Parenti stresses the role of class in all societies, particularly the purportedly classless US one. He extends the definition of class as a demographic trait relating to status, education, lifestyle, and income level to include the effects of social interrelationships. He observes that there can be no rich slaveholders without poor slaves, no powerful feudal lords without serfs, no corporate bosses without workers. The interrelationship is highly asymmetrical. It centers on the organized wealth of the society.
Parenti also believes that there is a third factor involved in class relationships, specifically the productive resources (land, agriculture, herds, natural resources, factories, technology, etc.). The dominant group in class relationships owns or controls these economic resources. The weaker class historically has had only its labor to sell. Hence the “dominant money classes” exercise a preponderant influence over workforces, markets, major investments, consumption patterns, media, and public policies. Parenti concludes that when discussing class; class power, how it is used, for whose interests, and at whose expense, must also be discussed.