ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On Democracy, Corporations and Inequality

Infusing the institution of democracy with the ideology of higher growth without considering the fate of the majority results in a dangerous mutualism between private corporations and the government. The inclusive democracy of "one adult, one vote" is reconciled with the economic power of corporations by price rationing out the poor from any possibility of direct representation. Choice is closed through the institution of democracy and an ideology which equates higher growth with development.

This is a slightly edited text of the lecture delivered on the award of the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, the United States.

Analogies can mislead, but also illuminate at times, by providing a fresh perspective to a complex problem. The analogy that comes to my mind is the law of gravitation for discussing the link between inequality and economic power. Inequality is visible, even statistically measurable in many instances, but economic power that drives it is invisible and not measurable. Like the force of gravity, power is the organising principle of inequality, be it of income, or wealth, gender, race, religion and region. Its effects are seen in a pervasive manner in all spheres, but the ways in which economic power pulls and tilts visible economic variables remain invisibly obscure. It defies direct empirical analysis, and has to be analysed through its effects.

Forms of Domination

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