Template:Documenting crony capitalism

This article first outlines suggested steps for creating an article with Category:Documenting crony capitalism. It then summarizes the elements desired in a typical article.

Creating a new article with Category:Documenting crony capitalismEdit

  1. Review the existing articles with Category:Documenting crony capitalism. If an article already exists regarding your specific issue, review and improve it if needed; see below.
  2. If you don't find your issue, search for it within Wikiversity. For example, you may search for "Finance industry in the United States".
  3. If another Wikiversity article by that title is found, you either need to create a new article with a different name or add "[[Category: Documenting crony capitalism]]" to end of the article you found. In the latter case, add any information it seems to lack. If it contains information that conflicts with sources you have, start by looking for ways to reconcile the discrepancy. Conflicts can sometimes be approached by adding the information you have to what is already there with some discussion about the relative biases of the different sources. While doing this, it is often wise to post comments and questions about the discrepancy in the "Discuss" page (called "Talk" in Wikipedia) associated with that article.
  4. If another Wikipedia article with that title is NOT found, you will be invited to create one. Please do so. For example, before there was an article on "Finance industry in the United States", a search invited the user to 'Create the page "Finance industry in the united states" on this wiki!'
  5. Start by putting "[[Category:Documenting crony capitalism]]" at the end. This signals to Wikiversity that the new page you are creating is part of the "Documenting crony capitalism" initiative.
  6. Write whatever you want, keeping in mind that sources should be cited for anything that others might question. A standard Mediawiki footnote starts with "<ref>" and ends with "</ref>". In between, you will typically (though not always) want to use a Wikipedia:Citation templates.


A complete "Documenting crony capitalism" article should begin with a {{Research project}} flag to identify it as a research project (and not a teaching tool, the other primary category of content on Wikiversity).

The introduction should briefly summarize analysis of the article, If feasible, this should include an estimate of the return on investment (ROI). If an ROI number is available, it seems appropriate to set it off on a separate line, something like the following:

ROI: $x for each $1 invested in lobbying 
and political campaign contributions.  

The indent tells the Mediawiki software to set this line off by itself. The current syntax calls for this line to begin as [[w:Return on investment |ROI:]] Any numbers given in this type of analysis will always conclude a large margin for error. In some cases, it may be appropriate to record a range rather than a single number, e.g., "between $x1 and $x2 for each $1 invested ... ."


The first section after the introduction will typically describe the beneficiaries / crony capitalists to whom this article is dedicated. If different data sources are used, each may use a somewhat different definition of the target group. If so, that should be mentioned here. For example, the article on the Finance industry in the United States notes that macroeconomic data comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Federal government of the United States, but the lobbying data comes from the Center for Responsive Politics. The latter includes w:real estate not included in the former. Identify here any apparent discrepancy with any adjustments made to compensate for the observed differences. Often the estimated returns are so large that they make modest discrepancies in definitions like this negligible by comparison.


Describe in a section by this title the amount of money spent in campaign contributions -- plus lobbying if available. Lobbying is important, because an estimated $7 is spent on lobbying for each $1 contributed by big money to political campaigns.

Where feasible, it could be helpful to give numbers in plot of investment by year in lobbying and campaign contributions and combined. In addition or in lieu of a plot, the numbers could be summarized in a table. Instructions for how to create a standard table in the Wikimedia markup language are available at Help:Table. Please confirm however that you have appropriate copyright permission for whatever you do, as outlined in the next subsection.


The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is an excellent source for data for many attempts to document crony capitalism in the United States. However, their data carry the Creative Commons attribution noncommercial share-alike (CC by nc sa) license, and Wikimedia projects like Wikiversity prefer to avoid any license with a noncommercial restriction.

A standard Wikimedia license statement found at the bottom of many pages reads, "Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply." However, it's not obvious how to specify "additional terms" such as a non-commercial restriction. Moreover, their "terms of use" say, "You are free to Read and Print, ... Share and Reuse ... media under free and open licenses, ... Contribute To and Edit ... Under the following conditions: ... You License Freely Your Contributions ... under a free and open license (unless your contribution is in the public domain)."

Therefore, any use of data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) in a Wikimedia project should be cleared with them first via contracts@crp.org. In writing them, you should describe the specific data set and analyses you've done or plan to do and request permission to release it under the Wikimedia standard Creative Commons attribution share-alike (CC by sa) license, without the noncommercial restriction they usually prefer.


Whatever you say should include footnotes, etc., describing the source of any data and any special procedures you used to transform the raw data into what is presented here. The information provided should be adequate to allow someone else to perform the analysis you did and get the same answer. Doing so will increase the credibility of your work and will allow others to do something similar but different. In many cases, the policy implications are mostly the same whether the ROI is $6 or $200 for each $1 invested in lobbying and campaign contributions, for example.

If the details are not excessive, they can be included in the article. If they are substantial, you may wish to write a separate article or "Appendix" section(s) for your article. Footnotes are specified in line beginning with <ref> and ending </ref>. In between you can write anything you want. However, footnotes typically include information using a Wikipedia:Citation templates, sometimes with other text.


Describe in a section by this title the benefits received in exchange for lobbying and political campaign contributions. Include if feasible subsections like the following:


Summarize the total in a single line indented by one space giving the return, e.g.,:

Return:  $80 billion per year between 2000 and 2011.  

Then translate that into ROI in the narrative, to justify the ROI figure above. Also translate it into $ per person in the US. Follow with a discussion of the uncertainty in this number, citing if possible sources for both high and low estimates of the return and ROI.

Immunity from prosecutionEdit

End with at least one section if appropriate on non-monetary benefits with appropriate citations.

Return on investmentEdit

    • Do we need a separate section on ROI? It seems to be handled well enough embedded in the narrative above. In other examples, might we need a separate section?

Advertising budgetsEdit

Advertisers do not like feeding mouths that bite than and have modified their advertising budgets to avoid doing so in the past. Commercial media outlets know this and only engage in a media feeding frenzy involving an advertiser when failing to do so would likely result an a sufficient loss in audience that they would lose money from the drop in advertising rates. Document what you can on that in a section devoted to this issue.


Summarize the above briefly.


List here any references cited above more than once; otherwise, you may not need a separate References section.