Arguing that the power in America is concentrated in large institutions, this book studies the people at the top of these institutions—who they are, how much power they wield, and how they came to power. Tom Dye has chronicled the national leadership since the Nixon-Ford years, each edition featuring the current president and his staff. The seventh edition focuses on the new Bush administration and the contrast it will bring to Washington following 8 years of Clinton dominance. The commentary is supported by years of data analysis involving more than 7000 institutional elites, which includes governmental and corporate leaders. This edition describes the return of the Bush dynasty to power. It includes a new chapter on “The Money Elite” , describing the power of the banking and financial community as well as the Federal Reserve Board; Chapter 7 now covers important issues concerning elite interlocking, recruitment, social characteristics, class, and factionalism; the discussion of “How Institutional Leaders Make Public Policy” has been expanded greatly in Chapter 8; several discussions have been added, including “The Globalization of Economic Power,” “The Battle for IBM,” “Alan Greenspan: Ruling over Money,” “Hillary Clinton: Power and Ambition,” and “Liberal and Conservative Factions among Elites” .
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Who's Running America? has not been supported by any grant or contract from any institution, public or private. It grew out of a graduate seminar "Research on Power and Elites" at Florida State University. Initially, biographical data for over 5,000 members of various institutional elites were collected and coded by students. These computerized biographies constituted the original database for the continuing project Who's Running America? The database has been revised periodically, and data on over 7,000 institutional elites have been collected and coded.
Two articles based on this data from the early 1970s were published in social science journals:
We are indebted to a number of commentators who wrote to us before and after publication of these articles, including scholars G. William Domhoff, Suzanne Keller, John Walton, Robert Lineberry, Harmon Zeigler, and Charles Bonjean.
The First Edition of this book was published in 1976 and described national leadership in the Nixon-Ford years. The First Edition was subtitled Institutional Leadership in the United States.
The Second Edition of this volume, The Carter Years, reflected changes in national leadership which occurred with the election of Jimmy Carter to the presidency and the advent of a new Democratic administration.
The Third Edition of this book, The Reagan Years, involved the collection of an entire new database for national leaders in 1980-81. Special topics were addressed in several articles in professional journals, including:
The Fourth Edition, The Conservative Years, discussed changes in national leadership during the 1980s. Additional research on corporate ownership was examined in professional journals:
The Fifth Edition, The Bush Era, updated both corporate and governmental leadership to 1990. Additional detailed analysis of institutional power was published in:
The Sixth Edition, The Clinton Years, chronicled changes in leadership in Washington accompanying the arrival of the first Democratic administration in twelve years. We observed that the "Friends of Bill and Hillary" differed from previous administrations in their lack of experience outside of government. Almost all top Clinton officials were lawyers, lobbyists, politicians, and bureaucrats; very few had any background in business, banking, the media, or the military. An article developed in conjunction with the Sixth Edition appeared as:
The Seventh Edition, The Bush Restoration, describes the return of "The Bush Dynasty" to power. It also adds a new chapter on "The Money Elite" that describes the power of the banking and financial community as well as the Federal Reserve Board. Important issues concerning elite interlocking, recruitment, social characteristics, class, and factionalism have been integrated into a single chapter, Chapter 7, "The Structure of Institutional Power." Our discussion "How Institutional Elites Make Public Policy" (Chapter 8) has been expanded significantly.
Among new discussions in the Seventh Edition are the following: "The Globalization of Economic Power," "Institutionalizing the Global Economy," "Paychecks of the Corporate Chiefs," "The Battle for IBM," "The Federal Reserve Board," "Alan Greenspan: Ruling over Money," "The Bush Family Dynasty," "The Bush Restoration," "Hillary Clinton: Power and Ambition," "The `Fixers': Peddling Power for Profit," "Liberal and Conservative Factions among Elites," "The 'Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.'"
Our continuing work on the topic of Chapter 8, "How Institutional Elites Make Public Policy" was expanded into a full-length book:
Also, papers on this topic were delivered at the Seventeenth World Congress of the International Political Science Association, Quebec, 2000, and the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, 2000.
The decision to "name names" was carefully considered. We know that occupants of top institutional positions change over time and that some of our information will be out of date by the time of publication. And with thousands of names, some mistakes are inevitable. However, the biographical sketches provide "flesh and bones" to the statistical analysis; they "personalize" the numbers and percentages in our research. The people who run America are real people, and we know of no better way to impress this fact upon our readers.
Thomas R. Dye
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