This chapter focuses on the core of the Swedish capitalist class, owners of ‘large-scale’ capital, during 1914-2006. For investigating this class, a key assumption in the works of Marx and Weber is utilized: the dominant capitalist class of property holders is internally divided. It contains “active” members (engaged in the production and circulation of goods) as well as “thinking” members (engaged in the production and circulation of ideas); it contains “entrepreneurs” (producing new capital) as well as “rentiers” (living off inherited capital).
One result is that a large portion of the wealthiest individuals are professionally active in other fields than the economic field, i.e. in other positions than as leaders of large capitalist corporations. This pattern in the social composition of the capitalist class has been remarkably stable during the twentieth century, unaffected by economic crises as well as the emergence of the Swedish Social Democratic welfare state. Another result is that the proportion of rentiers is greater in the thinking fraction than within the active fraction. The results illustrate the need to combine research on economic elites and studies of the reproduction of the top stratum of the capitalist class.