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"Ruling class" is a term describing the sort of social class that is usually thought to be necessary in order to manage a civilized society. Wherever there has been civilization there has always been a ruling class of sorts, from the nobles and wealthy landowners who populated feudal societies, to the monarchies of the United Kingdom.
The idea of a ruling class, as distinct from a group of individual rulers, has its roots in Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, in which Marx spoke of the ruling class, the capitalist bourgeois, being overthrown by the underclass, the proletariat ("Workers of the world, unite!"). A large number of people spent decades spinning their wheels and making enormous messes trying to implement Marx's vision. Meanwhile, technology was advancing, and the workers of the world were actually uniting in labor unions and successfully demanding better working conditions, and the general rise of global living standards deprived Marxists of the quantum of suckers they needed to make a revolution.
There are other sorts of ruling classes besides an aristocracy or a Marx-style bourgeois capitalist cabal. For example, a ruling class may be based on religion, such as the Brahmins of India or the Guardian Council of Iran.
"Ruling class" is also another name for Drafting 101.