Country of the World United States of America Part 2

About the country the United States of America, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.



The states, ranging from California with 22 million people to Alaska with only 382,000, have political structures similar to the federal government. Each state elects its own chief executive, the governor, every two or four years. Cities and other local governments (counties, school boards, water districts, etc.) are all technically agencies of the states in which they are located. Their powers and structures vary considerably, but they are all subject to state and federal law.

Who REALLY Rules: Though formally structured as a democratic republic, the U.S. is dominated by an economic and social elite which controls most of the nation's wealth as well as most areas of national and state policy. Because the U.S. allows some class mobility, estimates of the size of the American ruling class vary, but a good figure is about 1/2 of 1% of the population. The ruling class rules through direct control of the private economy and national communications media, dominance of the executive branch of the federal government, and influence over other government bodies. Members of the ruling class frequently differ over major policy issues, but they work together to maintain their position in American society.

Only 124,000 households, or 1/4 of 1% of the population, receive 3.8% of the personal income in the U.S. One percent of the nation's households owns an even larger share of the nation's personal wealth, from 20% to 30%, and more than half the nation's personal stockholdings. This small minority controls wealth and income much larger than it "owns," however, through a complicated network of foundations and financial institutions, whose boards of trustees and boards of directors it dominates. Financial institutions own 24% of all corporate stock in the U.S.

Through their stockholdings, management positions, and directorships, the men and women of the ruling class run the nation's large corporations. The corporations, in turn, dominate the economy. The top 500 companies in the U.S. have sales of about $1.5 trillion (!!!) annually--compared to a total U.S. Gross National Product of about $2 trillion.

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