The Power Elite

Furthermore, in his “Essays in Persuasion,” the 20th century British economist John Maynard Keynes weighed in on the nature and state of the present-day American system by noting three prominent characteristics and features of the present-day American system. For one, Keynes argued that the American system is buoyed and promoted by what he called fraudsters, hucksters, liars, and “spinsters.” Second, Keynes noted that the president in the White House is made to be mindless and useless by design. And third, Keynes voiced his disdain for the secrecy which shrouds the Federal Reserve.

But as one ordinary American wrote, the fraudsters, hucksters, liars, and spinsters in bureaucracy, Congress, and the American mainstream media are guided by a very strategic objective, namely, to distract the American public and the broader world from the dealings and the give-and-take which occur from within the “Power Elite” that consists of just two entities, namely, private money and the Pentagon. In general, bureaucracy, Congress, and the American mainstream media seek to foster an aura of “prestige” around the American system in order to bolster the power and prestige of the American system before the eyes of others. But as the 20th century American sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote, prestige is merely a “shadow” of private money and power. In other words, the “prestige” which is fostered by bureaucracy, Congress, and the American mainstream media is actually a shadow which is then cast over the ethically and morally questionable dealings and give-and-take between private money and the Pentagon.

Private money is at the heart of the American system, in the sense that “high finance” which comprises mainly of private money controls the American system. It follows that “money is not just a medium of exchange but also a central institution of political rule.” Also, high finance reaps its ‘return on investment’ (ROI) primarily through the Pentagon because the Pentagon is backed by taxpayer money which flows to the American system at gunpoint. Thus, high finance and the Pentagon make up what is known as the “Power Elite” of the American system.

But beyond the American system itself is the “Bretton Woods” system created shortly after World War II which is undergirded by “dense private networks of financial markets.” In turn – and as the Georgetown professor Stefan Eich has argued – the “Bretton Woods” system is a “brittle” system that is held together “not by a coherent internal logic but, for the time being, by a lack of plausible alternatives.” However, the recent breakdown of the “Bretton Woods” global order has to a certain extent prompted a trek towards “a decentralized democratization of entrenched money power.” Although the actualization and realization of a “decentralized democratization of entrenched money power” is far off, the trek towards that direction is occurring nonetheless as a result of “cryptocurrencies” and so forth.

But as China and Russia have shown in recent times, the importance and weightiness of state control and management over money is something that cannot be exaggerated or understated. Paradoxically, money becomes more “democratic” when the state effectively controls and manages money, as evinced by Russia and China. Minus state control and management of money is the abuse and exploitation of money for the benefit of an exclusive and narrow American “Power Elite” that has now undone the same global order which it created a number of decades ago as evinced by the rise of Trump, Russia, and China.

The American “Power Elite” is not only bound together by money interests, but it is also bound together by social dispositions and social relations, as Mills noted. Hence, a study of the American “Power Elite” is in essence an important and major case study for sociologists, which in turn elevates sociology to the level of “father of all social sciences.” These elites have gone to the same set of schools, as do their children. And as in tribal societies, the “Power Elite” are bound together by marriage. These people tend to keep the “family jewels” to themselves and within the family, and are not willing to share with people who do not share blood ties with them. Thus, despite the aura or “shadow” of prestige which conceals and surrounds the private money that dominates the American system and perhaps the world as a whole, the social dispositions and social outlook of the private money which dominates the world is largely primitive and tribal, not progressive and urban.

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