Found 2 comments on HN
specialist · 2018-11-20 · Original thread
The criticisms of so called sunshine laws are unconvincing. Any one supporting more direct democracy will favor such reforms.

As for why things took a right-wing turn in the mid-70s, I prefer this thesis:

Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

TL;DR: Titans of industry felt persecuted, rolled back The New Deal.

"Lobbying America tells the story of the political mobilization of American business in the 1970s and 1980s. Benjamin Waterhouse traces the rise and ultimate fragmentation of a broad-based effort to unify the business community and promote a fiscally conservative, antiregulatory, and market-oriented policy agenda to Congress and the country at large. Arguing that business's political involvement was historically distinctive during this period, Waterhouse illustrates the changing power and goals of America's top corporate leaders.

Examining the rise of the Business Roundtable and the revitalization of older business associations such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Waterhouse takes readers inside the mind-set of the powerful CEOs who responded to the crises of inflation, recession, and declining industrial productivity by organizing an effective and disciplined lobbying force. By the mid-1970s, that coalition transformed the economic power of the capitalist class into a broad-reaching political movement with real policy consequences. Ironically, the cohesion that characterized organized business failed to survive the ascent of conservative politics during the 1980s, and many of the coalition's top goals on regulatory and fiscal policies remained unfulfilled. The industrial CEOs who fancied themselves the "voice of business" found themselves one voice among many vying for influence in an increasingly turbulent and unsettled economic landscape.

Complicating assumptions that wealthy business leaders naturally get their way in Washington, Lobbying America shows how economic and political powers interact in the American democratic system."

coldtea · 2015-10-12 · Original thread
Maybe it's because of coming from a European background, but this kind of questions are quite baffling for me. I know you mean well, but I find that the idea that corporations do this kind of thing doesn't need any more proof than the fact that the earth is round.

If one follows the news, there are constant reminders of this kind of lobbying going on (corporations asking for special treatment, especially when it comes to taxes) for a whole century. Besides a lot of this is done right out in the open. I mean coorporate lobbying was invented exactly for that -- to push governments for favorable laws, special treatment, laxer environmental and other protections, etc. On top of that, there are all kinds of under-the-table deals (with lots of them exposed frequently) with politicians and corporations.

That said, here are some pointers to the issue. First the general Wikipedia article:

A number of published studies showed lobbying expenditures can yield great financial returns. For example, a study of the 50 firms that spent the most on lobbying relative to their assets compared their financial performance against that of the S&P 500 in the stock market concluded that spending on lobbying was a "spectacular investment" yielding "blistering" returns comparable to a high-flying hedge fund, even despite the financial downturn of the past few years. A 2011 meta-analysis of previous research findings found a positive correlation between corporate political activity and firm performance. Finally, a 2009 study found that lobbying brought a substantial return on investment, as much as 22,000% in some cases.

And the US specific one:

The Atlantic:

The Guardian:

National Review:




Oxford University Press:

Lawrence Lessig:

The Influence Machine: The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life

Lobbying America:

And those are "establishment" sources -- you'd get far better coverage in more outspoken and critical voices.

Regarding Apple in particular:

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