The Contribution of the Elite Theory to the Origins, Nature and Distribution of Power in Democratic Societies.

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Marxism is a movement, or series of movements, which owe their existence and take their beliefs from Karl Marx. It is a conflict theory as it stresses that the powerful have different interests and that these may lead to conflict in society. There are three main branches of Marxism; Classic, Modern and Neo.

Power originates from class division and relations of productions/control of means of production. Society is divided according to the mode of production. These modes produce relations of production which are based on private ownership and control. There are two classes which are determined in terms of a group’s relationship to the means of production, the bourgeoisie and proletariat. The Ruling class, the bourgeoisie ‘steal’ labour from the proletariat. They “invest” this ‘surplus value’ back into the capitalist system. For example, India’s largest ready-made garment exporter Gokaldas Exports, which supply several established fashion brands in Britain and the US including Marks and Spencer and H&M, have confirmed that wages paid to workers are as low as £1.13 for a nine hour day.

Capitalists own the means of production which is reflected in and shaped by the superstructure, meaning that values and beliefs within the superstructure ensure the maintenance and survival of capitalism; i.e. those with economic power and dominance over all elements of the superstructure – education, media etc. For example, research carried out last year by the News of the World recorded 19 millionaires in the Shadow Cabinet, giving some indication of the level of wealth at the top of the Conservative Party. This can be criticised by the importance of the internet. This free information which is available worldwide enables the proletariat to become aware that they are at a disadvantage compared to other countries.

`Use of the Superstructure to ensure power is retained in the hands of the bourgeoisie. This is enforced by two different ways, either; illegitimate/coercive power or...
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