Review: Who Rules America (2013)

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Budget Process & Politics, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Science & Politics of Science, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

G. William Domhoff

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Stars for Early Warning on 1%, Holistic Analytics, and Clear Attention to Weakness of the 99%, April 19, 2014

This book was central to my education in Political Science (more political than science, more passive aggressive than normative). In light of all that we know now, the book MUST be considered both a 6 Star classic (in my top 10%, I read non-fiction in 98 categories), and highly relevant today.

It distresses me that there are no good reviews visible right now, this is partly because Amazon has destroyed really great reviews from past editions in order to make way for new generations of young reviewers, most of whom do not get pointed toward this book by their college professors, if they are lucky enough to even go to college.

Here is the 6th edition of the book where useful reviews are to be found:

Who Rules America? Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

I am posting an image from the author that shows how the social, corporate, and “hired hand” elite (for the latter, think tanks and politicians) intersect, with the 1% shown in the center (I added that bit).

Democracy is hard. Responsibility in democracy cannot be delegated or integrity is lost. When I and the author speak of integrity we are talking about accountability, the assurance of diversity in all councils, feedback loops, and the recognition of true costs of any decision. When the public delegates its responsibility for self-government, democracy is quickly lost. For other books that support this one, which can be considered “the original” in modern history (Toqueville's Democracy in America (Penguin Classics) is THE original), see my easily found list of my Amazon reviews on this topic and its anti-thesis corruption, by searching for:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Democracy Lost & Found

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Corruption 2.0

For anyone wanting more than is available from Inside the Book, or seeking a summary of the book, there is no better summary available than that provided by the author himself on a very powerful web site of his own, search online for:

The Class-Domination Theory of Power by G. William Domhoff

For myself, this book is both a celebration of what Politica Science can offer (see also the books listed below within my ten link limit), and also an indictment of the discipline of Political Science. I am in the process of thinking about how to change the discipline to answer these three WHAT IF questions:

WHAT IF Political Science were to make the evolving craft of intelligence (decision-support) its central focus, such that a new norm is established in which politics is evaluated in relation to its ability to engage in deep multi-cultural history and holistic analytics that are public in nature and inclusive of all eight tribes of public hybrid governance (academic, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, non-government/non-profit)?

WHAT IF Political Science actually became a science by embracing Whole Systems True Cost Economics as a foundational multi-disciplinary science with data indexed geospatially and in time; thus creating a more grounded landscape of financial, social, and ecological opportunity and threat — a basis for being a normative discipline.

WHAT IF Political Science recognized that in the Age of Information no discipline can be credible without the ability to collect, process, analyze, and share information affordably, inter-operably, and universally, which is to say, in an Open Source Everything fashion?

The author, in his summary at the end of the book, The Weaknesses of the Working Class, says:

QUOTE: There are many democratic countries where the working class — defined as all those white-collar and blue-collar workers who earn a salary or a wage — has more power than it does in the United States. This power is achieved primarily through labor unions and political parties. It is reflected in more egalitarian wealth and income distributions, a more equitable tax structure, better public health services, subsidized housing, and higher old-age and unemployment benefits.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

ALL IS NOT LOST. The USA is in a pre-revolutionary condition (see my second image posted above, based on my 1976 first graduate thesis), but the 1% have successfully fragmented the 99% and own law enforcement — witness over 7,000 Occupy protesters arrested, and no major bankers from Goldman Sachs, Morgan, Citi-Bank, or Bank of America, among others. For the explanation, Matt Taibbi's Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History remains the best, and so important that I offer one quote from Taibbi here (see my summary review at Amazon for much more detail):

QUOTE (32): What has taken place over the last generation is a highly complicated merger of crime and policy, of stealing and government. Far from taking care of the rest of us, the financial leaders of America and their political servants have seemingly reached the cynical conclusion that our society is not work saving and have taken on a new mission that involved not creating wealth for us all, but simply absconding with whatever wealth remains in our hollowed out economy. They don't feed us, we feed them.

Political Science needs to merge with Liberation Theology and True Cost Economics, rooted in Open Source Everything as a means of enabling public information-sharing and sense-making. That is my view. The author's book, first published in 1967 and totally updated in this new edition, remains “REF A” for where we are, still today, for lack of a normative discipline of Political Science, and a public that is good-hearted but morally and intellectually pathetic.

See Also:

American Ruling Class
Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War
The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence
Left Hand of God, The: Healing America's Political and Spiritual Crisis
The People's Advocate: The Life and Legal History of America's Most Fearless Public Interest Lawyer
How America Was Lost: From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas

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