Plutocracy and Partyocracy: Oligarchies Born of Constitutional Interpretation

21 Review of Constitutional Studies 115 (Issue 1, 2016)

28 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2016

See all articles by Timothy K. Kuhner

Timothy K. Kuhner

University of Auckland, Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2016

Abstract

Economic and political inequality could not have endured and grown as they have if the participatory, egalitarian, and representative facets of democracy were not kept in check. A comparative view of the financing of political parties and campaigns exposes two main options for doing so: allow economic elites to control democracy or allow elites from within major political parties to do so. Whether a product of the undue influence of wealthy donors and spenders or the power of major parties to increase their own public financing and exclude minor parties, many advanced democracies have broken their core promises of equality, popular participation, representation, and accountability. Unpopular laws and public disenchantment abound. This article suggests that enduring patterns within political finance have led to the consolidation of two forms of oligarchy: plutocracy, or government of, by and for the wealthy, which represents the decay of liberal democracy; and partyocracy, government by party elites who have appropriated state power, which represents the decay of social democracy. Together, these legal forms of corruption co- opt democracy’s values and outputs. The law of political finance must account for these pathological forms of democracy that produce unfair elections, unrepresentative governance, and unpopular laws and policies.

Keywords: Campaign finance, political finance, corruption, democratic theory, legal theory, plutocracy, partyocracy, liberal democracy, social democracy, liberalism, socialism

Suggested Citation

Kuhner, Timothy K., Plutocracy and Partyocracy: Oligarchies Born of Constitutional Interpretation (February 1, 2016). 21 Review of Constitutional Studies 115 (Issue 1, 2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862442 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2862442

Timothy K. Kuhner (Contact Author)

University of Auckland, Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

HOME PAGE: http://https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/people/profile/timothy-kuhner

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
116
Abstract Views
1,174
rank
306,148
PlumX Metrics