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Four Theories of Governing Elites

Four Theories of Governing Elites

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Four Theories of Governing Elites

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  1. Four Theories of Governing Elites Chapter 1, pp. 8-14 AP Government

  2. Pop Quiz 1 Directions: Indicate by letter which of the following theories is described in each statement: bureaucratic (B), elitist (E), Marxist (M), or pluralist (P). _____1. Economic factors shape political outcomes. _____2. Policies are shaped by compromise & haggling. _____3. Decisions are often slowed by excessive “red tape.” _____4. Special interests are widely represented. _____5. Power is derived by personal attributes & wealth. _____6. Distributing resources is the key to power.

  3. How is political power distributed? • Majoritarian politics: Concept where nearly everyone has a say in making a decision (Will of the majority) • Elitist politics: Concept where decisions are made by groups with a disproportionate amount of some valuable resource

  4. How is political power wielded? • When do majoritarian politics prevail? • Why? • When do elitist politics prevail? • Why? • Are there groups you feel have too much power? • Examples? • Is their authority legitimate?

  5. Explaining Influence of Elites Marxist (Karl Marx): • Government is influenced by economic elites-those who control the economy, control the government. • “He who pays the piper, calls the tune.” • In the U.S., capitalists dominate the economy and therefore government. • Decisions benefit the business owners and capitalists. • Proof? Examples?

  6. Explaining Influence of Elites Elitist Power (C Wright Mills): • Coalition of corporations, military, and government officials dominate political power & make decisions on their behalf--iron triangles • Many would add media chiefs & labor officials to the coalition—issues network • Proof? Examples?

  7. Explaining Influence of Elites Bureaucratic (Max Weber): • Government power is in the hands of a small group of bureaucrats (civil servants) who translate law into policy. • Bureaucrats enforce policies according to their own guidelines. • Bureaucrats are hired for expertise but rarely fired for incompetence. • Proof? Examples?

  8. Explaining Influence of Elites Pluralist: • No single elite dominates politics; resources are too widely spread out; too many institutions • Many groups compete with each other for control over policy • Policy is the outcome of political haggling, compromise, & shifting alliances among groups • Hyper-pluralism: “pluralism gone sour” There are so many groups that have power, that government is weakened and unable to act. • Proof? Examples?

  9. Is Democracy Driven by Self-Interest? • Arguments for? • Is capitalism necessary for democracies to be successful? • Arguments against? • Do elites ever act for common good? • Should we all be cynical or at least skeptical of politicians?

  10. Who governs? To what ends? • Structures of government • Forms of democracy • Majoritarian vs. Elitist decisions • 4 theories of elitist power • Greed, power, selfishness—oh my!

  11. Test Taking Tips for AP Success • There are two sections to the AP Gov. test • The first part is a multiple-choice section. • Consists of 60 questions • Answered in 45 minutes • Each question has five answer choices • Some include charts, graphs, tables, cartoons • No guessing penalty • Go over hints & examples on sheet.

  12. Test Taking Tips for AP Success • The 2nd section consists of Free Response Questions (FRQ). • There are 4 separate FRQ prompts • Have 100 minutes to complete all 4 prompts • Always number, letter and label like the FRQ • These FRQs are NOT essay questions! • You do not need intro or conclusion—just answer each question • Go over hints and examples on sheet.

  13. Assignments • Study for your test on Tuesday, 9/3. • Notes will be collected at the end of the testing session. • Assignments will be posted on board after test & on my website. Assignment will be due Thursday of next week. Hand out is available today. • Blog due by midnight tonight. • Test-taking tips are already posted on my website.