Ultra-Rich ‘Philanthrocapitalist’ Class Undermining Global Democracy: Report

As foundations and wealthy individuals funnel money into global development, what “solutions” are they pursuing?

Bill & Melinda Gates
Melinda and Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009. (Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/cc)

From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates, it is no secret that the ultra-rich philanthropist class has an over-sized influence in shaping global politics and policies.

And a study (pdf) just out from the Global Policy Forum, an international watchdog group, makes the case that powerful philanthropic foundations—under the control of wealthy individuals—are actively undermining governments and inappropriately setting the agenda for international bodies like the United Nations. read more

What is ALEC and how is it tied to the GOP?

ALEC for Dummies

ALEC for DummiesTo understand what the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is, you have to look at what this organization does. Since ALEC is becoming bolder by the New York Minute, it’s easier to see exactly what their agenda is.

Common Cause answers the question, “What is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)?

For almost 40 years now, up to 300 of the largest US corporations—including Koch Industries, Verizon, Bank of America and Exxon—have used ALEC to push model legislation, which is beneficial to their corporate interests, into law in the states. ALEC boasts that a third of all state legislators in the US are members, introducing around 1,000 ALEC bills every year. By using ALEC to pursue their agenda, they are able to hide their fingerprints, avoid lobbying disclosure, and evade the kind of increased scrutiny that comes when citizens know it’s actually corporationsthat draftedsome of their most important laws. Recent ALEC bills have rolled back voting rights, reduced environmental protections and stripped away collective bargaining rights for workers around the country. read more

Lessig of FixCongressFirst.org to Speak at Ramapo College

Lawrence Lessig will speak to the community and students about the importance of taking private money out of public elections at Ramapo College on October 17. Lessig is also sponsoring a conference on the prospect of holding a conference about a constitutional convention this weekend. In a few minutes, the boys and I will be heading up there to join the dialogue.