Business Elites and Citizen Demands – a Case Study from Chile
A possible reason to explain the scarce perception of interdependence between rich and poor in the developing world is the transformation of the boundaries of society and socialization (“Vergesellschaftung”) itself. Elites involved in the creation of welfare policies in Europe and the US (identified by Swaan, 1988) reproduced themselves and obtained their legitimacy mainly within the boundaries of the nation-state.
We argue that the problem is not that contemporary elites lack a perception of interdependence as such. There is, in fact, a change in the social and spatial coordinates of interdependence. As C. Lasch (1994) pointed out, elites nowadays reproduce themselves mainly within transnational networks and are socialized in cross-boundary class connections and institutions.
Taking Lasch`s thesis as the point of departure, we will present a case study on the business elite in Chile. We will focus on the way the Chilean business elite uses recognition and acknowledgement enjoyed abroad as a strategy to block recent citizen demands for greater democracy and access to public goods.