Political issues which are frequently connected with the history of the country have a tendency to provoke comparison with the current state of affairs. The theory of political sociology is mainly focused on the essential laws and rules of the political processes which tend to take place in a certain country or countries. The United States of America belongs to the states which possess the most profound history filled with a number of events and saturated with a great variety of figures. Nonetheless, investigators of political sociology have always been interested in the fact of who rules the USA and what is necessary to become its governor. The book Who Rules America? Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance by Domhoff (2010) is aimed at answering this question, providing strong historical facts as proof of the assumptions expressed. Thus, this paper intends to analyze the approaches Domhoff (2010) used in the book and provide an answer to the question posed by the author in the title of the book.
Domhoff (2010) from the very beginning of the book asks plenty of questions which are all focused on the subject of essential forces leading and ruling America. The author mentions such aspects as corporations, landowning, oil industry functioning, etc. (Domhoff 2010: xi). These aspects are substantial in the context of the book. The idea which is the backbone of the investigation conducted by the author consists in the fact that wealth and rich people, as a consequence, play the most important role in the decision-making process and possess the majority of financial sources of the country.
Stating this, the author intends to say that all policies proper to the USA are been based on the outlooks, views and desires of people who generally are referred to as the country’s governors. This assumption is firmly supported by the analysis of the USA’s background and the history of its presidency. Thus, the author mentions that George Washington was one of the richest people in the US at that time, and he used to own the majority of the country’s lands. The Bush family was characterized as the owners of the largest amount of natural resources which could be found in the USA, including oil. The analysis of the historical perspective of the USA permits the author to show the contemporary state of power and authority within the country.
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The twenty-first century is characterized as the period of corporations whose overall impact manifests itself in the legislative branch of government. The author states that “corporate owners... enter into the electoral arena first and foremost” (Domhoff 2010: xiii). This means, in Domhoff’s point of view, having the most power, the said corporate owners obtain the unlimited access to the law system formation, which is supposed and expected to satisfy all the needs of its creators.
Additional attention is paid to the current president of the USA, Barack Obama. Domhoff (2010) states that his presidency is “false positive on one upper-class indicator” (Domhoff 2010: 10). It means that the contemporary United States is not able to fulfill the Americans’ needs, since the hidden aims which are followed by the President and his government are centered on their own interests, and are not aimed at regarding profound people’s needs. Nonetheless, these intentions are covered with the superficial wrap of social policies which are unlikely to be fruitful and useful for ordinary people.
Institutionalism which has always been characteristic of the USA, as well as it appears to have experienced the magnificent development during the previous century until today, is the only theoretical framework which governs the policies within the country and influences the external aims the country pursues in regard to the global view of the world. Clemens and Cook (1999) believe that theoretical backgrounds of “…‘institutionalisms’ are properly understood as complements, rather than as mutually exclusive explanations” (Clemens and Cook 1999: 446). This theory has obviously been put into the basis of the contemporary American policy: on the one hand, everything which is taking place within the country can be characterized as positive; while, on the other hand, the depth of the things is not. In other words, created by Domhoff ‘false positive’ term reflects the real nature of the USA and their governors.
Presenting the analysis of the past situation in ruling the USA, the author makes an emphasis on the fact that democracy which is believed to be born in America does not perform its essential function: power is not possessed by the people. Oppositely, the people serve as material for the rich men to govern.
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Personally, I believe that the ideas expressed in the book by Domhoff (2010) can be characterized as truthful, since they are based on practical examples of the country’s life and manner of governance. The theoretical approach of institutionalism, which is applied by the author, shows uselessness of numerous institutions all over the country. The ideas which have been singled out by Domhoff (2010) are indeed based on the investigation conducted by Clemens and Cook (1999). I believe that the work by Domhoff is one of the most vivid and important for the American society, since it shows the real mechanisms of its functioning. The arguments which were put into the basis of the book are supported by the analysis and critical overview of the concepts which are likely to serve as the firmest proof of the assumptions.