The Public Interest

Some Elites are More Equal than Others

James Q. Wilson

Spring 1988

THE TRADITIONAL OBJECTION to democracy was that it would enable the many to exploit the few. To its early critics, democratic rule meant mob rule. Citizens would have equal votes but unequal wealth. Allowing all citizens to participate in passing laws would permit the many poor people to take wealth from the few rich people. To put it more formally, as long as the income of the median voter was less than that of the average voter, there would be a majority of voters who could add to their incomes by taxing away the "surplus" incomes of the minority.

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