6 Sep 2022


Power in America: Class model and Power Elite Model

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Class model 

The theory behind this model of power in America assumes that the state represents the interest and plight of people belonging to the class of capitalists. According to the theory in the class model, the state plays a major role in the reproduction of a capitalist system in the society even if the most influential people do not have a direct responsibility in the process of decision-making. It is also worth indicating that the conceptions behind the class model of power are largely in contradiction and disagreement with the assumptions of the pluralism model regarding an impartial state. This is done when the class model demonstrates the manner in which the state represents various economic interests. For example in the history of America, the networks of power have largely been linked to economic classes. Such classes are responsible for using capitalism have been able to come up with working classes and business owning classes (Temin, 2017). 

In this regard, money, and wealth play a critical role in acquiring power and being in positions of the ruling. This theory offers an explanation regarding the reason for maintaining unequal levels of power in the society by citing economic growth and development as one of the supporting pillars for its legitimacy. I do not agree with the explanation derived from this theory when it comes to the way it explains the need to maintain unequal levels of power within the American society. This is because the involvement of the state in representing certain economic interests is likely to discriminate against the social class that may be regarded as inferior. Thus, this trend is likely to result in interference of different social institutions, which may end up eliminating a sense of social cohesion among members of the society. Additionally, people could also end up being excluded from taking part in important social activities such as sports (Temin, 2017). 

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Power Elite Model 

This model involves a group referred to as the power elite, which comprises most powerful and influential individuals drawn from different sectors including military, corporate and political. Moreover, these groups may also represent a various section of the society in America where the members of the elite groups are involved in frequent interaction with each other. The interaction of the individuals within the elite groups as described by this model brings about a systematic collaboration of corporations and other institutions, which enhances their interconnectivity. Considering their level and extent of influence, the member of the power elite in America exercise a substantial control when it comes social, financial, cultural and civil as well as governmental organizations operating in the society. Members of this elite group have several things in common. For example, this power model brings together individuals who have attended similar schools, have intermarried and lived in the same areas ( Gilens, 2012). 

Some of the members of the elite power get appointments to cabinet, corporate executives as well as other key political appointments. In explaining the need to maintain unequal levels of power within the society, this model describes a set of attitudes and beliefs that embrace basic provisions of a free market system of economy. This elaborates the operations of various tenets of the right to private ownership of property, making a profit as well as the significance unequal wealth distribution. I am in agreement with this model of power and its operation because it is founded based on principles of a democratic and free society that promotes a strong and competitive business environment. Moreover, virtually all individuals who take part in planning and executing strategies of elite power have had experiences that enable them to share and accept the ideas behind this model of power in the American society (Gilens, 2012). 

Pluralist Model 

The theory involved in this model focuses on the distribution of power. In this case, the distribution of power takes place among different sections and groups such as business lobbyists, professional associates, and unions among several others. This model of power in America is founded and sustained on the thinking and view that the development of a society happens through liberal theorists. According to pluralist model, the establishment of policies takes place through negotiations and bargaining where large groups tend to have more influence. The public does not play an active role in this model of power but power is fragmented and dispersed and different groups of people are effectively provided with different means and channels of representation. Examples include the different types of groups represented in the pluralist model such as the insider groups (Milakovich and Gordon, 2009). 

One of the insider groups in America is the American Petroleum Institute, which is responsible for the representation of business interests and issues affecting companies and business in the oil sector. Others include commercial workers unions, which is part of labor insider groups charged with the responsibility of promoting policies that take care of the plight of workers as well as pushing for their interests. In this theory, the explanation with regard to maintaining levels of power in the society that are unequal points to the existence of a system with groups of representation. These groups are characterized by influences that are not equal and some have more influence than others do in the running of different affairs in the society. I agree with the arrangement provided and anchored in the theory that describes the pluralist model of power in America because it ensures effective representation of the members of public as well as fair compromise and bargaining of policies (Milakovich and Gordon, 2009). 


Gilens, M. (2012). Affluence and influence: Economic inequality and political power in 

America . Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. 

Milakovich, M. E., & Gordon, G. J. (2009). Public administration in America . Boston: 

Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 

Temin, P. (2017). The vanishing middle class: Prejudice and power in a dual economy . The MIT Press 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Power in America: Class model and Power Elite Model.


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