Ethnographic Notes A – Who Rules America? (Feel free to add and edit)

Erik I learned that the United States is primarily controlled by an Upper Class social group This group consists mostly of banks, corporations, agribusinesses, and large real estate developers. Power is indicated in three ways. 1) Who benefits 2) Who governs 3) Who wins This upper class is nationwide and through a combination of corporate communities, non-profit organizations, think tanks, and access to government policy makers they are able to guide the country in the directions they think are best. The author makes sure to point out that there is no conspiracy, this is more like a group of people who happen to have similar goals and resources using the resources that are available to them.


Interlocking Directorates in the Corporate Community

I have learned the most board members of the corporations also sit on other big corporations boards.  This is called an interlocks with other companies when a board member sits on other boards with some of the same members.  Each board member usually sits on 6 other corporate boards. This is because they need to make sure they have each others back and control their mutual interest by serving on each others boards.  This is has been going on for a very long time. Corporations are only look out for their own profit.  It also used against government regulations.

For example:  Lets say the government wants to lower interest rates.  Then Chase, Citigroup and Capital One who all sit on other boards and  their own boards  could make the board members of their boards try to contact the legislature to show how this would hurt them financially and it could possible put a stop to it. This is the Corporate Community. They are control everything in the corporate world like Banks, technology, restaurants, etc.



On the website “Who Rules America?”,  I chose to review the article about the Bohemian Grove. The author William Domhoff discusses a gathering that takes place on a redwood grove in Southern California in which some of the most powerful and wealthy elite men get together to relax and socialize.

After acquiring the current membership list to the Bohemian grove affair, Domhoff decided to conduct some sociological research on the members of the club. He argues that his research was had value pertaining to the topics of politics, power and social change. Because the grove gathering was a place where men of political power gathered, the networking aspects should not be overlooked.

Since Domhoff was able to research the backgrounds and corporate connections of all the men who gathered at the event, he could get an idea of the potential effects this might have on government policies. Why? Because depending on the political or business interest held by members, the gathering facilitated a network for compromises and deals that would be financially beneficial to those involved. Because it is no secret the poor get poorer in order for the rich to…you know the rest, one can understand how this could be an example of how the powerful elite build relationships with each other making it easier for them to gain further power in a mutually beneficial way. Domhoff discusses term used in social psychology’s literature called small group dynamics which refers to the concept that when folks meet in relaxed scenarios, and view their group as private or exclusive, the become closer than they would under “ordinary” circumstances.


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