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Lecture

Politics part 2


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA02H3
Professor
Mc Kinon

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-The sociological attempt to frame politics sociologically leads to two types of theories most
commonly…Pluralist and elite theories.
-Pluralist theories are generally rooted in functionalism.
-Elite theories are generally rooted in conflict theory.
Common questions asked…
Who holds power in Canada? Elected representatives, or a small elite behind the scenes?
Pluralists say that voters run the show. Elite theorists says that a powerful economic elite does.
Elite theorists
-Elite monopolies have the most power. Karl Marx is orginator of conlict and elite theory. Marx
wrote on the ruling class. Marx wrote for the NY times (thank you for the irrelevant tidbit of
information).
-Marx holds that democracy is a sham, because of the bourgeoisie (Marx’s ruling class: class
owning the means of producing wealth, aka a small capitalist elite owning and patrolling the
means of production, basically all big factories at the time of Marx).
-The bourgeoisie controls government officials, and thus governments do what the bourgeoisie
tells them to do. The government controls security forces (i.e. police, army) and these can be
called upon when workers get too uppity (i.e. strike).
-Marx said that the proletariat (working class) work for the bourgeoisie but are oppressed in the
form of wage oppression (in those times workers made subsistence wage, basically just enough to
stay alive, well, if you are a disposable body like I used to be in the factory, its still no different
today!); the proletariat has no discretionary income, i.e. they dont have any money left over to
buy their kids legoes and shit after paying for necessities, so they buy their kids things like
chemistry kids instead so their kids end up growing up smart suave and nerdy.
-Elite theory: Rests on the idea that there are class-shared economic interests, and the shared
interest of the wealthy is to pay workers as little as possible.
-Mills (wrote some book) said that the masses are ruled by a small elite of government, business,
and military, which have been the ruling elite of America in the 1950s.
-The military historically has had more power in the US than in other countries. The US spends
as much on military as the rest of the world combined.
-America is a wealthy country (McKinnon seems to think I am mentally retarded).
-At the top of pyramid of power are the wealthy business leaders and the executive branch of
government (president). Mills calls the military people thewarlords’ of America.
-C. Wright Mills was a free spirit. He went to the Soviet Union and started speaking his mind and
they kicked him out because they didnt like what he had to say. So Mills was a radical speaker.
-So there is this trinity (executive department of government, military and business): There is
evidence in Canada that the wealthy have a bigger contribution to the government?
The more money you make, the more your contribution to political parties, and the
more influence you have.
Because of this, there are limits on financial contribution in Canada now ($5000).
-Below this trinity, you find local opinion leaders (legislative branch of government , i.e.
chamber of commerce, businesses, etc.)
They generally go along and agree with the elites.
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-At the bottom, you have the masses, who are manipulated and exploited. The media manipulates
masses, keeping them happy via consumption, sporting events, etc. They are basically happy
idiots. Okay, now you may NEVER ask me why I dont watch much TV and movies any more.
-Voter turnout continues to go down and has stayed down during the latest federal election; 60-
65% of Canadians vote now. The rest dont. People who dont vote = masses. People who vote =
upper and upper middle class.
-Power elites: contain few members, but they are self-conscious as a specific group, and they are
cohesive (stick together). Elites arent necessarily cruel or diabolical (which means ultimately
evil), but are similar people sharing the same economic and political interest of control.
-Elites: Share community interests. They have the same economic views since they’re rich and
want to keep their money.
Obama has in mind wealth re-distribution, because he is Jesus re-incarnated.
-Obama is a socialist (it is very hard in the US for a sociologist to become president).
Because of him, the stock market is going to go down.
Obama wants to take away tax exemptions for the rich and has other taxes in
mind to slap on the rich as well. So the rich are soiling their boxers now.
-In Capitalist society, the people who invest and create jobs and wealth are the wealthy. So if you
punish them, they wont invest any money.
Some analysts are saying that Obama of Nazareth might keep us in the recession.
-Another elite theorist was Domhoff, who said that there are two types of coalitions
Corporate-conservative coalition. This coalition takes a large role in the financing and
support of political candidates. One aspect of this coalition is the people who run the
chamber of commerce. We call these actions policy formation, interest groups or lobby
groups (i.e. pharmaceuticals, mining something, other special interest groups, etc.)..
there is another coalition as well… a liberal labour coalition, based on labour unions,
environmental groups, liberal churches, universities, the artistic communities and more
verbal diarrhea from McKinnons mouth.
-The liberal labour coalition, is left of center. They like a bigger government, because a big
government increases tax spending. Big government, tax spending liberals.
-Domhoff says, sometimes these coalitions overlap and therefore arent always distinct (because
of this thinking, Domhoff is less of an elite theorist than Marx or Mills).
-There is a chifting composition and influence of the elites.
Power elites are not static. Their makeup and influence changes, i.e. during Mills’ time,
the military was powerful because of the cold war. Then the Soviet Union collapsed and
the cold war ended and its influence declined. Elites had a bit of collapse in their
influence, because of 9/11. Since then, there has been a slight resurgence of the military
and military industrial complex.
-Military industrial complex: The US military budget is in the millions of $. Once military
generals retire, they become lobbyists (i.e. they steer laws so money keeps going their way).
-The Liberal left coalitions are never as intense about defense (military) as the corporate-
conservative coalitions are. They are more into soft power than hard power.
Defense spending has been cut by Obama, further reducing the power of the military.
-In Canada, there is ZIP NADDA military influence.
www.notesolution.com
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