Capitalism v. Democracy
Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution
Timothy K. Kuhner
2014, Available Now
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"Timothy Kuhner is one of today's most important young legal thinkers. Bringing a highly sophisticated understanding of both law and economics to bear on the critical relationship between democracy and the 21st century marketplace, Capitalism v. Democracy avoids easy answers and empty slogans. A must-read for anyone concerned with the health of American constitutional democracy, regardless of political inclinations."—Jefferson Powell, Duke University School of Law
"After Citizens United and McCutcheon, it is essential to think about the relationship of money to politics and the rights of corporations in our constitutional democracy. Timothy Kuhner has written a brilliant examination of these issues. All concerned with American democracy (which should be all of us) need to read this insightful book about political power at a time when money, and the corporations that possess it, have increasing influence."—Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California, Irvine School of Law
"This powerfully written work teaches us a fundamental lesson about American politics today: that the demand for reform is not partisan. From the Right and Left, Kuhner shows why the rules that corrupt both democracy and capitalism must change."—Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School
As of the latest national elections, it costs approximately $1 billion to become president, $10 million to become a Senator, and $1 million to become a Member of the House. High-priced campaigns, an elite class of donors and spenders, superPACs, and increasing corporate political power have become the new normal in American politics. In Capitalism v. Democracy, Timothy Kuhner explains how these conditions have corrupted American democracy, turning it into a system of rule that favors the wealthy and marginalizes ordinary citizens. Kuhner maintains that these conditions have corrupted capitalism as well, routing economic competition through political channels and allowing politically powerful companies to evade market forces. The Supreme Court has brought about both forms of corruption by striking down campaign finance reforms that limited the role of money in politics. Exposing the extreme economic worldview that pollutes constitutional interpretation, Kuhner shows how the Court became the architect of American plutocracy.
Capitalism v. Democracy offers the key to understanding why corporations are now citizens, money is political speech, limits on corporate spending are a form of censorship, democracy is a free market, and political equality and democratic integrity are unconstitutional constraints on money in politics. Supreme Court opinions have dictated these conditions in the name of the Constitution, as though the Constitution itself required the privatization of democracy. Kuhner explores the reasons behind these opinions, reveals that they form a blueprint for free market democracy, and demonstrates that this design corrupts both politics and markets. He argues that nothing short of a constitutional amendment can set the necessary boundaries between capitalism and democracy.
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