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Encyclopedia > Ruling classes

The term ruling class refers to the ruling elite of a given society, even in democracies. The Italian sociologist Gaetano Mosca has coined for this class the term "political class". Gaetano Mosca (April 1, 1858 Palermo, Italy – November 8, 1941 Rome, Italy) was an Italian political scientist, journalist and public servant. ...

Marxian analysis

In Marxian political economics, the ruling class refers to that segment or class of society that has the most economic and -- only in second line -- political power. Under capitalism, the ruling class -- the capitalists or bourgeoisie -- consists of those who own and control the means of production and thus are able to dominate and exploit the working class, getting them to labor enough to produce surplus-value, the basis for profits, interest, and rent (property income). This property income can be used to accumulate more power, to extend class domination further. The economic power of a class gives it extraordinary political power, so that state or government policies almost always reflect the perceived interests of that class. Marxian economics refers to a body of economic thought stemming from the work of Karl Marx. ... Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... Sociologists usually define power as the ability to impose ones will on others, even if those others resist in some way. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... In economics, a capitalist is someone who owns capital, presumably within the economic system of capitalism. ... bourgeoisie is basically a trem that meens middle class. ... The means of production are physical, non-human, inputs used in production. ... The term exploitation may carry two distinct meanings: The act of utilizing something for any purpose. ... The production of surplus value, from Karl Marxs Capital in Lithographs, by Hugo Gellert, 1934 Surplus value is a concept created by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy, where its ultimate source is claimed to be unpaid surplus labour performed by the worker for the capitalist, serving... Most generally, the accumulation of capital refers simply to the gathering or amassment of objects of value; the increase in wealth; or the creation of wealth. ... A state is an organized political community, occupying a territory, and possessing internal and external sovereignty, that enforces a monopoly on the use of force. ...

The sociologist C. Wright Mills argued that the ruling class differs from the power elite. The latter simply refers to the small group of people with the most political power. Many of them are politicians, hired political managers, and military leaders. Social interactions of people and their consequences are the subject of sociology studies. ... Charles Wright Mills Charles Wright Mills (August 28, 1916, Waco, Texas – March 20, 1962, Nyack, New York) was an American sociologist. ... A Power Elite, in political and sociological theory, is a small group of people who control a disproportionate amount of the means of production and access to decision-makers in a political system. ...

In other modes of production, there are other ruling classes: under feudalism, it was the feudal lords, while under slavery, it was the slave-owners. In the writings of Karl Marx and the Marxist theory of historical materialism, a mode of production (in German: Produktionsweise, meaning the way of producing) is a specific combination of: productive forces: these include human labor-power, tools, equipment, buildings and technologies, materials, and improved land social and technical relations... Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste. ... It has been suggested that Chattel slavery be merged into this article or section. ...

Most stable groups of social animals (including humans) have a visible and invisible "ruling class". The decision makers in the group may change according to the decision-type and/ or the time of observation. For example, it used to be assumed that modern societies were patriarchal and the elders dominated the real decisions. Many market-led economies focus on the decision makers of each particular (assuredly minor) market sector, who may in fact be children or women.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Working class - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1283 words)
The concept of the working class is important in Marxist, Anarchist and Socialist thought, there is a great deal of political interest in the precise definition of who the working class is. Key points of commonality amongst various ideas include the idea that there is one working class, even though it may be internally divided.
Karl Marx defined the "working class" or proletariat as the multitude of individuals who sell their labor power for wages and do not own the means of production, and he believed them responsible for creating the wealth of a society.
Identification of a person as a member of the working class is often based on the nature of the work performed (Blue collar/White collar) by the person, the income of the person, or the extent of formal education that the person has completed.
  More results at FactBites »



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