The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills, 1956, Excerpts
The very rich are now deeply entrenched in the higher corporate world of the twentieth-century American economy. Not great fortunes, but great corporations are the important units of wealth, to which individuals of property are variously attached. The corporation is the source of wealth, and the basis of the continued power and privilege of wealth. All the men and the families of great wealth are now identified with large corporations in which their property is seated. They form the corporate rich of
, whose wealth and power is today comparable with those of any stratum, anywhere or anytime in world history. America
Those who have risen into the very rich have been economic politicians and members of important cliques who have been in positions permitting them advantages. Very few of those who have risen to great wealth have spent the major portions of their working lives steadily advancing from one position within and between the corporate hierarchies. It is not the far-seeing inventor or the captain of industry but the general of finance who becomes one of the very rich.
The chief executives and the very rich are not two distinct and clearly segregated groups. There has been an increase in personnel traffic that goes on between the military and the corporate realms. They are both very much mixed up in the corporate world of property. Within the corporate world there is an elaborate network of interlocking directorships. ‘Interlocking Directorate’ is no mere phrase: it points to a solid feature of the facts of business life, and to a sociological anchor of the community of interest, the unification of outlook and policy, that prevails among the propertied class.
CEO-to-worker compensation gap shrinks in 2016 – but it's still 271-to-1
20 Jul 2017
The CEOs of America’s largest firms made an average of $15.6m in compensation last year, or 271 times the annual average pay of the typical worker. The study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) looked at compensation, including share options and other benefits, for the top bosses of the largest 350 companies in the US in 2016. The 2016 CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 271-to-1 is down from 299-to-1 in 2014 and 286-to-1 in 2015. But the report points out it is still “light years beyond the 20-to-1 ratio in 1965 and the 59-to-1 ratio in 1989”.
Executive pay '180 times average', report finds
13 Jul 2014
Executive pay has grown from 60 times that of the average worker to almost 180 times since the 1990s, according to a report. The High Pay Centre's report says that, without further action, trust in business will be damaged by the perception that an executive "elite" is reaping all the rewards from economic growth.