C. Wright Mills Would Have Loved Occupy Wall Street

C. Wright Mills, the radical Columbia University sociologist who died 50 years ago at age 45, would have loved Occupy Wall Street. In the 1950s, when most college professors were cautious about their political views and lifestyles, Mills rode a motorcycle to work; wore plaid shirts, jeans and work boots instead of flannel suits; built his house with his own hands; and, in a torrent of books and articles, warned that America was becoming a nation of “cheerful robots,” heading toward a third world war and was being corrupted by an economic elite.

In three books published between 1948 and 1956 – “The New Men of Power,” “White Collar” and “The Power Elite” – Mills challenged the widely held belief that American society, having triumphed over the fundamental problems of the 20th century (depression, war and fascism) had become a model of economic success, political democracy and social well-being. At a time when social scientists and journalists were extolling America’s post-World War II prosperity, Mills warned about the dangers of the growing concentration of wealth and power.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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