Pareto, Vilfredo
The Rise and Fall of Elites




The Rise and Fall of Elites: An Application of Theoretical Sociology

This book is the first paperback edition of a minor classic in social science. Vilfredo Pareto’s long essay from the turn of the century on The Rise and Fall of Elites marks a giant step from econometrics into sociology. Here In brief and incisive outline are the major ideas for which Pareto was later to become famous, and with a brilliant opening essay that remains entirely appropriate today. This slim volume is more readable and disciplined than most of the later elaborations, and serves well as an introduction to Pareto’s political sociology. It also conveys the proud, detached, ironic attitude of a man who rightly and obviously thinks of himself as a sophisticated visitor to the theater of historical drama, early uncovering the entire plot while the rest of the audience is being misled by gestures and speeches, and the comings and goings of ideologues. Pareto’s bias, which is loud and clear, is against people of all political persuasions who favor social ossification over social change, ascription over achievement, and soft thinking over toughness. A dominant group survives only if it provides opportunities for the best persons of other origins to join in its privileges and rewards, and if it does not hesitate to use force to defend these privileges and rewards. Pareto’s irony shows in his attack on elites that become humanitarian and tender-hearted rather than tough-minded. He favors opportunity for all competent members of society to advance into the elite: but in so doing, he is motivated not by feelings of pity for the underprivileged but by admiration for those elites that efficiently maintain themselves and adjust to changing circumstances with intelligence and capability.

The Rise and Fall of Elites: An Application of Theoretical Sociology, Vilfredo Pareto, Transaction Press, 2007

Paperback. Like new.