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Blending together class, organizational, and institutional perspectives, along with a wide range of unique new empirical information the author has assembled, Who Rules America? is an invaluable tool for teaching students about how power operates in U.S. society. This classic text has been completely updated to capture the full sweep of the dramatic changes that occurred in the United States during the first twelve years of the twenty-first century.
Table of Contents
1. Power and Class in America
What is Power?
The Social Science View of Power
Three Power Indicators
What is a Social Class?
Social Class According to Social Scientists
2. The Corporate Community
The Unexpected Origins of the Corporate Community
The Board of Directors
The Corporate Community
The Director Network as a Leadership Group
The Corporate Lawyers
From Small Farms to the Agrifood Business
Small Business: Not a Counterweight
Local Businesses Form Growth Coalitions
Structural Power and Its Limits
3. The Corporate Community and the Upper Class
Is There an American Upper Class?
Prepping for Power
The Feminine Half of the Upper Class
Dropouts, Failures, and Change Agents
Continuity and Upward Mobility
Is the Upper Class an Economic Class?
The Upper Class and Corporate Control
Where Do Corporate Executives Come From?
The Assimilation of Rising Corporate Executives
4. The Policy-Planning Network
An Overview of the Policy-Planning Network
Corporate Interlocks with Think Tanks and Policy Groups
The Mixed Role of Universities in American Power Conflicts
The Policy-Discussion Groups
The Committee for Economic Development
The Liberal-Labor Policy Network
The Power Elite
The Policy-Planning Network in Perspective
5. The Role of Public Opinion
An Overview of the Opinion-Shaping Network
Striving to Shape Opinion on Foreign Policy
Trying to Shape Opinion on Economic Policies
The Power Elite and Social Issues
The Role of the Mass Media
Attempts to “Enforce” Public Opinion
When Public Opinion Can and Cannot be Ignored
6. Parties and Elections
Electoral Rules as Containment Strategies
Electoral Constraints and Voter Suppression in America
How Growth Coalitions Changed Electoral Rules
How Elections Nonetheless Matter
Why Only Two Major Parties?
Republicans and Democrats
Party Primaries as Government Structures
The Big, Not Determinative, Role of Campaign Finance
The Obama Donor Network: A Case History
Other Corporate Support for Candidates
The Liberal-Labor Alliance in Electoral Politics
The Results of the Candidate Selection Process
But There's Still Uncertainty
7. How the Power Elite Dominate Government
The Role of Governments
The Special-Interest Process
The Policy-Making Process
Appointees to Government
The First Obama Administration
Supreme Court Appointments
The Liberal-Labor Alliance and Congress
Corporate Complaints of Impotence: Their Real Fears
The Limits of Corporate Domination
8. The Big Picture
Why Are the Corporate Rich So Powerful?
The Transformation of the American Power Structure