Critical Reflection #1 (1)

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Gabriel Klug Prof. Kayla Preston SOC263H5F October 18, 2022 Critical Reflection #1 This reading on Mills "Power Elite" comes to cover every aspect of what the power elite is and how it has gotten to where it is. Mills points out how the power elite control the big 3 which are the economy, political order, and military order (Mills Pg.102), about what it means to be a social elite. That you need to be powerful in major institutions (Mills Pg.104). Power elites are people who have the most of what there is to have which leads to the elite being separated from other classes and getting rid of the established order of kings and queens, which allows for classes to be made (Mills Pg.105). Mills also points out that the elites believe themselves to be more than just lucky people. That they are elite because they are better than the average joe but he counters with the thought that elites aren't just born elite, experience and life can shape them to be so. (Mills Pg.107) A discussion that can be added to the analysis can be how the modernized world has simultaneously made it impossible but also easy to be part of the power elite. What I mean by this is that it is hard to get to a position of the highly established order but it is easy to come into power because of the potential that modern-day technology and social environment have. The power elite can be compared to those who have everything to normal people who don't have anything. Being a power elite starts by being a social elite, then becoming powerful in
major institutions. The power elite are those who have the most of what there is to have. (Mills Pg 103-104). People can start from nothing and then rise to the status of the power elite. This can be in terms of wealth, status, or influence. An example of how easy it is to become someone in the power elite is Charlie D'amelio. She was a Tik Tok star who got famous for posting dance videos. She got so popular that she was the person with the most followers on the app for a very long time and this became a very big deal; even to the point where losing a few hundred followers would cause her to break down live on stream before reaching the 100 million follower milestone. Her blowup brought her off the app and into the mainstream becoming a celebrity of some sort. Even getting her family their own show like the Kardashians. Now Charlie has become an icon and a brand name. All because of overnight success on a social media app. Her influence increased her status which resulted in extreme wealth. Being lucky can make it easy to launch yourself into the power elite. To touch on the latter, being an average Joe; it must seem impossible to get even close to being a part of the power elite. A normal person doesn't have any economic, military, or political power. The most they get is voting for someone else with more power than them. In the capitalist society; how can someone break through their 9-5 and move towards being powerful? It seems like the two sides of the same coin, where it seems impossible to escape the lower class but with the assumption that it could be easy with internet luck. My position on the power elite is that because I was raised in a capitalist first-world country, I fall into the trap of caring about the power elite and I criticize them but I am being hypocritical because, in reality, I wish to become that. I would like to be that person with power, influence, and all the money I could ask for. I want to be recognized and famous but I understand the problems it creates and comes with.
After finishing the readings, a question that I had was; how long will the established order last until a complete revolution of the system? A capitalist society continues when those less fortunate just accept the status quo and the rat race. It will continue because they place value on celebrities and politicians, but as Mills says, "take the one hundred most celebrated away from the institutional positions they now occupy, away from their resources of men and women and money, away from the media of mass communication that are now focused upon them-then they would be powerless and uncelebrated." The power elite is so because the common people allow them to be. If no one cared about them, they would be nobodies. People without influence, status, or power. So I was curious to think about how long it would take people to stand up and not care about those people. How long would it take for a social revolution and a complete overhaul of societal values? Because only then would the power elite fall and allow equity amongst everyone. References C. Wright Mills (2011) "The Power Elite" in The Inequality Reader Contemporary and Foundational Readings in Race, Class, and Gender Edited By David B. Grusky, Szonja Szelényi
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