A class of people in a society that exercise authority and control far in excess of their contributions to society.

Almost universally, this power is used acquire wealth that is greatly disproportionate to their own work. For example, today in the United States, the average CEO makes 400 times what the average entry level worker makes, though the work they contribute is minor at best. For comparison, this ratio was only 75-to-1 back in 1970, and the ratio of 1970's America is similar in both Japan and Canada today. There is no evidence that American CEOs are more productive or work any harder, hence the source of their greater incomes is derived from other means.

The means of the power by the ruling class is variable, but common techniques include aristocracy and nepotism, manipulation of religion, creating and then preying upon fear, direct violence, control of education, domination of the political system, domination of the judicial system, or domination of the legislative system.

Because the concentration of power is difficult to achieve, the ruling class almost always has a high degree of coordination and solidarity with one-another, insofar as their goals align in excluding the working class from power.
Today in America, the Presidential Debates are hosted by a private company, the Commission on Presidential Debates. It is a major tool used by the ruling class to assure that no matter which major party candidate you vote for, the ruling class remains in control.

If a person dares to question the aristocratic power of the ruling class, they are immediately called a socialist, a communist, un-American, or other terms.

The ruling class depends entirely on the working class to produce everything they own and consume.
by madric January 31, 2012
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