The theory of elites. G. Mosca, V. Pareto
The theory of elites arose in polemics with democratic ideology. The founders of elitism as early as the beginning of the 20th century. openly polemicized with the thesis that power in the state can belong to the people. Elitists considered democracy a cynical deception of the people. Therefore, this concept has not been recognized for a long time in science. The attitude towards it changed only in the 1960s, in connection with the liberation of Asian and African countries from colonial dependence and the beginning of their own development. Emerging as an interpretation of this experience, the theory of modernization rehabilitated the notion of the elite, filling it with a positive content - those who initiate and carry out modernization are ranked among the elites.
Gaetano Mosca (1858-1941) is an Italian economist, sociologist and political scientist, one of the founders of the elitist trend in political science.
Born in Palermo. In 1881 he graduated from the Faculty of Law of the local university. Mosca worked as a journalist and editor, teacher and researcher in Palermo, Turin, Milan, Rome, was a prominent politician: in 1909-1913. - a deputy, in 1914-1916. - Member of the Cabinet of Ministers, since 1919 - Senator. At the same time he taught at the Universities of Rome and Turin, where he held a professorship until 1933.Studying both history and contemporary society, G. Mosca came to the conclusion that power in society is exercised by a special organized minority, which he called the ruling class. And although the term elite G. Mosca did not use, his merit in the fact that he was the first to create a holistic concept of the ruling class , substantiated his role in the socio-political process.
The concept of the ruling class as the subject of the political process was formulated by G. Mosca in the book Elements of the Political Spider, published in 1896 and widely known after the second revised and expanded edition in 1923. But Moska's popularity increased especially after the translation of this work into English and its publication in 1939 in the USA under the name "ruling class".
F. Moska believed that in relation to power, any society is divided into two classes: the manager (political) and the governed. Recognition of the inevitable division into a privileged ruling creative minority and a passive, uncreative majority naturally follows from the natural nature of man and society. Although the elite's personal composition is changing, its dominant relations to the masses are fundamentally unchanged. So, in the course of history the leaders of the tribes, monarchs, boyars and noblemen, people's commissars and party secretaries, ministers and presidents changed, but the relations of domination and subordination between them and the common people were always preserved.
The political class dominates the majority by possessing a number of qualities that vary with time and circumstances, and also because of its organization. Moska wrote that "the sovereign power of an organized minority over an unorganized majority is inevitable." The power of any minority is irresistible to any representative of the majority who opposes the totality of the organized minority. At the same time, the minority is organized precisely because it is a minority. One hundred people, acting in concert, with a common understanding of the case, will defeat a thousand people who disagree with each other ... Hence it follows that the larger the political community, the proportionally smaller the ruling minority in comparison with the controlled majority and the more difficult it will be for the majority to organize a rebuff to the minority " . The organization of a minority is the cohesion of a group united not only by the commonality of professional status, social status and interests, but also by a sense of self-consciousness, by the perception of a special layer called upon to lead the society. However, there is one more circumstance that legitimizes this minority power: "It is so usually formed that the individuals making it differ from the masses governed by qualities that provide them with material, intellectual and even moral superiority ... In other words, representatives of the ruling minority invariably possess properties, real or apparent, which are deeply revered in the society in which they live. "
The main difference between the ruling minority and the controlled majority is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite. Mosca believed that between wealth and power there is a two-way relationship: wealth creates political power in the same way that political power creates wealth. "The dominant feature of the ruling class has become more wealth than military valor; ruling is rather rich than brave. "
And further: "In a society that has reached a certain stage of maturity, where personal power is constrained by public power, those in power are usually richer, and being rich means being powerful. As Moska wrote, indeed, when fighting with an armored fist is prohibited, while the struggle of pounds and pence is resolved, the best posts invariably go to those who are better provided with money. " For G. Moski, the political class is not a force rudely dominating the mass, but an organized minority that has moral superiority over the passive majority, and therefore its power is justified. The majority are not able to resist this force and are not able to unite to achieve their goals.
The actual dominance of the ruling class is realized through a very complex system, combining "professional, bureaucratic elements" with the institutions of constitutionalism and political representation. With its help, it is possible to timely update the ruling class, maintain its competence, ability to lead a controlled majority. Every elite has a tendency to turn into a closed one, which leads to all degeneration. Changes in the structure of society, he believes, can be summarized by changes in the composition of the elite. G. Mosca notes the tendency of the transition from more closed ruling classes to less closed ones, from hereditary privileged castes, where the elite is limited by the number of families, and birth is the only criterion of belonging to it, to a more open society, where, in particular, education opens the way to government posts. Mosca believed that without the renewal of the elite, social stability in society is impossible. However, the thinker stipulates that this is only if the conservative tendency stabilizing the society prevails, that continuity and the renewal of the elites remain at the expense of the best people of the masses. G. Mosca considered the foundation of society's health rather a transformation of the elite due to a certain influx of new people into it, rather than a radical change in it. The thinker was critical of the concept of popular sovereignty and representative government; regarded the ideas of democracy, democracy as a utopia, incompatible with the laws of society and the nature of man. He believed that power can be power from the people, for the people, but can not be the power of the people themselves.
Analyzing the structure and dynamics of the ruling class, G. Mosca noted two inherent tendencies: aristocratic and democratic. The first, aristocratic, tendency is manifested in the fact that the authorities standing at the helm strive to strengthen their dominance in every possible way and to transfer power by inheritance. Observed, according to G. Moski, "crystallization" the ruling class, a certain stagnation of forms and methods of management, ossification and conservatism. Update of the elite in this case is extremely slow. The second, democratic, tendency is observed when changes in the correlation of political forces take place in society. Those in power partly lose their importance, and then changes in the composition of the ruling class occur by replenishing its ranks with the most able to manage and active representatives of the lower strata of society. The political sympathies of the scientist were inclined towards a society where the two specified ways of updating the political class are balancing each other.
Wilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) is an Italian economist, sociologist and political scientist, one of the founders of the theory of elites.
Born in Paris, in the family of an Italian marquis, married to a Frenchwoman. In 1858 the Pareto family returns to Italy. After graduating from the Polytechnic School in Turin in 1869, defended his thesis "Fundamental principles of the equilibrium of solids". For a number of years he occupied important positions on the railways of Italy, and then in the steel concern. In the 1890s. he is actively engaged in publicism, reading and translating classical texts, publishes a number of studies in the field of economic theory and mathematical economics. From 1893 until the end of his life he was a professor of political economy at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.
The largest work of V. Pareto - "Treatise on General Sociology" (in 3 volumes, 1916). In 1920, his abridged version of the Compendium of General Sociology came out.
Q. Pareto believed that since people differ among themselves physically, morally and intellectually, social inequality is a perfectly natural, obvious and real fact. People who have the highest rates in a particular field of activity are the elite. As synonyms of this term, W. Pareto uses the terms "etching class", "dominant class", "aristocracy", "upper layer". The elite is objectively the "best" in a certain field of activity: "Perhaps the aristocracy of the saints or the aristocracy of robbers, the aristocracy of scientists, the aristocracy of criminals, etc."
Q. Pareto subdivided the elite into ruling and non-ruling. To the ruling elite, he included groups that directly or indirectly participate in the management. It is the ruling elite that exercises power in society, capturing all commanding heights. The non-ruling elite are those who by their abilities could rule, but in reality this ruling elite is deprived of this opportunity. Having entered the struggle for power, the non-ruling elite turns into a counter-elite. If it manages to get the support of the masses, it can become the ruling one.
Q. Pareto identifies two main types of elites that successively replace each other - Lions and foxes.
"Lions" the thinker called political leaders convinced of the absoluteness of their faith in ideal goals, using power to implement them. For this type of elite is characterized by conservatism and power methods of government.
To foxes. V. Pareto attributed those political leaders who do not believe in the absoluteness of their goals and use fraud and political speculation to gain power. "Foxes", being masters of demagoguery, deception, political combinations, seek to maintain their power by propaganda, resort to flexibility, cunning, force of persuasion. This type of elite is characteristic of the democratic regimes that V. Pareto called "plutocratic demagogy".
A society dominated by the elite of the "lions" stagnant. Elite fox gives dynamism to society. The mechanism of social equilibrium functions normally when a proportional influx of people of the first and second orientation into the elite is ensured. The circulation of the ruling elite is carried out by the removal of members who have lost the ability to manage it and attracting new talented members from the mass social groups. The cessation of circulation leads to the degeneration of the ruling elite and opens the possibility of its radical change by the counter-elite.
Pareto called the history of "cemetery aristocracy". Social history is the story of the succession of privileged minorities who form, fight, reach, use, and degenerate to be replaced by other minorities. This phenomenon of new elites, which in the course of continuous circulation arise from the lower layers of society, reach the upper layers, blossom, and then decay, collapse and disappear, is one of the consequences of history that must be taken into account for understanding the great historical movements. " . Individuals representing the elite, showing their special qualities, rise above the crowd, and as soon as their energy weakens, history immediately absorbs and buries them. However, even a complete replacement of persons does not lead to the disappearance of the elite as a social stratum.
The theories of G. Mosca and V. Pareto had a great influence on the development of bourgeois political doctrines of the 20th century, and to the present time constitute one of the influential directions of Western Europe's political thought.
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