February 2013 Archives

Economic elites or just the nature of business?

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The classic elite theory emphasizes how the values and preferences of governing elites affect public policy development. Domhoff's elite theory mostly evolves around one kind of elites- economic elites. Upper class are defined based on their existence in scope through private schools, clubs,summer resorts and other social institutions. These institutions successfully create "two types of relationships among upper class, common membership in specific social institutions and friendships based on social interactions within those institutions", (Domhoff, who rules america , Pg72) which differentiates them from other members of society and enables them to exert their influence as a "reference group" in society.

Domhoff pointed out that through this national wide and solid upper class identification, this group of elites has formed corporate community and gained influence over politics. I agree but also find some changes in the last decade .

It is true that many executives or stockholders come from upper class or middle upper class and many people consider it as a bad sign. However, the nature of business is finding resource and information (this explains why some Chinese national banks have quota every year to hire certain number of upper class born graduates--not because their education background but because who they know). Sometimes it is over-exaggerating that economic elites are taking over politics and try to control national policy agenda. Various kinds of interest groups from environmental policy group to gun control group have fought to exert their national influence. The problem U.S. facing since corporate community gained power is not their economic strength but their penetration to other areas. The Rockefeller money-oriented era has passed, more and more economic elites influence national policy by supporting their allies, fund-raising for their candidate. Domhoff examined the existence of corporate community and its forms but narrowed itself in business lens. In the past decades, many economic elites has managed to transform to political stars due to the economic recession. Thus, the emergence of corporate community is the nature of business , not the crux of the problem while their gradual influence in other areas would be the battlefield in the next several decades.

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