The Chesapeake Corporation and West Point: Chesapeake's Evolving Role in the Political Life of the Community
Social scientists have devoted a considerable amount of inquiry concerning the relationship between control of economic resources and the nature of political power and decision-making. The findings of some of these inquiries, most notably The Power Elite, by C. Wright Mills, are unabashedly clear and straightforward: corporate elites control the political system and ensure that domestic and foreign policies are enacted that serve their interest. 1 This interpretation of the relationship between economic resources and political power is undeniably polemic and conspiratorial in tone, and allows virtually no role for the mass of people in the American political process.
However, even considerably more introspective accounts of the relationship between economic resources and political power readily acknowledge the privileged role of business in American political life. The outstanding example of this persuasion is Politics and Markets, authored by Charles E. Lindblom . Lindblom, describing the relationship between business and government, writes:
In the eyes of government officials, therefore, businessmen do not appear simply as the representatives of a special interest, as representatives of interest groups do. They appear as functionaries performing functions that government officials regard as indispensable. When a government official asks himself whether business needs a tax reduction, he knows he is asking a question about the welfare of the whole society and not simply about a favor to a segment of the population, which is what is typically at stake when he asks himself whether he should respond to an interest group.
Any government official who understands the requirements of his position and the responsibilities that market-oriented systems throw on businessmen will therefore grant them a privileged position. He does not have to be bribed, duped, or pressured