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The Economy's Oppressive Influence
Tan Nguyen

All facets of a capitalist society are ultimately influenced by the economy and the corporate realm; even those areas that we would usually consider completely unrelated to the power elite.
In Liberal Democracy Into the Twenty-first Century: Globalization, Integration and the Nation State (1996), Axtmann agrees with the emphasis that Dye and Domhoff place on the economy.  He states that "if we include the economy in civil society, then we have to pay systematic attention to the oppressive force operating within it.  A theory of civil society that does not do so is seriously deficient(1)."  The economy's "oppressive force" comes to influence all of society.  Axtmann gives the example of hospitals operating in a capitalist environment and being "ultimately" affected by it (2)."  Based on their line of reasoning, it is highly likely that Dye and Domhoff would agree with this assessment.  If the hospital is funded by a corporation, then the corporation will perhaps decide where the hospital is located or what kind of research it will undertake.  The corporation is directly influencing the hospital and its policies, just like it influences political decision making in Dye's "oligarchic model of national policy-making."  In both cases, the economy's "oppressive force" dominates society.  
Both Domhoff and Dye present evidence that a small group of corporate executives and their peers, united by the common thread of upper class values and beliefs, have come to dominate the United States. Regardless of their initial background, members who seek to rise up the power ladder undergo a process of socialization during which they adopt these values as
their own.  As a result, such values are most disproportionately represented in our government and by its policies. 

Domhoff points out that most appointments in both Democratic and Republican administrations come from the corporate sector.  Dye gives evidence to support the argument that almost every single step of the national policy making process is dominated by the corporate upper class.  Both of these theorists paint a picture of America in which democracy continues to diminish; an America in which power rests in the hands of a select few. 

(1) Axtmann, Roland, 78, (1996)  (2) Ibid.


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