From Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt.
The ruling class is the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society’s political agenda. In Marxist terms, the ruling class would be the capitalist class, those who dominate the economy, and by extension also determine the cultural norms and practices of a given society. It has also been argued that, due to globalization, a transnational capitalist class has emerged, one which transcends national boundaries.
Analogous to the capitalist class, other modes of production give rise to different ruling classes. Under feudalism it was the feudal lords, while under slavery it was the slave-owners. In modern societies it has been argued that a coherent ruling class cannot exist, due to there being no coherent working class.
Society, in the novel Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, is eusocial with a genetically engineered caste system. The alpha++ class is the ruling class having been bred as scientists and administrators and control the World State in the novel. This situation can also be found in the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four where the inner party as symbolized by the fictitious Big Brother literally controls what everyone in the outer party hears, sees and learns, albeit without genetic engineering and on the model of Stalinist communism having taken over the Anglosphere (Oceania). In Oceania, the ignorant masses (“proles”) are relatively free as they pose no threat to oligarchical collectivism (“Big Brother”).
Here are some links to posts from the last few weeks.
The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory – Cultural Marxism