Economic Inequality’s Impact On Political Voice

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May 11, 2012 by

Discussion at Demos think tank about new book, The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy about the devastating effects of economic inequality on our political process with moderator Kenneth Prewitt and authors Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, and Henry E. Brady,

The Unheavenly Chorus looks at the political participation of individual citizens alongside the political advocacy of thousands of organized interests–membership associations such as unions, professional associations, trade associations, and citizens groups, as well as organizations like corporations, hospitals, and universities. The well educated and affluent are active in many ways to make their voices heard, while the less advantaged are not.

Revealed is how the political voices of organized interests are even less representative than those of wealthy individuals, how political advantage is handed down across generations, how recruitment to political activity perpetuates and exaggerates existing biases, how political voice on the Internet replicates these inequalities–and more.

Drawing on numerous in-depth surveys of members of the public as well as the largest database of interest organizations ever created–representing more than thirty-five thousand organizations over a twenty-five-year period–the book conclusively demonstrates that American democracy is marred by deeply ingrained and persistent class-based political inequality.

In a true democracy, the preferences and needs of all citizens deserve equal consideration. Yet equal consideration is only possible with equal citizen voice. The Unheavenly Chorus reveals how far we really are from the democratic ideal and how hard it would be to attain it.

Kay Lehman Schlozman is the J. Joseph Moakley Endowed Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Sidney Verba is the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Government at Harvard University. Henry E. Brady is the Class of 1941 Monroe Deutsch Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Kenneth Prewitt is Carnegie Professor for Public Affairs at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, and past Director of the U.S. Census Bureau

Atho the speaking is clearly audible, there are some unpleasant electronic noises at times. Camera, edit by Joe Friendly

Economic Inequality’s Impact On Political Voice


Productivity, The Miracle of Compound Interest and Poverty by Michael Hudson

The Deadly, Unforeseen Consequences of Social Inequality by Murray Dobbin

Ralph Nader: Concentration, Curiosity and Imagination

Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger (must-see)

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

2 thoughts on “Economic Inequality’s Impact On Political Voice

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