Politics in Minutes (2016)

The power elite

In 1956, the sociologist Charles Wright Mills published The Power Elite, which described the real governing power in the world as in the hands of a political, military and commercial elite. Despite the widespread adoption of some form of representative democracy, political power is largely handed over to these institutions who determine the political, military and economic decisions of the country. Increasingly, with unregulated free markets, large corporations have become dominant players, exerting influence on governments and even the military to act in the interests of commerce.

What Wright Mills did not foresee perhaps, was the emergence of a fourth institution as part of this elite, the media. With the traditional press, radio, TV and internet, media companies control the valuable commodity of information, and as these rapidly became part of a few massive multinational corporations, considerable political and economic power has been transferred to the media moguls.