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Old 23 May 2018, 09:02 PM
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Errata Errata is offline
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 13,201

Originally Posted by E. Q. Taft View Post
Still, I would like to believe there are enough people, even among the wealthiest, who can say, "Hey, living in a country surrounded by people who have to continually struggle to provide themselves with the basic necessities, even apart from any altruism, isn't really in my best interest." Isaac Asimov once wrote in a letter to a friend (quoting approximately from memory), "Uncle Sam takes forty percent of my income, but I don't mind; he gives me a nice country in exchange."
Among the wealthy it's probably a fairly even split between enlightened self-interest vs. malignant self-interest, but the system has gotten corrupt enough that the greedy have a built-in, systemic advantage.

Publicly traded corporations see it as a fiduciary responsibility to put their profits above the well being of the country. Even if the shareholders might on balance feel one way about an issue, there are so many layers insulating executives from individual shareholders (many of whom might not even know all the companies in their managed portfolios), that it's the bean counters in charge. The rules are sent up so that graft from those corporate interests carries a lot more weight with politicians than the constituents that they nominally represent. Few politicians on either side of the aisle feel very motivated to interrupt their revenue. Not zero, but the ones who want to fight corruption are going to have a very hard time getting 51% of their peers, or getting campaign contributions for reelection.

Voters themselves have proven to be very easily manipulated by a small, well-funded group of influencers, so you can buy both the politicians and the votes.
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