In the early sections of The Sleeper Awakes, we hear frequent mention of The Council. It appears to be the leadership group for the world, but who makes up The Council and its exact function is not made clear to the protagonist Graham nor the reader. In time, we learn that the downtrodden masses HATE The Council and are working to overthrow it.
We only learn what this body represents near the middle of the book and Graham is shocked by the revelation.
When Graham first entered his trance, both a friend and Graham's nephew left their estates to him for the purpose of insuring that he would be taken care of after their own deaths. Since Graham himself couldn't look after his accounts an executer's committee was established. The inference is that, over the years, this committee made investments on his behalf and, in time, these investments grew to gigantic proportions. In fact, his wealth grew so large that by the time he "awakens," he has become the wealthiest man in the world and owns all the means of production. The Council, then, is the corporate board of brand name, Graham.
Graham's awakening is a surprise to all. The common scuttlebutt was that he would never wake up and his cogent presence sends The Council into a panic. You see, they don't want to give up their unilateral power to the "company's" namesake. So, they place Graham under house arrest with the intent on murdering him. He is able to escape their clutches and thus their plan is foiled.
The seed for this portion of the plot can be found today in the relationship between corporations and their run-of-the-mill shareholders. By and large, shareholders -- the real owners of a corporation -- have no power. The corporate boards insure that those running the company secure at least one-half of the stocks/shares which means the peons -- folks like you and me -- really don't have a substantive say.
Every now and then, a group of the peon shareholders get together to try to exercise their powers as owners. What tends to happen in such situations* (see note below)? The powers that be change the rules or bar them from attending meetings. The real powers of the corporation -- the CEO and the top administrators -- pull out all the stops to thwart the peons from exacting any "undesirable" changes.
And so, this idea that publicly-traded corporations embody the principle of democracy is a grand farce! While it is true that anyone with a bit of money can buy a piece of the action, this does not mean that said persons can have an actual seat at the table. The corporation merely wants your capital, NOT your input.
In this same way, that's how our political system operates. Candidates vie for your campaign contributions and undying support, but they don't give a damn about your needs. Try to tell them about your needs and you will be labeled a dissident or worse!
*In my next post, I'll provide a real-time example ripped from the news.