Elite theorists reject the pluralist view that power in liberal democracies is widely dispersed. They argue that power is concentrated in the hands of a small minority called the elite. The elite theory was originally developed as a response to Marxism, which claimed that democracy was only possible under communism. They asserted that rule by elites was inevitable in all societies, even communist ones. However not all views of elite theory are so pessimistic. Many modern elite theorists argue that rule by elites results from the way in which societies are organised, rather than being n inevitable feature of human society.
Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca rejected the idea that real democracy was possible in either liberal democracies or under communism. They argue that in all societies and elite, a minority of individuals with superior personal qualities, would monopolise power. While Pareto and Mosca saw the elite as an inevitable thing Wright Mills saw the elite rule as a result of the structure of society which allowed a disproportionate amount of power to be held by a few individuals who occupied what he called the command posts. These individuals are called the power elite.
He identified 3 key institutions as the centres of power, The Federal government, the major corporations and the military. Mills believed that these 3 elites are closely related because of their similar origins, education and kinship and because there interests are in twined. Critics of Mills argue that he only showed that the elites in the USA have potential for control, he failed to show that they had actual hold control. In addition pluralist disagree with this theory and argue that there are many other elites such as pressure group leaders, religious, trade unions and so on, who can provide a counterbalance to these more powerful elites.
Marxists also reject the notion of a power elite, arguing that real power in capitalist societies derives not from positions in institutions but from ownership and control of the means of production. In conclusion it seems as though there are many different approaches to the view on power in society, whether the people are in power because they were democratically elected or whether there, there because they were born into it.
However many of the views tend to ignore the problems with black people and women. Why are there only 25% of women in parliament and why are there only 6 black MP's? Although functionalist believe we live in a fair merocratic society it's becoming fairly obvious that we don't. Though many views have may have some truth behind them it extremely hard say that one person's opinion of power in society is wrong. It really depends if you believe in the power of the people or not.