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List the strengths and weaknesses of elite power.

Strengths of elite power include that the elite are generally well-prepared for their roles and can act quickly, because power is concentrated in a smaller number of individuals. Weaknesses include that the elite often lack diversity and are reluctant to enact change because current situations allow for their comfortable life.

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Power has always been concentrated in the hands of elite groups, but the specific terms in which elite power is now discussed by sociologists derive from C. Wright Mills's book The Power Elite, first published in 1956. Mills was highly critical of the elite groups he identified and tended to focus on their weaknesses and vices. However, several characteristics of the elite may be regarded as strengths or weaknesses, depending on your political point of view. For instance, their inherent conservatism may be interpreted as stable government or resistance to change.

Some strengths of elite power are as follows. The elite tend to be well-educated and well-prepared for their station in life. Since the elite consists of a relatively small number of individuals (a few thousand people, spread over the fields of politics, industry, finance, law, the military, diplomacy, and the academy), it can act and react quickly and effectively. The position of the elite gives members a strong stake in building a successful country with a flourishing economy.

Some weaknesses of elite power include the lack of diversity in the elite group. Power is vested overwhelmingly in white men over the age of fifty, who have similar backgrounds, attended the same universities, and are members of the same clubs. These people put their own interests before those of the average citizen, often subverting the democratic process to do so. Since the elite occupy such a comfortable position, they are often reluctant to change the status quo.

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