The Masses are the Ruling Classes: Policy Romanticism, Democratic Populism, and Social Welfare in America

ISBN : 9780190467067

William Epstein
256 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2016
Send mail

The Masses are the Ruling Classes proposes the radical, yet seemingly innocuous view that social policy in the United States is determined by mass consent. Contemporary explanations of decision making in the US 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 near-universal suffrage sustain democratic consent as more plausible than the alternatives - conspiracy, propaganda, usurpation, autonomous government, and imperfect pluralism. Contrary to prevailing explanations, government is not either autonomous or out of control, business and wealthy individuals have not usurped control of the nation, large segments of the population are not dispossessed of the vote or of a voice in public affairs, and the media has not formed a conspiracy with Hollywood and liberals to deny Americans their God-given freedoms. Despite the multitude of problems that the nation faces, its citizens are not oppressed. In this pithy yet provocative book, Epstein argues that Democracy in the United States is not progressive but is instead populist, and that the core of the populist ideology is romantic rather than pragmatic.


Section I: Explaining Social Policy Making
Introduction: The Ruling Masses
Chapter 1: Precursors to Policy Romanticism
Chapter 2: Policy Romanticism
Chapter 3: -- An American Archetype: The Quest for the Authentic Self -- Psychology, Pop Psychology and Self-Help
Chapter 4: Spiritualism, Religion and Other Romantic Quests for the Authentic Self
Section II: Policy Romanticism and American Social Welfare
Chapter 5: Year Up
Chapter6: Communities in Schools
Chapter7: Generations of Hope Communities
Chapter 8: The Food Stamp Program
Chapter 9 - Food Stamps and Public Welfare
Social Adolescence

About the author: 

William Epstein, DSW, MSW, is Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Social Work. Dr. Epstein has authored nine books and scores of articles, reviews, and research monographs. He has over 30 years of university teaching and 15 years of experience in community organization and development, public administration, and policy research.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.