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Criticisms of Miliband's Marxism

            In his 1969 work, "The State in Capitalist Society," Ralph Miliband outlined what he saw as several key aspects of the nature of the neoliberal world. As part of the 'New Left', an emerging stance on the left wing of politics, Miliband disagreed with the notion of pluralism being a means of spreading political power across a wider spectrum than what he called the 'dominant class', which he asserted to maintain not only the majority of the wealth, but also the majority of political power with which it has come to be associated. He also asserts the very real existence of 'poverty and deprivation on a huge scale and often of an extreme kind' and the dominant class's indifference to it as a result of their lust for further profit and negligence towards the welfare of their employees (Miliband p27). This essay shall primarily focus on the claims: 1) that there is a 'dominant class' which remains accessible only to those lucky enough to be born into it (a 'hereditary' ruling class); 2) that this class uses the state as a 'device' with which to maintain this dominance; 3) that this class acts in a 'dominating and subjugating' way to maintain its grip on power and money; and 4) that big businesses and wealthy individuals have a detrimental effect upon the majority of the working masses. It will predominantly focus on the second chapter, Economics and Dominant Class, as it is here that Miliband most clearly outlines his gripes with capitalist Western democracies in terms of inequality, its cause (in what he saw as the unfair distribution of power and money), and the dominant class's mechanisms of maintaining their position at the top as part of a 'self-perpetuating oligarchy'. It will also examine to what extent these claims have held water in the half-century since they were originally published.
             To justify the existence of a 'dominant class', Miliband cited the shocking inequality statistics of the 1960s.

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