Chapter 10: Economy & Politics
Chapter 10: Economy & Politics Syg2010
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sierra Gnecco on Wednesday September 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Syg2010 at Florida State University taught by Kaley Boggs in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Social Problems in Sociology at Florida State University.
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Date Created: 09/21/16
SYG2010 Chapter 10 Economy & Politics By Sierra Gnecco 10.1: Economic Systems: Defining Justice, Defining Problems ● There are two economic models: capitalism and socialism ○ No nation is completely capitalist or socialist. (Meaning they are mixed systems) The Capitalist Model ● Capitalism- An economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods and services are privately owned. ● In a capitalist system, individual men and women own a society’s productive property. ○ Productive property includes includes investment banks, health care corporations, auto factories, large farms, and field and forests. ● Capitalism culture teaches people to think that everyone should behave according to their self-interest. ● How do capitalist systems work? ○ Capitalism operates as a system of market competition in which people buy and sell goods and services from each other at the best prices they can get in a negotiation called “forces of supply and demand”. ● Some claim that a market system is most productive when it operates with little or no government interference. ● Highly productive, but generates a high level of economic inequality. 2 The Socialist Model ● Socialism- An economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods and services are collectively owned. ● In a socialist system, government limits the right of individuals to own productive property. Instead, the government own and operates productive property (farms, factories, and offices), claiming to do so in the interest of the people as a whole. ● Encourages a collective orientation not motivated by self-interest but by a desire to serve the common good. ● Can lead to a relatively low standard of living and the government can limit individual freedoms. ○ Individual freedoms- ability to start new businesses, speak out, and move freely from place to place. Mixed Systems ● U.S. is a mix of private and government activity, but is the most capitalist of all nations. ○ The U.S. has 82% private and 18% public GDP (gross domestic product) . 2.2: The Economy and Politics ● Political economy- the closely linked economic and political life of a nation or world region. (economy + politics) ● Political left and right: ○ Political left supports the government controlling economic production because it promotes economic equality. ○ The political right supports the free market because it increases economic productivity. ● Some point out, concerning capitalism, that limited government provides people with the right to vote, and the freedom to work, travel, and speak according to their individual desires. Socialist supporters claim that capitalism reduces personal security for most and concentrates wealth and power to such a degree that a small share of the population has most of the wealth. The real power lies in the wealth. The economic elite dominates the society’s political life. 3 Democracy ● Democracy-A political system in which power is exercised by the people as a whole. ● Socialist countries are democratic b/c people have no voice in selecting their leaders. Authoritarianism and Monarchy ● Authoritarianism- A political system that denies popular participation in government. ○ The opposite of democracy. ● Authoritarian countries can have various types of economies and structures. ○ Iran- authoritarian nation run by a religious elite. ○ Malaysia and Singapore- authoritarian nations that have elections but have been long controlled by a single political party. ● Monarchy- A political system in which a single family rules from generation to generation. ○ Saudi Arabia- most of the wealth is in the hands of an extended royal family of several thousand people, who dominate economic and political life. 10.3: Problems of the U.S. Political Economy The Power of Corporations ● Corporations- businesses with a legal existence, including rights and liabilities, separate from that of their members. ● In the U.S., as a capitalist society, the economic activity of corporations is far greater than that of gov. ● U.S. gov.’s manage public resources, run libraries and universities, oversee parks and beaches, and operate the U.S. military. Yet most economic production takes place in the private sector, which is dominated by huge corporations. ● Far more taxpayer $ in the U.S. goes to wealthy corporations than poor families. Monopoly and Oligopoly ● Monopoly- The domination of an entire market by a single company. ● Oligopoly- The domination of an entire market by a few companies. Conglomerates and Other Linkages ● Conglomerate- A giant corporation composed of many smaller corporations. ● Another way corporations work together is by sharing members of their boards of directors. Interlocking directorates- Social networks made up of people who serve as directors of severals corporations at the same time. The Power of Money ● People across the country come together to form many different types of organizations that seek to advance various political goals. ● Special-interest groups- Political alliances of people interested in some economic or social issue. Ex: AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) ● For organizations, money buys power through l obbying (the efforts of special-interest groups and their representatives to influence gov. officials). 10.4: Theories and Political Problems Structural-Functionalist Theory ● Theory views the economic system as a complex institution that operates to produce and distribute goods and services to the entire population. ● Underlies capitalism. ● From individual decisions guided by self-interest (economic competition) the economy operates to produce the greatest # of people. ● “Rule by the many” Social-Conflict Theory ● Theory sees an elite in control of the few economic and political systems. ● Perspective: political economy operates to benefit some of the people. 5 ● Challenges the claim that the U.S. is democratic. ● “Rule by the few” 10.5: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions ● Theory provides helpful insights about the economy and politics, but what the problems are and the solutions are the matters of public opinion. ● Political positions on economic and political problems: conservative, liberal, and radical-left. Conservatives: The System is Working ● Conservatives credit economic expansion with the increase of life length, safe housing, electricity, good medical care, etc. As the U.S. industrialized, the economy generated more products and services, so that cities grew and living standards rose for everyone. ● Have supported the creation of enterprise zones (areas in the inner city that attract new businesses w/the promise of tax relief) ● Oppose the growth of gov. social welfare programs. ● Conservative approach: the strength of a city/society lies partly in its economic prosperity but mostly in the moral character of its people. Liberals: Government Reform ● Liberals believe that we have serious social problems due to social inequality. ● They look to the government to take action and stabilize the unbalanced economy resulting from free-market policies. ● Liberal solution to urban problems: enforce antidiscrimination laws, gov. should reduce the income and wealth gaps, raise taxes paid by the rich, and create needed jobs and provide transportation to suburbs and other areas where jobs are more readily available. ● They see gov. as the solution to problems affecting our cities. 6 The Radical Left: A Call for Basic Change ● Radicals on the left believe that the U.S. is in crisis and has high economic inequality and racism. ● They believe that basic change in our economic and political systems will solve urban problems. ● Reject the conservative reliance on the market system to guide city development. Giving free reign to market forces leads to an increase in urban problems like poverty, crime and urban sprawl. ● They believe that reforms proposed by liberals don’t go far enough for they rest on the foundation of capitalism. ● Seek more basic change in the economic foundation of U.S. society. Welfare State ● Welfare State: a range of government policies and programs to protect the wellbeing of citizens, especially those in financial need. ○ More than just low-income programs. ○ Ex: Social security, college grants, subsidized college loans, etc. ● F.D. Roosevelt created the foundation of the current welfare state in the 1930’s. Domhoff: Who Runs America? ● The idea that the power elite control the economy goes against the American grain. ● Corporate community‐ corporations, banks, agri‐businesses that dominate federal government. ● Policy formation networks‐ non‐profit organizations interested in policy.
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