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Cronyism, Corruption and Government Power [Video]

Cronyism is on everyone’s lips these days. The conventional view is that wealthy “special interests” — typically businesses — use their resources to influence elections and “game the system.” The result is special favors for them at the expense of everyone else. Ours is a government not of, by, and for the people, this view holds, but of, by, and for the “special interests.” Our system is not capitalism, they claim, but “crony-capitalism.”

There is some truth to the conventional view, but it is badly mistaken in significant ways. The result of these mistakes is that critics of cronyism often put the blame on those trying to influence government for entirely valid reasons and they fail to understand the true cause of cronyism. It’s not bad people, but a bad system and the ideas behind it that leads to cronyism. To prevent it, we don’t just need smaller government, we need the right kind of government.

In the fall, ARI’s Steve Simpson, our director of legal studies and a constitutional lawyer who challenged campaign finance cases for years, gave a series of talks explaining the real cause of cronyism and how to correct it as part of our Road to a Free Society speaking tour.

This one was recorded on November 19, 2014 at ARI’s headquarters in Irvine, California.

Steve also gave a version of this talk for the Hungry Minds Speakers Series in Denver, Colorado on October 4th. C-SPAN recorded the talk, which is available on C-SPAN2’s website here.