Book Signing for Kuhner’s ‘Capitalism v. Democracy’ Set for Sept. 4
Georgia State University College of Law will hold a book reading and discussion at 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 4, for Associate Professor Tim Kuhner’s new book, “Capitalism v. Democracy,” in the Law Library.
“Capitalism v. Democracy” explores how cases such as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission corrupt not just democracy, but capitalism. Kuhner writes how the U.S. Supreme Court’s many attacks on campaign finance reform have turned democracy into a system that favors the wealthy and marginalizes ordinary citizens.
“In the age of high-priced campaigns, an elite class of donors and spenders, super PACs (Political Action Committees) and increasing corporate political power have become the new normal in American politics,” he says. “Capitalism has taken over democracy and wealthy interests naturally have higher purchasing power.”
In the book, Kuhner examines how the death of campaign finance reform has corrupted capitalism, permitting economic competition to be routed through political channels.
“Blame it on the Supreme Court,” Kuhner says. “No other court in the world today justifies plutocracy. State and federal legislatures have acted countless times to restore democratic integrity and a minimum degree of political equality, but the Supreme Court considers civic values a threat to its free-market Constitution.”
Kuhner’s book details Supreme Court decisions from 1976 to 2014. While the Citizens United ruling enabled the wealthiest sliver of Americans and their corporate vehicles to control the political speech environment, the McCutcheon case grants them control over parties, candidates and officeholders directly.
“The Roberts Court is the ideological architect of American plutocracy and crony capitalism,” Kuhner says. “Its case law is full of bizarre free-market rhetoric that morphs democracy into a profitable market for economic expansion.”
For example, he cites the Supreme Court’s view in the Citizens United case that corruption is limited to bribery and doesn’t include superior access and influence for political donors and spenders.
“Should we celebrate that political parties and candidates are becoming less and less accountable to average Americans?” Kuhner asks. “Should we celebrate the fact that economic competition is increasingly corrupted by political favors?”
Kuhner is widely published in legal journals on the topic of campaign finance and the constitution, as well as democratic and economic theory, comparative law and international law. Prior to joining Georgia State Law, he was an associate professor of Anglo-American Law at la Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. He previously clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and conducted field research on conflict resolution in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow. Kuhner also worked in an international negotiation firm. He serves as a mediator with the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Commission on Dispute Resolution.