Pluralism Vs Elitism Essay

Most pluralists also believe that corporate leaders are too divided among themselves to dominate government.

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However, Marxists go on to say that the capitalist class has "fractions" or "segments" that can have disagreements with each other, and they stress that the working class is multi-layered and internally divided politically.

In the pluralist view, interest groups form coalitions around various issues.

Pluralism is the theory that most closely corresponds to claims made in high school textbooks and the mass media, and to what many Americans believe.

Its most general point is that there is not a dominant class or a set of institutionally based elites that has predominant power. Pluralism is based on the image of a free-market economy.

For example, pluralists talk of several "interest groups" that clash over government policies.

That seems very different from the Marxist emphasis on the conflict between two rival social classes, the capitalist class and the working class.As Mann puts it: Regulated competition is not "natural." If competition is not to degenerate into mutual suspicion and aggression and so result in anarchy, it requires elaborate, delicate social arrangements that respect the essential humanity, the powers, and the property fights of the various decentralized power actors. 534.) Mann is also highly critical of liberalism concerning its view on the relationship between social classes and the state because it has a tendency to see states and social classes as inherently in opposition: Liberalism views property rights as originating in the struggles of individuals to exploit nature, to acquire its surplus, and to transmit it to family and descendants.In this view public power is essentially external to private property rights.From the Four Networks perspective, pluralism is most generally found wanting because the historical record does not sustain its view, based in liberal theory, that all of history is essentially "capitalism writ large" (Mann, 1986, p. Human societies did not begin with self-maximizing individuals looking out for themselves, which is the basic pluralist assumption about human nature, but with small cooperative bands who shared meat in a totally egalitarian fashion (Boehm, 1999).Individuals did not scratch out private property and create markets, and then decide to develop the state as umpire and regulator, as in the myth of the social contract.These interest groups join together in different coalitions depending on the specific issues.Here pluralists point to the successes of non-business interest groups, such as labor unions from the 1930s to the 1960s, or environmentalists and consumer advocates in the 1970s, as evidence for their theory.It therefore says that the government in the United States is the most important power center.Third, there is a more recent theory, elite theory, which says that the leaders of big organizations inevitably dominate all large-scale societies, including the United States.The state may be brought in to institutionalize property rights, or it may be viewed as a dangerous threat to them; but the state is not a part of the creation of private property.Yet we have seen repeatedly that this is not historical fact.


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