No doubt globalization and other global and local processes have created some winners and they vouch for it. But the people now are concerned with the growing inequality between the rich and poor. Power elite is a term first used by Charles Wright Mills in his classic 1956 work, The Power Elite. The accepted meaning of ‘power elite’ in sociological and political theory is a relatively small set of individuals at the apices of a country’s economic, military and political institutions who wield disproportionate control over policy making, privilege and wealth, which, in turn, have global repercussions. While the ‘ruling class’ is characterized by social and heritage ties, the ‘power elite’ is based on the organizational ‘power structure’ via which its enormous affluence and, by implication, vast influence is acquired. The power structure and power elite theories were in direct contrast to those of the pluralists, who opined that power resides in groups and individuals who form voluntary interest groups, and work to make their wants public to responsive local governments via voting in elections, lobbying, and public opinion. The new theorists felt the pluralists’ ideas were based more on hope than reality.
In his book, The Power Elite and the State: How Policy is Made in America, G. William Domhoff, presents his case with a workmanlike, just-facts approach reminiscent of Michael Mann’s style in The Sources of Social Power. Domhoff also subscribes to Mann’s theory of “four sources of social power: ideological, economic, military, and political (IEMP) relationships.” (Domhoff 3). Admittedly Domhoff does an admirable job in bolstering both Mills’s as well as Mann’s theories by presenting factual data to support their – as well as his own – points of view. A major strength of Domhoff’s work lies in his approach of eschewing ...
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