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Queen Noor of Jordan.
Queen Noor of Jordan is the dowager queen of this constitutional monarchy and has limited political authority. Queen Noor is American by birth, but relinquished her citizenship when she married. She is a noted global advocate for Arab-Western relations. (Photo courtesy of Skoll World Forum/flickr)

Oligarchy

The power in an oligarchy    is held by a small, elite group. Unlike in a monarchy, members of an oligarchy do not necessarily achieve their statuses based on ties to noble ancestry. Rather, they may ascend to positions of power because of military might, economic power, or similar circumstances.

The concept of oligarchy is somewhat elusive; rarely does a society openly define itself as an oligarchy. Generally, the word carries negative connotations and conjures notions of a corrupt group whose members make unfair policy decisions in order to maintain their privileged positions. Many modern nations that claim to be democracies are really oligarchies. In fact, some prominent journalists, such as Paul Krugman, who won a Nobele laureate prize in economics, have labeled the United States an oligarchy, pointing to the influence of large corporations and Wall Street executives on U.S. policy (Krugman 2011). Other political analysts assert that all democracies are really just “elected oligarchies,” or systems in which citizens must vote for an individual who is part of a pool of candidates who come from the society’s elite ruling class (Winters 2011).

Oligarchies have existed throughout history, and today many consider Russia an example of oligarchic political structure. After the fall of communism, groups of business owners captured control of this nation’s natural resources and have used the opportunity to expand their wealth and political influence. Once an oligarchic power structure has been established, it can be very difficult for middle- and lower-class citizens to advance their socioeconomic status.

Is the united states an oligarchy?

A mansion built during the Gilded Age.
The Breakers, the famous Newport, Rhode Island, home of the Vanderbilts, is a powerful symbol of the extravagant wealth that characterized the Gilded Age. (Photo courtesy of ckramer/flickr)

The American Gilded Age saw the rise and dominance of ultra-rich families such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Carnegies, and the wealthy often indulged in absurd luxuries. One example is a lavish dinner party hosted for a pampered pet dog who attended wearing a $15,000 diamond collar (PBS Online 1999). At the same time, most Americans barely scraped by, living below what was considered the poverty level.

Some scholars believe that the United States has now embarked on a second gilded age, pointing out that the “400 wealthiest American families now own more than the ‘lower’ 150 million Americans put together" (Schultz 2011), and “the top 10% of earners took in more than half of the country’s overall income in 2012, the highest proportion recorded in a century of government record keeping” (Lowery 2014).

Many of the super–rich use their economic clout to purchase more than luxury items; wealthy individuals and corporations are major political donors. Based on campaign finance reform legislation in 1971 and 2002, political campaign contributions were regulated and limited; however, the 2012 Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizen’s United versus the Federal Election Commission repealed many of those restrictions. The Court ruled that contributions of corporations and unions to Political Action Committees (PACs) are a form of free speech that cannot be abridged and so cannot be limited or disclosed. Opponents believe this is potentially a step in promoting oligarchy in the United States; the ultra-wealthy and those who control the purse strings of large corporations and unions will, in effect, be able to elect their candidate of choice through their unlimited spending power, as well as influence policy decisions, appointments to nonelected government jobs, and other forms of political power. Krugman (2011) says, “We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only.”

Questions & Answers

what are the approaches in sociology of education
kevolution Reply
what is social medicine plz explain this with examples..
SWS
what sociology theory
Evalife Reply
sociology means what?
sm Reply
means the science that use the empirical method and critical analysis to develop about human social stucture and activities
Musa
what is social science?
Shabir
social scirnce is based on observable entites
Ilayda
the scientific study of human behaviors and society
asim
hello
Shabir
hi
asim
what is archiology
Benson
what is social science
Shabir
understanding me with example because I'm new student
Shabir
send me your WhatsApp number
Shabir
send me your WhatsApp
Shabir
WhatsApp number
Shabir
understanding human behaviour practicallly . sociology is ghe scientific nd emperical study of society e.g if we want to study of any individual wo can observe him r her through participatte obervation r nonobservation .wo can study individual's behaviour thriugh interview,questionere etc
musharaf
thanks
Shabir
number please
Shabir
your
Shabir
society makes people humans.Discuss
Sarudzayi
ok
Shabir
u can take help from google to search there 'research methodology'
musharaf
first of all
Shabir
what is society?
Shabir
r u kidddding i dont think soooo
musharaf
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Tohid Reply
Here is my email address Musharaf mubaraksaidu54@gmail. May we can exchange ideas and even materials for reading and so on
Mubarak
thank uh sir
musharaf
You are always welcome dude
Mubarak
🤗🤗
musharaf
plz. can any one explain me if I completed sociology which department I.will work for the government ?
Hasan
sociology is not all about to work for govt itz social work ...help the society to solve the problm
musharaf
i also in sociology dept
Munir
well my question is how can I get job if my country not like western countries and. I. finished this field
Hasan
plz unswer my question
Hasan
Are you studying just to get Job?
Mubarak
No I don't think so. But a the and all of us have to earn money to pay your living place etc.
Jannik
Exactly, but you have to understand one thing knowledge is power and whenever you have power you have money. Think as a Social Thinker
Mubarak
mubark sr r uh agreee with facult's ideology😁😁😁😁
musharaf
knowlge z piwer
musharaf
pls mubarak nd musharaf add me in ur email sirlehmuhid@gmail.com
Muhid
yep knowledge is power but when u r studing you first target is to get knowledge than when you finished u have to look job than support society in need and make problem solver
Hasan
Thx Hasan Muuse and Mubarak Saidu. Do you study sociology? And in which country?
Jannik
jannik no
Hasan
But you are interested in this topic :D
Jannik
yes I like it
Hasan
yes I like to study
Hasan
Nice :D
Jannik
ok thnks
Hasan
I love to study to very interesting facts im learning
Kayleigh
what is conflict
Shahzaib
mubark sr here shows that this email z not valid
musharaf
hello everyone my name is shabir Ahmad I'm new student of sociology I would like to make partners to improve my skills , please send me your WhatsApp number if someone like that I will be thankful to you
Shabir
send me your WhatsApp number
Shabir
what is class struggle theory?
shahnam Reply
class struggle is all about the conflict between two sections of society, one is having the hold on resources plus all the capital outcomes of it(called bourgeois) whereas the other section is bound and compelled to serve the industries as a labourers or workers(called proletariats).
Lokesh
its a theory given by karl marx about bourgeois nd proletraits or have's nd havenot's respectively
musharaf
thanks
shahnam
sure ! welcome.
Lokesh
hii
Lalita
hi
shahnam
hlo
Zahid
Class struggle is all about Materialism in human society. The scarcity of it let people struggle. The have and the have not, as Marx said the bourgeois and Proletariat
Mubarak
What is cultural Shock, and cultural relativism
Mubarak
ok
eddie
mubark sir plz tell me about cultural shock
musharaf
Cultural shock is conditions of disorientation affecting someone who is suddenly exposed to an unfamiliar culture or way of life or set of attitude.
Mubarak
thank uh sir
musharaf
An example of cultural shock is, here in Nigeria there is a different cultures between southerners and northerners. So when a northerners visit South and saw southerner urinate while standing he feel abruptly and shock, because he is not familiar with this.
Mubarak
okh tysm
musharaf
Musharaf can you please tell me ur area of interest in sociology?
Mubarak
anyone have idea about contribution of classical theory of (karl marx,durkhiem,weber)on environmental sociology?
jumpe
im the girl im n intrested in gender ....feminism....i love redical feminist
musharaf
im also intrested in rural socoilogy
musharaf
because there r many problms in day to day life about about rural society nd gender
musharaf
Wao! Very well. I'm Industrial Sociologist
Mubarak
gooood
musharaf
I'm also a Functionalist and symbolic interaction
Mubarak
nyc
musharaf
wt about ur studies
musharaf
Because you knw Nigeria is a developing country so it's lack social analysts regarding to industrial planners. So that's why
Mubarak
I'm nw undergo my Masters degree in industrial sociology @University of Nigerian
Mubarak
nice thanks
manisha
what is meant by pattern variable
Akak
Your studies?
Mubarak
I don't study. I'm in Highschool in Germany :D
Jannik
Wao! Very Interesting
Mubarak
hello
Tohid
akak lego are u galo?
jumpe
sir i wish all ur dreams come true
musharaf
Hi Tohid
Mubarak
What have come today for
Mubarak
im doing master's degree in sociology from Jammu university
musharaf
Thank you so much Musharaf for ur prayer
Mubarak
Adi
Akak
👍
Tohid
Manisha u can
Akak
Is doing master in sociology a good opportunity to find later a good job where you like to go?
Jannik
akak sir pattern variable are 5 dichotomies dev. by tallcott parson to draw out the contrasting value to which individuals orient themselves in social interaction
musharaf
Pattern variable is a concept develop by Talcott person is trying to explain how social action
Mubarak
Good day guys
Mubarak
What is the main difference between census and survey?
Mustafa Reply
explain major contributions of Charles Wright Mills and Augusto Comte to the discipline of sociology
lugumba Reply
importance of sociology in logic if some one knows about plz help
Saqib
send me your WhatsApp
Shabir
what are importance of studying sociology
Neema Reply
1 sociology detects and Solve Social Problems 2Sociology Helps in Planning and Development 3. Sociology makes a scientific study of Sociology 4 studies role of the institutions in the development of the individuals. 5 Helps in Preservation and Growth of Culture
manisha
6.sociology has made broaden the outlook of man. 7 Sociology is of great importance in the solution of international problems. 
manisha
what are feature of social institution
Muhid
eplayn philosopher of sociology
Mujahid Reply
explain philosopher of sociology
Mujahid
me
Ashebir
what is the difference between asocialist group on all definitions?
Koko Reply
what is the value of sociology
Banao Reply
What are the patterns of social interaction with regard to gender, religion and education
Norman Reply
define functionalist perspective
Jalil
what is cultural
nusrat Reply
culture is the way of life of a particular group of people
Philemon
culture is the backbone of society.
shahnam
culture consists of the beliefs' behaviour' objects' and other characteristics common to the members of particular group of society.
Zahid
culture is our way of life, customs ,traditions ,norms nd behavoiur
musharaf
can anyone explain what is socialogy as science in detail ?
Sydish Reply
sociology is a science because it adoptes and applies the scientific method . sociology does make a scientific method in the study of its subject matter.hence sociology is a science
Zahid
because its study the systematically about society
Akak
in secince we use tools such as thermometers telescopes microscope verniercliper etc similarly in sociology we tools interview questionare servey case study sampling etc so sociology is a science.
shahnam
scientific study of society is called sociology it involves scientific method, observation, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusions , this study produces theories and facts about society , that's why it is science
sohrab
explayn philosopher of socilogy
Mujahid
is caste system dangerous in politics? how
Zahid Reply
In present days the main caused for winning the election,after that they influence in any field
Akak
by those activities a father will become enemy to his son hence we should control it
Zahid

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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