The Rulers

The Rulers

The Rulers

The Rulers

Excerpt

In all human societies, no matter how ruled and no matter how organized, two groups of people can be detected: those who rule and those who are ruled -- more precisely, a ruling minority and a ruled majority. These groups have been designated by different names. The former have been called variously the aristocracy, the élite, the patricians, the lords, the capitalists, the ruling class, the political class; the latter are known as the masses, the people, the commoners, the proletariat, the many, the plebs, the multitude. The study of politics in the last decades has been focused on the structure and function of the first group and its relation to the second.

This relationship is the subject of our study. The first part presents and analyzes the theories which formulated the principle of the ruling class in its various forms and guises; the second part criticizes the principle and its implications and inferences. Finally, the third part reconsiders the principle and attempts to establish a more satisfactory and fresh approach to the problem of political rule.

Ordo idearum idem est ac ordo rerum -- the order of ideas is the same as the order of things -- wrote Spinoza. The theory of the ruling class, though stated as a principle in its precise and direct form only toward the end of the nineteenth century, has been in stages of successive development for a long time. As we know it today, it is something so simple and yet so fraught with implications that we can understand it only by trying to see what went into its formulation. What seems to be an almost redundant statement of something perfectly obvious is actually the result of centuries-old elaborations, none of which is either definite or perfect, either direct or simple. A description and an analysis of the various writings and themes which resulted in the theory of the ruling class brings forth a welter of ideas, systems, and methodological problems all of which are still part of the theory itself....

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.