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Crony Capitalism: Right Here, Right Now, 37 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 5 (2014)


Crony capitalism describes an economic and political

environment in which pursuing and obtaining government

favors is both part of everyday life and a necessary protocol

for succeeding in business. Where crony capitalism exists,

notions of meritocracy have been displaced by notions of

cronyism or kleptocracy or something similar. Crony

capitalism has ebbed and flowed in our history, and it seems

as though today it is on the rise.

Just looking at late 2012 and early 2013, one could talk for

hours about the examples of crony capitalism—for example,

the $78 million tax write-off in the new tax bill for NASCAR

drivers. That write-off may be very popular—I don’t know—

but it is crony capitalism.

The tax benefits for the New York Liberty Zone provide

another example. Yet another was the tax victory given to

companies operating in American Samoa by Chris Dodd—a

former Connecticut Senator—who now represents Hollywood’s

movie studios. He got those companies a two-year extension on

a provision allowing film and television producers to expense

the first $15 million of production costs incurred in the United

States—a kind of wholesale crony capitalism.

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