Economic Justice: Is there ‘Crony Capitalism’ in the U.S.? 1911 poster released by International Workers of the World movement to show the Pyramid of Capitalism that the IWW opposed. Most Americans think that free market capitalism is the best system for our future, as my national surveys have shown. But what kind of capitalism do we actually have?

Only one third of Americans (34%) think we have a system of free market capitalism, according to a poll this week by Rasmussen Reports. This poll shows that more Americans (39%) say we have a different kind of capitalism: crony capitalism. (Twenty-six percent are not sure.)

Crony capitalism generally means that business and government have a cozy relationship that provides benefits to business at the expense of the public good. According to Wikipedia (which is not blacked out today), this cozy relationship could translate into “favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth.” Crony capitalism does not produce economic justice.

Do Republicans and Democrats disagree on the question of crony versus free-market capitalism? They do, but only a little. Surprisingly, Republicans and independents “are slightly more likely than Democrats to say the United States has a system of crony capitalism,” according to Rasmussen Reports.

Do you see evidence of crony capitalism?

What examples would you point to?

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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

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