Sunday, July 24, 2011

Money and politics

James Taranto highlights a great quote from Clive Crook:
But [the UK Labour party] is just the same [as the conservatives], all the parties are just the same. They have to get on with the newspapers. And why is that? I think it's interesting that they have to because Britain has largely succeeded in getting money out of politics, something many Americans would like to do here. The consequence of doing that is that the newspapers become incredibly important and you have to have them in your pocket if you're going to do well.
In other words, getting money out of politics -- i.e. squelching the ability of average people to make their political voice heard through contributions to groups they agree with -- has served to empower the media and promote an insidious relationship with the country's politicians. It's effectively a transfer of power from the masses to the elites. 

Why is money in politics bad anyway? Does removing money promote better government? Is there evidence that other countries such as the UK which have less money also have better government or a more effective political system? How would this even be measured? What are the metrics? 

Lord Acton said that power corrupts. If this is true, shouldn't any genuine movement towards good government be premised on reducing the amount of power wielded by politicians?

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