Even in the 21st Century There are Grounds for Arguing that Governments are Dominated by Small Elites

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Callum Davis        April 21, 2008

“Even in the 21st Century There are Grounds for Arguing that Governments are Dominated by Small, Exclusive Elites.” Discuss.

        An elite is a small group of people that posses disproportionally large amounts of scarce sources of influence over political decision-making: money, social prestige or political power. Pluralism suggests that political power is more dispersed, sometimes amongst various interest groups. A power elite is where a small group of people who hold most of the power and control most of the wealth of a state. A state elite is where the state is more despotic and the state’s power to limit the government is less than it should be. Marxism is the study of society as the conflict or struggle of social classes.

        There are many families that are heavily immersed in politics. George Bush senior and Junior, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Ed and David Miliband, Ted Kennedy and JFK, John Prescott and his son (who recently failed to make the selection to be a Labour candidate) and William Rees-Mogg, current peer and previous editor of the times and his two children who are both Conservative candidates for the next election. This links in with the claim from the extract where “the sons of the power elite” are “socialised” to enhance their “movement into positions similar to those held by their fathers.” In the US, if Hillary Clinton becomes president, two families would have dominated the president for nearly thirty years.

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        In both Parliament and Congress women and ethnic minorities are underrepresented. 19.7% of MPs are women and 13.8% of those in Congress are women. 2.3% of MPs are from an ethnic minority, while 14.4% of Congressmen are from ethnic minorities. The majority of MPS and Congressmen are white men, the majority of whom being well educated with degrees from the top universities. They are also on average much older than the minimum age for the office (only in America where there is a minimum age for positions in Congress). However, much has been done to change this, with all-women shortlists ...

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