Tuesday, April 17, 2007

floyd hunter

I'm reading Floyd Hunter's classic Community Power Structures. It was published in 1953, and it's about Atlanta, but it's amazing how accurately it describes Kansas City today.

From the book, here is my current Rosetta Stone:
FIRST RATE: Industrial, commercial, financial owners and top executives of large enterprises.

SECOND RATE: Operations officials, bank vice-presidents, public-relations men, small businessmen (owners), top ranking public officials, corporation attorneys, contractors.

THIRD RATE: Civic organization personnel, civic agency board personnel, newspaper columnists, petty public officials, selected organization executives.

FOURTH RATE; Professionals such as ministers, teachers, social workers, personnel directors, and such persons as small business managers, higher paid accountants, and the like.

This is a hypothetical hierarchy of power, obviously. It seems harsh and unfair, I know; and it's certainly arguable. But it's amazing how much things make sense once you understand the order and accept it. Frankly, it's liberating. Knowing the lay of the land, as it were, promising possibilities can suddenly seem possible and promising.

8 comments:

KC Sponge said...

One knows you're a writer when you list newspaper columnists as Third Rate. Seems to me that no matter how hard they try, they're never really part of the game.

Brad said...

You know you have arrived (at least to 2nd Rate) when people start dishing dirt anonymously on your blog. Congratulations Joe!

joe said...

Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm third rate. But that's still quite a promotion.

Robyne said...

A classic indeed. but the issue is not the position held by these folks, but the resources they bring to the table - ie investment. substitute developers in our modern era for the industrialists. KC is the last of a dying breed of family run cities that thrive on corporate and civic networks and cronies. But change comes to every city and it's happening in KC too.

KC Sponge said...

Joe - you have a point . . . when you know the rules of the game, it's a lot easier to win. But I'd just rather be a part of changing the rules so that I can be proud of the game I've played - and actually enjoy playing with the people who show up. (There would be plenty of players sitting on the bench if I made up the rules. =)
ps - now that you've removed the anonymous comment, it looks like you're telling ME to grow some balls. . . I don't like it.

joe said...

But you're not anonymous. I mean, at least you have a blog.

KC Sponge said...

I realize this, Joe - but I'm just saying . . .
if you take down an anonymous post - take down your response as well. 'Cause it's hurting my feelings. A lot.

KC Sponge said...

Joe - I was just joking about removing your response. But hey - now it looks like Brad's picking on me. So really it doesn't matter much. =D