The use of goods in elite attack and defense takes the form of destroying, withholding, apportioning. There may be sabotage or shutdown; strike, boycott, blacklist, noncooperation; rationing, pricing, bribing. Destruction of property is so closely connected with the use of violence on persons that it will receive no special treatment in this chapter, which is limited to withholding and apportioning.
Plainly an elite is subject to domestic attack when it fails to coincide with prosperity. Mounting insecurities may be discharged nonrationally against the symbols and practices of the established order. The result may be no more extensive than the substitution of Tom for Bill in a Democratic parish in Louisiana, or of the Republicans for the Democrats in a border state like Kentucky. But it may involve a revolutionary change in government, as in Germany ( 1918), or a revolutionary change in social organization, as in Russia ( 1917). In modern society the oscillations of economic life have become so flagrant that the security of elites is peculiarly bound up with shifts in goods and prices. Hence we are compelled to concentrate upon the strategy and tactics of "economic" relationships.
There are two principal means of directing the flow of goods and services, and elite security is often sought by combining them. We may distinguish systems of rationing from systems of pricing. Rationing is an act of assigning specific goods or services for consumption or for use in production. Pricing is an act of assigning nonspecific claims to goods and services.