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Political Capitalism: Understanding the Beast that Broke the Cage (Part I: what is political capitalism?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 30, 2009

Editor note: This piece is reproduced from the website www.politicalcaptitalism.org with the permission of the author. This post, the first in a series, is germane to the current debate over climate/energy legislation that is backed by a number of large U.S. corporations (Enron then; GE, Duke, DuPont, etc. now).

Political capitalism is a private-property, market-oriented system that is compromised by business-sponsored government intervention. It is a socioeconomic system in which many or most regulations, subsidies, and tax-code provisions result from the lobbying efforts of directly affected businesses and their allies.

Today in the United States, there is greater political transparency and competition between political elites than was evident in the business-dominated past (the 19th and most of the 20th centuries). Interventions routinely result from non-business special interests representing education, the environment, labor, minorities, religion, retirees, science, and taxpayers, among others.…