The Power Elite

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"The Power Elite" by Mills describes 3 different centers of elite power in the United States as he observed them around the nineteen-sixties. The first group would be people of wealth, especially old money, inheritance, or being born into it, in addition to people who have earned their wealth through their upper ranks in business. The next group would be the top people in government such as Senators, certain members of Congress, and certain government agencies. He also lists top ranking military people as another group. Mills thought that many of these groups could be interchangeable. Military success could be turned into a successful business career. Top business people could turn their success in industry into an aspiring political career and vice-versa; top political people could use their contacts and political clout to be successful business entrepreneurs. It helped that many of these elitists knew each other, whether from the same schools they attended such as the top preparatory schools and right on through to the top universities such as Harvard or Yale. Many were related through marriages or birth because they were also from the same social class. Money begets money. They shared the same goals and aspirations. They had the same likes and dislikes, morals, and culture. They took care of their own. Mills felt that they took care of their own often at the expense of others. He makes it seem they felt deserving because of who they were. Mills writes that the power elite makes the decisions and makes it seem that the government is just a façade. If you think about it, top companies can affect unemployment rates. Also, interest rates can be moved depending on the growth of our economy. Wars pull us out of depression or recession or put us deeper into one. It certainly makes for interesting coffee talk. Think of the institutions today. People

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