The Power Elite

The Power Elite

Book - 2000
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First published in 1956, The Power Elite stands as a contemporary classic of social science and social criticism. C. Wright Mills examines and critiques the organization of power in the United States, calling attention to three firmly interlocked prongs of power: the military, corporate, andpolitical elite. The Power Elite can be read as a good account of what was taking place in America at the time it was written, but its underlying question of whether America is as democratic in practice as it is in theory continues to matter very much today.What The Power Elite informed readers of in 1956 was how much the organization of power in America had changed during their lifetimes, and Alan Wolfe's astute afterword to this new edition brings us up to date, illustrating how much more has changed since then. Wolfe sorts out what is helpful inMills' book and which of his predictions have not come to bear, laying out the radical changes in American capitalism, from intense global competition and the collapse of communism to rapid technological transformations and ever changing consumer tastes. The Power Elite has stimulated generations ofreaders to think about the kind of society they have and the kind of society they might want, and deserves to be read by every new generation.
Publisher: London : Oxford University Press, c2000.
Edition: New ed.
ISBN: 9780195133547
Characteristics: 442 p. ;,21 cm.


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Sep 07, 2013

From the Author Notes: " of the most controversial social scientists of the mid-twentieth century." Hardly! Even more of an abysmal read the second time around than when I first read it in my teens. Wright has a difficult time ascertaining who the richest are in America, and appears ignorant of the most important economics study up until that time (and probably since that time), the TNEC study, or the Temporary National Economic Committee study - - which must have been important since much of it is still classified to this very day, and spawned the federal lawsuit, "US Government v. Morgan et al." (also known as the Wall Street 17, alleging a criminal conspiracy dating back to 1914, of the concentrated corporate ownership through the 17 banks of Wall Street). [Interesting historical note: the last action FDR took in office was to give the go-ahead to the DOJ to initiate this lawsuit, while the last action taken by President Kennedy took in office was to lend his full support to Rep. Wright Patman's congressional study into how the super-rich hide their ownership and wealth in foundations and trusts - - both presidents died while in office, i.e., while going after the super-rich.] Instead of this book, one should read the existing portions of the TNEC study together with a real sociologist's book, "The Rich and the Super-Rich" by Ferdinand Lundberg. [A debate in the NY Times occurred over the book between economist John Kenneth Galbraith - - whom I've always respected - - and Mr. Lundberg with Lundberg arguing the facts and Galbraith arguing the status quo --- Mr. Lundberg really appeared intelligent by comparison!]

Mar 29, 2013

This book was a tough read for me, but a good one.

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