Sunday, 14 April 2019


By the term elite we mean superior persons or the persons belonging to a class which is above the average masses.
Pareto’s theory of the elites has exercised a massive influence, and has proved altogether more acceptable. But as he states it, his theory is just the beginning of wisdom. To begin with he concentrates solely on the traits of inferiority and superiority and of psychological type.
According to Pareto, all men are not equal. They differ among themselves in regard to their capacities and abilities. Some are more intelligent, efficient and capable than others. On account this difference in regard to abilities, there is social stratification. Some belong to superior class by virtue of their higher qualifications.
Pareto has distinguished two classes of elites. These are:
a.       Governing Elites. In this class are included persons who are directly or indirectly concerned with administration. These persons play highly important role and enjoy prestigious place in society.
b.      Non-Governing Elites. In this class are included persons who are not connected with administration but occupy such a place in society that they somehow influence the administration.
In every society there are two main groups. The one is concerned with government and usually controls the means of production and is therefore rich.  The other group is constituted by those who are poor and governed.
This fact is expressed by saying that in every society we find upper and lower classes. The upper classes are elite and the lower are non-elite. However, the distinction of elite and non-elite is neither permanent nor fixed. There is up and down movement of members of elite and non-elite.
An elite may degenerate into non-elite and an non-elite may rise to the level of elite. This exchange between classes is technically known as circulation of elite. This exchange between classes is technically known as circulation of elites. No society can maintain status quo indefinitely, there are bound to be changes which may adversely class does its best to prevent the entry of the member of non-governing class into its fold, it is not always successful in this. As Pareto observes, history is a graveyard of aristocracies. They do not last long; they are doomed to disappear by thinking down of their membership.
The up and down movement of elite takes place in two ways. Firstly, some non-elite by their merit may rise to the level of elite and secondly by revolution the entire governing class may be reduced to the status of the governed. Indeed, in the opinion of Pareto, circulation of elite is necessary for healthy social change. A slowing down of this circulation of individuals may result in a considerable increase of the degenerate elements in the classes which still hold power, and on the other hand, in an increase of elements of superior quality in subject classes. In such case the social equilibrium becomes unstable and the slightest shock will destroy it. A conquest or revolution produces an upheaval which brings a new elite to power and establishes a new equilibrium.

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