Predominant power in the United States has been held by those individuals in society that have money, and throughout our history this has been found to be true. People who have money and power usually associate with others that are either equally as powerful or are among the upper ranks in society. This gives the upper class the control to set the rules over policies that the other classes work under today.
Domhoff suggests that the reason that America has only had an economic power network is because there have been no rival networks for it to compete with over our history. If you were to look at England and other European countries they have one big church which has power over certain aspects of society. Unlike Germany, France and England we didn’t have a strong army until around the 1940’s to threaten to take control of our government. So with all of these factors it’s no wonder that the only power in our country has been an economic one.
Critics will argue that with elected officials, consumers, and organized groups have enough power together to have a more equal distribution of power than just having the people at the top control everything. However Domhoff argues that there is basically a cycle of the people who have power. Those who are wealthy have their own social circle to which the only associate with this. Within this social circle the members of the upper class have children and these children are then passed on their parents wealth and power when they get older creating a permanent upper class with control of power.
Members of this class also have power over the government, and if you think about it get away with a lot more than people of the middle or lower classes. In one of my criminal justice classes my professor was explaining how one of the elected officials in one of the counties was a pedophile and had been caught in the act, so my professor tried to get him time for it. However every time he tried to convict him the man would manage to get out of it because he had a huge influence over the judicial system.
This is one example of how people of the upper class have certain powers. Power is hard to measure though which is why indicators are usually present with those who have power. These indicators include; who benefits? Who governs? And who wins?. In our society that are certain things that everyone wants to do, such as travel, own a nice house, have a big income. Unfortunately not everyone can attain these things so therefore the people who do have these wanted luxuries are thought, in our eyes, to be powerful.
This article hasn’t really changed any of my beliefs about who has the power in the U. S. today. I’ve been told that people who have money have power, and if you think about it, it’s very true. Take for example the celebrities who come in contact with the law, you rarely if ever see them serve any jail time. However if it were anyone of the middle class who didn’t have this great name behind them and loads of money we would be put away for most of the crimes they’ve committed.
Also while we do have the right to vote our officials into office we don’t really decide who gets office the Electoral College has more power over that. This article also coincided with Schor’s article about how what we buy tells others a lot about us. We associate people with nice things as upper class, we strive to be like them and with this it gives them sort of a power over us. They’re kind of like the popular kids in high school we all want to be a part of their group and the majority of us would do anything in order to make that happen.
Courtney from Study Moose
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