3987685_US_Political_System_Today_and_Class_Theory

3987685_US_Political_System_Today_and_Class_Theory - Class...

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Class Theory 1 Running head: THE US POLITICAL SYSTEM TODAY AND CLASS THEORY The US Political System Today and Class Theory [Author’s Name] [Institution’s Name]
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Class Theory 2 The US Political System Today and Class Theory In my opinion, class theory best reflects the US political system today. There is also in America, an extremely distorted distribution of wealth and income. Throughout the twentieth century, the top 1% or so of wealth-holders have owned 2530% of all wealth and 55-65% of the wealth that really counts, corporate stock in major businesses and banks. But even that is not the whole story, for a mere .1% have at least 19% of all the wealth in the country-190 times as much as they would have if everyone had an equal share. As for income, well, the mal- distribution is not quite as bad. But one recent study argues that if income from capital gains is included, the top 1.5% of wealth holders receive 24% of yearly national income. And, as all studies on matters of wealth and income are quick to point out, these estimates are conservative. It is not hard for most of us to imagine that the social upper class uncovered in sociological research is made up of the top wealth holders revealed in wealth and income studies. However, it is not necessary to rely on our imaginations, for it is possible to do empirical studies linking the one group to the other. The first systematic studies along this line were reported by Michael Kraft and Scott Furlong, but there have been others since. In most countries, and in most times past in our own country, it would be taken for granted that an upper class with a highly
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Class Theory 3 disproportionate amount of wealth and income is a ruling class with domination over the government. How else, it would have been argued, could a tiny group possess so much if it didn't have its hooks into government? But not so in the United States of today. This nation is different, we are assured. It has no social classes, at least not in the traditional European sense, and anyhow there is social mobility--new millionaires are created daily. Besides, many different groups, including organized labor, organized farmers, consumers, and experts, have a hand in political decisions-at least since the New Deal. There is no such thing as a ruling class in America. In this paper I am going to suggest that in fact a ruling class does dominate this country, a suggestion which not only flies in the face of prevailing academic wisdom, but raises problems for political activists as well. To support this suggestion, I will describe four processes through which the wealthy few who are the ruling class dominate government. Let me begin by defining two terms, "ruling class" and "power elite." By a ruling class, I mean a clearly demarcated social upper class which A. has a disproportionate amount of wealth and income: B. generally fares better than other social groups on a variety of well-being statistics ranging from infant
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Class Theory 4 mortality rates to educational attainments to feelings of
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course MBA_W MBA-147822 taught by Professor Anne during the Spring '09 term at Windsor.

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3987685_US_Political_System_Today_and_Class_Theory - Class...

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