Who exercises greater power over US citizens: the US government in Washington, or multi-national companies?
ONLY SOMEONE WELL VERSED IN POLITICS Write a 2000 word essay on the question. My plan and bibliography to try and base the essay off of: The core element of the question I will be answering surrounds the notion of power. Before I can even begin to discuss who exercises greater power over US citizens, I must first define what power is. This is why I will be addressing the three dimensions of power covered by Dahl, Bachrach and Baratz and Lukes by using the two books Who governs? and Power. The Power Elite by Mills also caught my eye because it begins to introduce the idea that corporations, political entities (government) and the military share a common interest and implies, in the context of my essay question, that a normal US citizen is powerless when subject to manipulation by these groups. To reign upon the importance of the role of government in a society such as the US, I’ve decided to rely upon Hobbes’ Leviathan. This will also provide some balance in my essay with a more socialist viewpoint on the structure and running of society though it is more fixated on the notion of the commonwealth. I then wanted to dawn upon the current political and economic climate to provide some perspective on today’s US society which is why I chose Hobsbawm’s Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism as one of the texts for my reading list. My main line of argument will be that multi-national companies have more power over US citizens than the US government in Washington. My understanding of the United States as a political entity is not great at the moment, but I know that it runs on a federal government system which divides the powers of government into the three sectors: legislative, judicial and executive. This is automatically already a dispersion of power. For more background into the US government such as the structure of local government and influences by the private sector, I’ll be reading American Government 101 by Sears. The US has a capitalist economy, one of the strongest and most industrialised economies in the world. Even looking at Fortune500 companies and the FTSE100, a lot of them are American. This is why I will be looking at Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson and Smith’s The Wealth of Nations; to gain a richer understanding of free market economics. I then wanted to get more specific and build my argument to show the extent of how corporations can exert power over US citizens. To do this I used Coll’s Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. Coll reports on how ExxonMobil has much more sway than the US embassy over politics and security in many countries, reflecting the sheer power a corporation can have on other countries, let alone its own citizens. I finally wanted to briefly touch upon income inequality in the US and how this may affect who exercises greater power over US citizens. To do this I chose Gilen’s Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. Upon the writing of my actual essay, I hope to come across many more books and sources such as newspaper articles to strengthen my argument and provide some counter perspectives. Bibliography Coll, S. (2013) Private empire: ExxonMobil and American power. New York, Penguin Publishing Group Dahl, R. A. (1961). Who governs? Democracy and power in an American city. New Haven, Yale University Press Gilens, M. (2014) Affluence and influence: Economic inequality and political power in America. Princeton, Princeton University Press Hazlitt, H. (2014) Economics in one lesson: The shortest and surest way to understand basic economics. New York, Random House USA Inc Hobbes, T. (1651) Leviathan. Menston, Scolar P. Hobsbawm, E. (2007) Globalisation, democracy and terrorism. London, Abacus Lukes, S. (2005). Power. New York, Palgrave Mcmillan Mills, C. W. (1956). The power elite. New York, Oxford University Press Sears, K. (2016) American Government 101: From the continental congress to the Iowa caucus, everything you need to know about US politics. Massachusetts, Adams Media Smith, A. (1776) An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Raleigh, Alex Catalogue