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‘Obama replaces Congress with plutocrats’ – what’s new?

Though the title of Christopher Caldwell’s Financial Times article belies the content, many in Britain and America have long been aware of the evidence that decision-making is already in the hands of corporates and their political allies.

The evidence is strongest in the pharmaceutical, ‘defence’, banking and agroindustrial sectors but proliferates elsewhere with service industries, including Capita, Serco and G4S.

Caldwell actually wrote that Obama’s proposed move to address the refusal by Congress to allocate money for pre-kindergarten education, is an alternative to gridlock and a harbinger of plutocracy.

In the president’s State of the Union address to Congress, he proposed to “pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists” to do it: “With the support of the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20m students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.”

Caldwell sees this as an ominous development: “It is inviting politically connected entrepreneurs and corporations to assume a formal role in government, by virtue of nothing except their money”.

But is this not already standard practice in Britain, America and some other countries – the rule rather than the exception?