Who Rules America? The Triumph of the Corporate Rich

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-05-17
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

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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

Social Clubs

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

Class Awareness

4. The Policy-Planning Network

An Overview of the Policy-Planning Network

Corporate Interlocks with Think Tanks and Policy Groups


Think Tanks

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

Power and Social Change

9. What Do Other Social Scientists Think?


Historical Institutionalism

The Organizational State Perspective

Elite Theory



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