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do you find the work of C.Wright Mills on the power elite useful?

–5 votes
by that I mean does it help you understand the (oppressive) power relations in the modern state and economy
asked Nov 19, 2015 by anonymous
edited Nov 19, 2015
Could you possibly write something about who this person is or what their ideas are?
i have read (parts of) "the power elite". i found it to be a reasonably useful analysis of power dynamics at the elite levels of capitalist society, and particularly of the incestuous relationships of the power elite. not much surprising, at least to me.

it is written in a very unengaging (to me) style, and so comes across as very dry, even boring at times.
getting me to read it would take a lot more convincing than this.

asker: no one is saying you should read this book (lol), but it was a big deal among certain folks back in the day (it ages funky to know about it, as it does me!). here is what the wiki says:

In it Mills calls attention to the interwoven interests of the leaders of the military, corporate, and political elements of society and suggests that the ordinary citizen is a relatively powerless subject of manipulation by those entities.

The book is something of a counterpart of Mills' 1951 work, White Collar: The American Middle Classes, which examines the then-growing role of middle managers in American society. A main inspiration for the book was Franz Leopold Neumann's book Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism in 1942, a study of how Nazism came into a position of power in a democratic state like Germany. Behemoth had a major impact on Mills and he claimed that Behemoth had given him the "tools to grasp and analyse the entire total structure and as a warning of what could happen in a modern capitalist democracy".

I think there's an argument that the insights of the book have percolated through the left, and therefore (?) into anarchist circles. the helpless individual is certainly a premise for the assumption that organizations (ie large numbers) are needed to change anything.

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