SOC 220 Week 6 Discussion 2
Power models can be described in several ways. The first model that we will look at is the power elite model. Power elites might be described as a small group of powerful individuals who control the power, resources and major decision-making processes in society. The term elitist refers to the top of a hierarchy–usually class-based–in which the most powerful people have access to more resources or authority than others, and therefore have a disproportionate amount of control over affairs.
Leaders of nation-states and international organizations face a defining challenge today: how to establish and maintain an equitable global order. In the international arena, power is rooted in multilateral institutions, and the most successful powers are those with high levels of national wealth. Yet the major powers in bipolarity tend to be the most unequal at home, whereas actual or potential pluralist powers such as France, Germany, Japan, and Korea are more likely to exhibit relatively egalitarian patterns of distribution. The market model of power has been displaced by a new wave of globalization.
The most well-known pluralist perspective toward power is the dependency theory, originally developed by Rueschemeyer et al. in 1982. Dependency theory argues that highly stratified societies exist due to the underdevelopment of emerging countries; they remain dependent on their hegemonic counterparts to gain the resources they require for the development of their infrastructure and middle class (Rueschemeyer et al., 1982). Dependency theory is used to describe a global power structure where those who have more power (e.g., the First World) control resources and take advantage of those with less power (e.g., the Third World) in an effort to maintain economic stability within those perceived as being higher up on the social hierarchy than others (i.e., slavery) (Rueschemeyer et al., 1982). Those high up within this structure hold an immense amount of concentration power, while those lower down have very little concentration power (as evident within this proposed structure).
What are the differences between the power elite model and the pluralist models? What does research suggest about these models? Provide a possible strategies to reduce power inequalities on a national or global scale.