The Argument Of Elitism Vs. Pluralism

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The question of “who get’s what, and how” is the guiding concern presented in the general argument of elitism vs. pluralism this week. The authors of the three key texts seem to each take a varying approach to answering this question, with some offering more extreme answers than others. On the most elitist extreme, Mills in The Power Elite (1956) provides a strong argument that the decisions made in politics are the direct result of the actions of a highly selective group of individuals who do not have the best interests of the mass public at heart. This elite is made up of (presumably) men from the realms of business, military, and high-level politics. Socio-economic factors such as income and social circle keep the elite in a position of power through their cumulative advantage. The tight control over decisions and actions of importance that this elite has is legitimized by their positions of legal, economic, and political importance. Mill further argues that the decision-making structures most viewers would point to as the source of policy and political action are little more than mid-level actors competing over petty decisions. Their ability to debate minor issues is unimpeded, though the elite ensures that there is no serious challenge to their authority from this mid-level. Further down on the power spectrum, Mill points to the apolitical masses, who exert no real influence over the decision making system. While a segment of this population may exert their right

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