Who Rules America?  By G. William Domhoff, University of California at Santa Cruz

Power in America

The Class-Domination Theory of Power

As argued in Who Rules America?, the owners and top executives of the largest corporations, banks, investment firms, and agri-businesses come together as a corporate community. Their enormous economic resources give them the "structural economic power" that is the basis for dominating the federal government through lobbying, campaign finance, appointments to key government positions, and a policy-planning network made up of foundations, think tanks, and policy-discussion groups. The CEOs and owners in the corporate community, along with the top executives at the foundations, think tanks, and policy-discussion groups, work together as a leadership group that I call the power elite. However, they do fight among themselves sometimes, leading to moderate-conservative and ultra-conservative factions in the power elite. This class-domination theory developed out of Power Structure Research, going back to the 1950s.

Wealth, Income, and Power

This document presents details on the wealth and income distributions in the United States, and explains how we use these two distributions as power indicators. Some of the information, especially the numbers showing the ratio of the average CEO's paycheck to that of the average factory worker, is downright shocking.

An Investment Manager's View on the Top 1%

An anonymous insider's look at the differences between the top and bottom halves of the Top 1% in America -- in many cases, the differences between the merely "well-off" and the "super-rich."

The Unexpected Origins of the Social Security Act of 1935

This document uses new archival research to show that corporate moderates and their hired experts created the old-age social insurance program now known simply as "Social Security." Contrary to popular belief, the liberals and unions of the 1930s had little or nothing to do with its formulation. The conclusion explains why it would be a huge rip-off of the people who paid social security taxes over the past 30 years if they did not receive their full pensions or had to wait to collect them.

The Rise and Fall of Labor Unions In The U.S.

The story of the unlikely set of events leading to the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, and the gradual decline of labor unions since World War II.

The Corporate Community

To provide an overview of the corporate community, I've gone into more detail about the network that is created by interlocking directorates, i.e., the connections among corporations that are created by corporate directors who sit on two or more boards of directors.

Federal Advisory Committees

As an example of the many ways that the power elite directly involve themselves in government, I show how unpaid federal advisory committees give advice to various departments of the executive branch, including an in-depth study of one of these committees based on the minutes of its meetings.

Social Cohesion and the Bohemian Grove

To demonstrate the social cohesion of the power elite, I've assembled a document (including photos) about the Bohemian Grove, a playground for the powerful that serves as their summer camp for the last two weeks of July in the redwoods of Northern California.

Pension Fund Capitalism

This document examines the claim that public employee and union pension funds have acquired power over corporations, concluding that there is no substance to the idea.


This document's URL: http://whorulesamerica.net/power/