It is very reassuring reading D Rodrik's column on Project Syndicate about how even the rich need governments and public institutions. The problem is that very often the super rich determine the policies and actions undertaken by national governments. This was the main argument of Oxfam's report "Working for the Few" which I co-authored. (Here's the link http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-working-for-few-political-capture-economic-inequality-200114-en.pdf)
In this report, we wrote "When wealth captures government policy making, the rules bend to favor the rich, often to the detriment of everyone else. The consequences include the erosion of democratic governance, the pulling apart of social cohesion, and the vanishing of equal opportunities for all. Unless bold political solutions are instituted to curb the influence of wealth on politics, governments will
work for the interests of the rich, while economic and political inequalities continue to rise. As US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, ‘We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.’"
What worries me is not that the rich opt out of participating in society, but that they use their voice and financial clout to shape the rules of the games - as the US example after the financial crisis mentioned by Rodrik shows. Using Hirschman terminology, it's not their exit from the political process and society but their undue voice that's of most concern.
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