Elites: Strategic and Otherwise


This table summarizes some of my work on the Progressive/New Deal era, but also goes (speculatively) beyond that.

1.  input-output flows

2. interlocking directorates (Domhoff): Pujo Committee, Brandeis, Other People's Money

3. campaign contributions

Elizabeth Jacoway, "Taken by Surprise: Little Rock Business Leaders and Desegreagation," in Elizabeth Jacoway and David R. Colburn, eds., Southern Businessmen and Desegregation (Louisiana State University Press, 1982)

Provincial Capital Formations

Arno Mayer deals with provincial capital formations

Pikkety, Krugman,

Julia Adams and Mounira M. Charrad, Patrimonial Power in the Modern World (Sage, 2011)


from Paul Luebke, Tar heel politics 2000 (University of North Carolina Press, 1998), viii

"Despite North Carolina's long-standing reputation for progressivism, the term "progressive" should be applied cautiously.  The reality is that the state's political debate remains firmly controlled by two well-institutionalized economic elites with somewhat conflicting interests.  One group, the modernizers, consists of bankers, developers, retail merchants, the news media, and other representatives of the business community who expect to benefit from change and growth.  The second group, the traditionalists, includes traditional industrialists (in textiles, furniture, and apparel), tobacco farmers, and others associated with the state's agricultural economy who feel threatened by change and growth.  Each group is linked with politicians who represent its interests."

Sodalities (and patrimonialism; the proto-Dorian convention

from Seymour M. Hersh, Reporter (Knopf, 2018)

City News Bureau, Chicago

City News . . . had been set up at the turn of the century by the Chicago Newspapers to field reporters who would cover the city’s courts and police headquarters, sparing money and staff for the big boys.  The bureau’s focus was on street crime—of which there was plenty in Chicago—and its reportng served as a tip sheet for the big dailies; the bureau was also a source of young, ambitious reporters.  City News had been made famous, briefly, by The Front Page, the perennial hit play—later a movie—written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.  pp. 14-15

Most of the editors and reporters were cynics and wise to what can only be described s the Chicago way.  The cops were on the take, and the mob ran the city.  The City News reporters, with rare exceptions, were give access to crime scenes and allowed to park anywhere they wished as long as they displayed a press card on the dashboard. . . .  The abmitious young reporters working the courthouses and police beats understood their mission was to live within the system and somehow make the city work. p. 18

 . . . while on temporary night asignment for a week or two at police headquarters in Hyde Park, near the university.  The process had quickly become familiar: hang around with other reporters; ingratiate yourself with the desk sergeant; buy him all the coffee he wants; help him, if he asks, with the last week’s Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle; and wait for the radio to sound off.  Late at night comes a report of a deadly fire in the black ghetto a few miles to the west, with many victims.  Off I go. . . .  p. 21

What a story, I thought. . . .  Mr. Dorfeld [a senior editor at City News] . . . said: “Ah, my good, dear, energetic Mr. Hersh.  Do the, alas, poor, unfortunate victims happen to be of the Negro persuasion?”  I said yes.  He said, “Cheap it out.”  That meant that my City News dispatch would report the following give or take a phrase: “Five Negroes died in a fire last night on the Southwest Side.”  It might have also included an address.

I thought, having worked for years in a family store in a black area, that I might know something about racism.  Dornfeld taught me that I had a lot to learn.

There was one final lesson to learn just before I would go off for compulsory army training, after only seven or so months on the job at City News.  It was my shameful, but unavoidable, involvement in what we now call self-censorship.  I was back on overnight duty at the central police headquarters when two cops called in to report that a robbery suspect has been shot trying to avoid arrest.  The cops who who had done the shooting were driving in to make a report.  Always ambitious, and always curious, I raced down to the basement parking lot in the hope of getting some firsthand quotes before calling in the story.  The driver—white, beffy, and very Irish, like far too many Chicago cops then—obviously did not see me as he parked the car.  As he climbed out, a fellow cop, who clarly had heard the same radio report I had, shouted something like “So the guy tried to run on you?”  The driver said, “Naw, I told the nigger to beat it and then plugged him.”

I got the hell out of there, without being seen, called the bureau, and asked for the editor on duty. (It was not Billings.) [The night editor at City News.]  What to do?  The editor urged me to do nothing.  It would be my word versus that of all the cops involved, and all would accuse me of lying.  The message was clear: I did not have a story.  But of course I did.  So I waited a few days and then asked for and got a copy of the coroner’s report.  The victim had been shot in the back.  I took a copy of the report to an editor.  He wasn’t interested.  No one was interested.  I had no proof that a felony murder had been committed other than what the killer himself had said, and he, of course, would deny it.

So I left the story alone.  I did not try to find and interview the cop who bfragged about doing the shooting, nor did I seek out his partner.  Nor did I raise hell at City News.  I shuffled of to six months of army t raining, full of despair at my weakness and the weakness of a profession that dealt so easily with compromise and self-censorship. pp. 21-2


Strategic Elites: Institutions and Individuals
Sectors of Realization
Firms & Functions
See Elliot A. Rosen, Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Brans Trust: from Depression to New Deal

Belmont, Baruch, Brookings, Lovett, Harriman (Columbia, 1977) for 1932 list

Commodities in International Trade
Tobacco, Cotton, Sugar, Corn, Wheat, Copper, Oil
Legal Services
Financial Services
National Civic Federation

See Other People's Money, Pujo Committee, TNEC


Securities Bloc
Securities & Finance
Legal Services
Infrastructure (Railroads, Telephones, Electric Power, Urban Transportation)
Primary Materials (Iron & Steel, Coal)
Captive Capital Goods
Pollak Foundation
The Taylor Society: elite non-manufacturing firms
Filene's, Macy's, Bowery Savings Bank, Dennison Manufacturing

Mass Consumption I:
Mass Distribution & Mass Housing
Mass Retailers
Producer Services
Real Estate
The Taylor Society: manufacturing firmsMass Consumption II:
Captive Production Inputs

Twentieth Century Fund

Committee for Economic Development

Hiss List

see Mark Mizruchi, The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite (Harvard, 2013)
Modern Machinery & Continuous Process Multinationals

Clinton Foundation

Democratic Leadership Council
Post-modern Capitalism: the Production of Subjectivities

Provincial Elites

Mayberry Machiavellis
The Price of Loyalty
Arno Mayer, The persistence of the Old Regime : Europe to the Great War
Michael W. Miles, The Odyssey of the American Right, 1980; The Kansas Experiment, New York Times August 5, 2015
Provincial Capital Formations
Local Chambers of Commerce

Republican Gomorrah
Seymour Hersch on Chicago p.d.
Bill Jenkins on Pontiac
Ferguson, Mo. PD
Staten Island D.A.
Jackie Presser
Barney Kluck on 1933 T&D strike
ethnic, racial, religious, occupational
Police, Fire, Local Gov't, Local Services, Skilled Trades, Construction?
Patrimonial "Capitalism"?

Coers, Trump, Koch, Lind

Piketty, Krugman, Adams, Weber, Randall
Patrimonialism/Sodalities the mob: electorates, constituencies, markets, hotels, casinos
extractive industries (coal, oil, copper, etc. )