America Wealth and Power Are Positively Correlated Essay

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America

Wealth and power are positively correlated in American society. People in power are almost invariably wealthy, and the wealthy have access to more avenues of political as well as purchasing power. A cursory glance at the White House indicates that wealth and power are demonstrably linked: George W. Bush comes from a history of Texan aristocrats, and Cheney has amassed great personal fortune from his business investments. Politicians who started off poor invariably become wealthy once they make it into positions of power because of the intimate tie between government and business in the United States. Few if any leaders in American history have disavowed a materialistic lifestyle.

Outside the political realm, ordinary citizens demonstrate the close connection between wealth and power. The wealthy have the ability to hire strong lawyers and are therefore more able to master the judicial system when they are arrested, sued, or charged with a crime. As a result, the wealthy receive lesser prison sentences; white collar crimes, although they involve massive amounts of money, are rarely met with more than a symbolic "slap on the wrist." Similarly, wealthy celebrities are able to deal their way out of legal problems. On the contrary, American prisons are filled with the poor and politically disenfranchised. Being placed in prison exacerbates their poverty, entrenching the poor in systems of criminality and preventing them from finding viable work or livelihoods once their sentences are complete. Therefore, the poor stay poor while the wealthy get richer.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on America Wealth and Power Are Positively Correlated Assignment

More broadly, the relationship between wealth and power is evident in our consumer society. Large corporations own almost all forms of mass media. Because of the powerful influence of the television media on American consciousness, the wealthy control social norms and values in the country. There are few exceptions to the rule that wealth equals power in America. Notable writers like Henry David Thoreau, for instance, eschewed personal wealth but his books became powerful in their own right.

2. American business interests influence and shape American foreign policy in the United States. The ways in which the United States acts toward other nations is usually an expression of business interests. Occasionally the reverse is also true. For example, the United States has a trading embargo with Cuba; no goods or services including tourism can flow between the two nations. Therefore, no American corporation can extend its market to the Cuban people, and likewise, no Cuban corporation can buy or sell products to the American market. Because business practices must follow rules of law and trade agreements, business in America often follows foreign policy. When trade agreements favor cheap tariffs, then goods and services flow freely between nations; when the United States imposes heavy taxes on goods coming from certain nations, then trade with that nation will be restricted and vice versa.

However, more often is the case in which American business interests shape American foreign policy. The war in Iraq is arguably about American oil interests, and American foreign policy throughout the Middle East remains largely a matter of business savvy. Likewise, American policy toward China is undoubtedly tailored around forging profitable trade relations. The United States generally favors governments that are conducive to its business interests, regardless of their human rights records. The support of military dictatorships throughout the world, as in Iran, in Nicaragua, and in many other nations proves that the United States bases its foreign policy according to corporate interests. When a nation has nothing to offer American business interests, the United States does not intervene with its policies.

3. There is often a legitimate basis for offering defense of American institutions, many of which are valuable and worthwhile. However, defending the United States has lately taken an ironic, paradoxical twist with the U.S.A. Patriot Act. With the express goal of preserving American life, the Act restricts some of the basic civil liberties set forth in the Bill of Rights. Therefore, a defense of American institutions is legitimate only when it ascribes to the country's fundamental tenets and ideologies. When an institution deprives anyone of the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," then that institution itself cannot be legitimately defended in law or in popular culture. For example, illegitimate defenses of American institutions, including that of slavery, illustrate the point that many institutions become outmoded. In fact, the institution of slavery was in fact supported by constitutional law until the 13th Amendment.

Today, defending American institutions often becomes a similar battle between differing social ideologies. The contentious issue of gay marriage is an example of how an institution like marriage can be defined in different ways by different people. In cases like these, close scrutiny should be paid to the Constitution, the laws of which should be followed regardless of personal belief when it comes to offering defense of certain social institutions. Like defending slavery, defending an outmoded model of marriage is an illegitimate effort that has no moral basis for defense.

However, defending U.S. institutions is legitimate when those institutions reflect American ideals of social justice, liberty, and equality. The rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are tantamount to all others, and using military defense to preserve these rights is often unfortunately necessary, as in the current age of terrorism.

4. The "American" experience is at once diverse and collective, heterogeneous and homogenous. Consumerism is one of the most conflicted of all American experiences: consumerism keeps the flow of capital bountiful in the United States but at the same time makes many Americans slaves to materialism. However, beneath all of the social ills evident in America, many aspects of the culture are inherently valuable and ought to be preserved. Among these are the various rights freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution: the freedom of religion, the freedom of press, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, and the right to due process of law. All of these rights and freedoms are valuable part of the American experience and ought to be preserved through the law and through common culture.

The freedom of religion enables persons to worship or not worship as they see fit. In a nation espousing religious tolerance and diversity, it would be impossible to infuse religious doctrine into politics. Therefore, although the phrase "separation of Church and State" is not spelled out in the Constitution, a policy of separation must be practiced in order to preserve the freedom of religion. Similarly, there are some limitations on the freedom of speech: messages of hatred and bigotry cannot be tolerated in a free-thinking and liberal society. However, whatever a person chooses to say and do in the privacy of their own homes, so long as it harms none, should be ultimately preserved through ancillary rights such as the right to privacy. The government should not interfere with a person's private or personal life, so the right of privacy is one of the most valuable of our American privileges.

Other aspects of the American experience that are inherently valuable include freedom of the press, which enables individuals to report on anything and everything without fear of censorship. When corporations control the mass media, the freedom of press becomes restricted and therefore legislation should be enacted to prevent the control of the media by special interest groups. The right to due process of law is another one of the key parts of the American experience: because most Americans will never see the inside of a courtroom or a jailhouse, the knowledge that we will be "innocent until proven guilty" is often taken for granted. However, due process gives all citizens the reassurance that they will not be unlawfully arrested or detained.

5. All American rights and freedoms are valuable. Beneath each is the underlying and broad concept of freedom.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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