Miliband: The State in Capitalist Society

Miliband (1969), The State in Capitalist Society, pp. 49-73, 75-83 and 146-171:

1. According to Miliband (1969), what is the state? What is the state elite?

2. According to Miliband (1969), what are the social classes that occupy the majority of positions within the state elite? In contrast, what social classes hold relatively few of the elite positions in the state?

3. Miliband (1969, p. 69) argued that “What is really striking about these political leaders and political office-holders, in relation to each other, is not their many differences, but the extent of their agreement on truly fundamental issues”. What are the “fundamental issues” that political leaders agree on?

4. How does state intervention in the economy benefit capitalists and help to maintain capitalism?

5. What are some of the reasons that capitalists/businesses are able to put more pressure on the state, and get it to act in their interests, than the working class/labor unions?

6. Summarize Miliband’s (1969) overall argument. Go into more detail that what was said in lecture.

7. Based on your own knowledge, do you think Miliband’s (1969) theory of the capitalist state applies to American society today? What is an example that might support or challenge his argument? (If you cannot think of any examples, look at the “politics” section of major newspapers or news magazines.)

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