The counter-cyclical character of the elite

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Abstract

This paper begins by outlining the basic attitudinal differences between the elite and the rest of society. Understanding these divergent views does not require resorting to arguments that reply upon error, ignorance, manipulation, or differences in individual character. Instead, both elites and others are correct in their understanding of these processes because they overgeneralize from their own experience. The major proposition of this paper is that if we compare the economic conditions of the average American and to that of the elite, we find that they are, in important ways, the inverse of one another. During times when Americans as a whole were experiencing economic advancement and mobility, elites were comparatively stagnant. And today, as most Americans are locked in place, elites observe tremendous mobility. The counter-cyclical character of the elite has important implications for our understanding of elite culture, and elite response to inequality and redistribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-103
Number of pages23
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Volume43
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Keywords

  • Economic trends
  • Elites
  • Inequality
  • Mobility

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