Back to Original Thinkers
UC Santa Cruz 50th Anniversary

Original Thinkers

G. William Domhoff: Authority on power structure documented the 1 percent

Bill DohmoffLong before the Occupy Wall Street movement camped out in New York’s Zuccotti Park, UC Santa Cruz Professor Bill Domhoff chronicled the disproportionate power and influence of the 1 percent.

Domhoff, a professor of psychology and sociology, was a founding UCSC faculty member. He became a pioneer in two fields, the study of U.S. power relations and the theory and practice of quantitative dream analysis

He is widely regarded as the foremost authority on the structure of power in the United States. His 1967 book Who Rules America (published 44 years before Occupy Wall Street) is a classic in sociology.

Domhoff retired in 1994 but continues as a UC Santa Cruz research professor. He published a seventh edition of Who Rules America in 2013 and added a new subtitle–The Triumph of the Corporate Rich. He keeps an accompanying web site,, continually updated.

Domhoff said the new subtitle “reflects the success of the wealthy few in defeating all of their rivals (e.g., organized labor, liberals, environmentalists) over the course of the past 35 years.”

Writing in the magazine In These Times eight years before Occupy, Domhoff noted, “It is also well-documented that the few at the top have a highly disproportionate share of wealth and income. Indeed, wealth has not been this concentrated since 1929.

“There’s good reason to believe that the top 1 percent of wealth holders—who, according to the most recent figures, own 47 percent of the nation’s financial wealth—have a dominant role in the economy and government.”