Critics of the theory say that the products of mass culture would not be popular if people did not enjoy them, and that culture is self-determining in its administration. This would deny Adorno contemporary political significance, arguing that politics in a prosperous society is more concerned with action than with thought. Wiggershaus (1994) notes that the young generation of critical theorists largely ignore Adorno's work which, in part, stems from Adorno’s inability to draw practical conclusions from his theories. Adorno is also accused of a lack of consistency in his claims to be implementing Marxism. Whereas he accepted the classical Marxist analysis of society showing how one class exercises domination over another, he deviated from Marx in his failure to use dialectic as a method to propose ways to change. Marx's theory depended on the willingness of the working class to overthrow the ruling class, but Adorno and Horkheimer postulated that the culture industry has undermined the revolutionary movement. Adorno's idea that the mass of the people are only objects of the culture industry is linked to his feeling that the time when the working class could be the tool of overthrowing capitalism is over. Other critics note that "High culture" too is not exempt from a role in the justification of capitalism. The establishment and reinforcement of elitism is seen by these critics as a key element in the role of such genres as opera and ballet .
The forces which generate the economic engine behind the Culture Industry are not unknown but, to be more precise, are abstract. The Culture Industry is not ruled by people but by profit and the need to acquire a monopolistic position in order to acquire more profit. Marx’s metaphor of an “engine” is an apt one in that it conjures up a sense of a force that no one controls or commands. The Culture Industry is particularly efficient as definitionally it is a collaborative enterprise composes of many people all of whom want to earn a living, laboring away as cogs in a wheel, thinking they are being “artists” or that they merely want to entertain.