rule if they convince everyone else that the agenda of capital will benefit society as a whole; and 3) Capitalists run the economy: Since capitalists are directly responsible for hiring people into jobs—they are the “job creators,” in current right-wing rhetoric—the non-wealthy can easily become convinced that capitalists need to be supported by public policies, or else opportunities dry up for everyone. MacEwan argues that this basic framework is just as valid in 2012 as it was in 1978. 
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