The Failure of Elites is unique as an in-depth study of an operative elite in a country undergoing substantial modernizing change while experiencing profound conflict, including armed insurgency and terrorism. The book combines a historical account of elite succession with an analysis of the social characteristics of incumbent elites. In particular, it describes the rise to power of a middle-sector elite, its subsequent fragmentation and loss of impetus toward reform, as well as diminished contact with the Venezuelan people.
This unusual and timely volume is the first of three major reports on a long-term research project (conducted jointly by members of the Centro de Estudios del Desarrollo of the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Center for International Studies at M.I.T.) aimed at formulating rational policies for the development of Venezuela. Drawing on expertise from the social science disciplines -- particularly those concerned with human behavior -- the contributors to this volume have focused on ways to determine the feasibility or relative social cost of alternative strategies of development.