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The Masses are the Ruling Classes – Policy Romanticism, Democratic Populism, and Social Welfare in America - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Masses are the Ruling Classes: Policy Romanticism, Democratic Populism, and Social Welfare in America

William Epstein


The Masses Are the Ruling Classes handles a neglected theme: social policy in the United States is determined by mass consent. Contemporary explanations of decision making in the United States typically attribute power over policy making to a variety of hidden forces and illegitimate elites, holding the masses innocent of their own problems. Yet the enormous openness of the society and nearly universal suffrage sustain democratic consent as more plausible than the alternatives (conspiracy, propaganda, usurpation, autonomous government, and imperfect pluralism). Despite the multitude of problem ... More

Keywords: hidden forces, conspiracy, illegitimate elites, mass consent, policy romanticism, pragmatism, responsibility for choices, Romantic, social policy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780190467067
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190467067.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

William Epstein, author
Professor, School of Social Work, UNLV