Contemporary American Society
Contemporary American Society SOC 125
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Deron Effertz on Thursday September 17, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 125 at University of Wisconsin - Madison taught by Erik Wright in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see /class/205168/soc-125-university-of-wisconsin-madison in Sociology at University of Wisconsin - Madison.
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Date Created: 09/17/15
Chapter 1 0 39 quot of this book 1 Five Values Freedom people should be able to live their life to the greatest degree possible if they wish Prosperity economy should generate a high standard of living for most people not just a small and privileged elite Efficiency economy should generate rational outcomes effectively balancing costs and bene ts in the way resources are used Faimess people should be treated justly and that they should have equal opportunity to make something in their lives without unfair privileges and unfair disadvantages Democracy the idea that our public decisions should re ect the collective will of equal citizens not of powerful and privileges elites 2 Thinking Rules in Sociological Perspective Rules are enforced Rules come in different forms laws norms conventions Rules are not neutral there are winners and losers Rules are backed by power Rules are often inconsistent gender corporation Rules change over time Chapter 2 What kind of Society is Amelich Society 3 Basic Elements for Capitalism Markets for Exchange products are produced for others consumption and sellingexchange for money Private Ownership means of production are owned privately not by state or community Control of Investment Markets for labor people sell their labor so they can make money Note be familiar with those ten dimensions which measure American society Technology Economy economic inequality political institution role of military gender relations social cleavage immigration culture violence Chapter 3 WhV C quot quot contributes to freedom and efficiency 4 Two Arguments in Defense of Capitalism Moral One 7 freedom capitalist markets promote negative freedom Pragmatic One 7 efficiency capitalist markets promote efficiency and prosperity Cooperation of complex systems market accomplish this through supply demand and price mechanism Risk taking and innovation market creates incentives for these ways of economic growth and development 5 Commodity Check your slides The things you produce for exchange not use 6 Pareto Optimality a distribution of things such that no one can be made better off without someone becoming worse off Chapter 4 Why free market is inef cient Why free market limits freedom 7 Faulty Consumer Information markets only allocate products ef ciently if people have perfect information about what they buy but this is often very dif cult for consumers especially because firms have incentives to distort information 8 Concentrated Economic Power allocative efficiency depends on perfect competition but American capitalism is dominated by giant corporations Power is the ability to get your way even with the objection of others 9 Negative EXtemalities negative unintended consequences that come from actions that affects other people 10 Short time Horizons thinking only into the shortterm future 11 UnderProvision of Public Goods pro t maximizing rms in competitive markets will fail to produce adequate public goods even those public goods which are necessary for maintaining healthy workers 12 Negativepositive freedom Negative freedom from no one can physically force you to do things Positive freedom freedom to actual capacity to do things to realize your goals 13 Public good a good in which if it is produced provides a bene t to people even if they don t pay for it 14 Freeride problem vs negative extemalities free riding everyone is harmed including me because of free riding but I am even worse off if I individually refuse to free ride Negative extemalities I bene t from imposing costs on you 15 Prisoners Dilemma people act for personal gain they are out for their own good The prisoner chooses between confessing or staying silent see chart in notes Prisoner chooses what is best for them Since both do both prisoners are worse off 16 Capitalism erodes community people feel they are on their own and in order to make their way in life they compete with others Emphasis on competition not reciprocity 17 Capitalism commercializes people s lives ex Religious Christmas is commercialized make money off religion Childcare can be provided by families neighborhood or private services People make money off nurturing wrong to some 18 Skills of exi and Voice ex Exit and nd new place when you are unhappy with service Voice opinion and do something to change the situation Exit is more common in a capitalist economy Chapter 5 Difference between 39 quot 39 39 and 39 quot quot 39 action on environment and their impact 19 Recycle case free riding problem If you don t recycle and think everyone else does than you are free riding off their actions In reality everyone does that so it turns out nobody recycles and everyone is worse off 20 Intergenerational negative extemalities negative extemalities that will displace costs onto future generations 21 NIMBY extemalities not in my backyard displaces costs onto the powerless Ex Toxic waste dumps wealthy people want them put in poorer places to lower their value instead of the wealthy neighborhood higher value 22 Central proposition for capitalist rms pollution is not just an accident in general the most pro table strategies will be the most polluting because they successfully displace costs on other 4394 439 I Chapter 6 How American public transportation is transformed bV 39 power 23 Prisoner dilemma table lightrailbus vs private car best choice you take car others take bus free riding gain 15 minutes If you take the bus and everyone chooses car you are worse off sucker penalty 45 minutes In rail case best choice you take car others take rail free riding gain 5 minutes If you take the rail there is no sucker penalty bc the rail doesn t compete for space on roads Worse if everyone drives Trains become more ef cient with more riders opposite for cars 24 Positive extemalities of public transportation quicker commuting less congestion saving on private car infrastructure less pollution health bene ts more ef cient labor market energy savings less need for multiple cars in family 25 Solutions for improving public transportation no free parking build alternate ways bike paths rapid transit increase residential density in cities gas tax recognize value of positive externalities in public transit ticket costs free Chapter 7 WhV inn is not our nature and how ism came out 26 Consumerism the belief that personal wellbeing happiness and status depend largely on the level of personal consumption particularly the acquisition of material goods Hyperconsumerism frequent pursuit of consumer goods 27 What s wrong with consumerism people are not happy they just want more systematic biases 28 Systematic biases Pro t maximizing strategies advertising TV has tons of commercials companies are focused on pro t not leisure Advertising and consumption norms Americans compare themselves to what is on TV and media that is not normal This creates gap bw what people can afford and what they think they can consume Credit cards People buy what the market makes look good when they don t have the money for it Viscous cycle Market failures in leisure Americans work more than any other country productivity and pro t is valued over free time Increasing inequality ratchets up consumption demand only rich can consume and they make money off ofcapital they may own poor cannot afford anything and become more separated with a growing gap Decline in public good and abandonment of public consumption by af uent wealthy people use private goods so they do not put money towards public goods and they decline in quality 29 Consumption reference group people base their consumption on what the media portrays when it is very skewed compared to what the average person can afford Chapter S Features of health care problems and alternatives 30 Distinctive features of Health Care 6 points on the slides extraordinary value of service ethical issues of distribution information costs for average consumer problem of preventative medicine marker for health vs market for treatment supply generates demand competition bw providers leads to over investment 31 Be familiar with US system Most complex and incoherent Most expensive in world and rapidly increasing costs Lower access than any country Minimal prevention concerns Worse health results than other rich countries 32 Moral hazard problem as core reasoning behind the defense of private insurance system a situation in which there is no incentive to worry about costs since someone else is paying the bill Insurance sometimes creates a moral hazard by enabling people to engage in riskier behavior 33 American veteran health administration reasons for high quality and low cost economies of scale ability to buy drugs at a reduced cost by negotiating discounts incentives for investing in quality strong incentive for preventative medicine because of the life time link to patient case medical record and information systems and health monitoring because of this lifetime connection 34 Canadian singlepayer system some principles or core conditions universal comprehensive portable accessible publicly administered diversity in organization of actual delivery single doctor practice community clinics group practices public hospitals and clinics 35 Obstacles for alternatives in US Organized physicians Insurance Pharmaceutical Ideology Mass misinformation campaigns Chapter Movie You won t be asked questions on the details of any movie Students who take note and write the movie journal carefully have no problem to answer the questions After you watch the movie you should know 1 how the movie help you understand the related chapter 2 how to relate the movie to the problems which are criticized in our class 3 some important players in the movies Here players mean those institutions or organizations who made problems to people or are shown as good alternative or resisters Example insurance company AIG cheated investors by giving high rate to the risky financial commodity packaged by banks What are the problems by addressing capitalism and free market What s the name of that movie This question belongs to category 2 how to relate the movie to the problems which are criticized in our class AIG won t be in the exam Study Guide for Exam 2 Sociology 125 A Concepts be sure to know the definitions for these 1 opportunityhoarding Class economically unequal social positions protected by processes of social exclusion credentials property rights Class is determined by the jobs and positions people hold not individual characteristics People may be restricted from job by property rights education 2 exploitation and domination Class economically unequal social positions bound together through relations of exploitation and domination 3 marginalization the process of being excluded from stable participation in the labor force Simple observation lack of adequate employment for people with low skills or with outmoded skills This is NOT just a problem of inadequate skill formation It is equally a problem of inadequate job creation The consequences of marginalization are intensified because of lack of real safetynet Reason why some people are marginalized is because of the lack of education for people and lack of jobs for the people who are badly educated So either educate everyone or have jobs for everyone 4 income and wealth Richest 1 gets 17 times percent if the income was split perfectly between all households Richest 1 owns 42 of wealth Income ow of money that comes in Wealth stock you own it 5 tax subsidy mortgage deduction earned income tax credit for working poor tax deductions for business expenses Decentralized form of government spending the tax payer decides what charity to give money to 6 the social wage 7 race A classification system of human beings on the basis of culturallydefined biologicallytransmitted group characteristics Typically but not invariably these are connected to visible attributes skin color physical characteristics etc SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED 8 Genocide A systematic policy to exterminate a particular category of persons because of their race religion ethnicity or some other characteristic 9 secondclass citizenship A system of giving different categories of people different citizenship rights on the basis of some attributes Ex In the US Jim Crow Laws in the south after the Civil War officially gave blacks and whites different rights In the North different treatment unofficially conferred different rights 10 statistical discrim ination A situation in which an employer makes a hiring decision about an individual on the basis of beliefs about the average characteristics of a social category rather than the characteristics of the specific individual Why Because it is less costly to do so not because of a dislike of people in that category Ex Employers believe that on average a young black man will be a less reliable employee than a young white man with the same formal qualifications and since it is difficult to get reliable information about individual reliability the employer will rely on presumed group traits to make the choice 11 housing audit employment audit a study in which black and white couplespeople acted as testers seeking rentals and home purchasesapplying for jobs b audit studies are suggestive of discrimination 12 driving while black African Americans are targeted much more than anyone else by police 13 Affirmative action Any policy that takes into account membership in some historically discriminated group eg race or gender to increase the likelihood of a person from that group getting a job or being admitted to a university 14 Gender norms rules of appropriate behavior and roles for men and women socially constructed 15 Pay equity not just equal pay for identical work but equal pay for comparable work 7 jobs with similar skill sets would be paid the same This would make feminine jobs more attractive to men because the pay would be higher thus leading to occupational equality IT would also contribute to equalizing wages between men and women and thus alter the gender dynamics of household work B Conceptual contrasts be sure to know the de nitions and what is at stake in each contrast 1 Fair play vs fair shares Fair play Moral judgment about procedures not outcomes Fairness means equal playing field no discrimination no special privileges etc Result high levels of inequalities of outcomes are fair so long as the outcomes were obtained through equal opportunity Fair shares Moral judgment about outcomes not just procedures Fairness means everyone is entitled to a share of society39s resources sufficient to live a dignified flourishing life ie to have enough to be able to participate fully in the exercise of rights and liberties to be able to exercise and develop one s talents 2 blame the victim vs blame society Blame the Victim Some people who are born poor become rich others do not sometimes even within a family The explanation of poverty must be this individual different there must be a personal deficit of some sort Supposed support Genetic cultural inability to delay instant gratification low saving rate for many people Poor people commit crime others do not Blame society Circumstances vary much more between the poor and the nonpoor do than personalities motivations or values We need to look at how the society causes these problems individual attributes do matter and a full explanation needs to take in both attributes of persons and institutions and to explain the whole idea 3 Sex vs gender Sex biological distinction based on roles in the process of biological reproduction Gender social distinction bw roles and expectations linked to sex 4 Universal programs vs meanstested programs Universal programs everyone gets the benefit regardless of income Ex public education Medicare Means Tested programs a person only gets benefits if they fall below some level of income Ex Food stamps C Themes arguments issues he sure to understand each of the following issues I Arguments in favor of inequality An argument that focuses on practical consequences rather than social justice as such39 Inequality makes the society work better Thesis 1 Inequality 9 incentives 9 people work harder 9 prosperity 9 ultimately benefits the poor Thesis 2 Greater inequality 9 greater incentives 9 greater prosperity 9 greater benefits for the poor trickle down Thesis 3 Reducing inequality 9 reduces incentives 9 harms the poor 2 Pragmatic arguments against inequality Thesis 1 High Inequality resentment and conflict erodes community and cooperation lowers productivity reduces prosperity Thesis 2 High inequality concentrations of wealth concentrations of power erodes democracy Thesis 3 High inequality harms almost everyone even the relatively affluent 3 Three approaches to the concept of class a Individual attributes and material conditions of life Class clusters of individual attributes connected to unequal material conditions some attributes you are born with you cant change sex race etc some you can change education b Opportunity hoarding Class economically unequal social positions protected by processes of social exclusion credentials property rights Class is determined by the jobs and positions people hold not individual characteristics People may be restricted from job by property rights education c Exploitation and domination Class economically unequal social positions bound together through relations of exploitation and domination 4 Social structural causes explanations for poverty a Marginalization Exclusion from labor markets 9 the process of being excluded from stable participation in the labor force Simple observation lack of adequate employment for people with low skills or with outmoded skills This is NOT just a problem of inadequate skill formation It is equally a problem of inadequate job creation b Inequality processes within labor markets i Two possible ways of organizing the process of connecting wages to jobs 1 Individualized competition workers compete with each other to get the best jobs and employers raise and lower wages 2 Labor market governed by rules which dampen competition ex IIinimum wage unions ii Why does intensification of competitiveness deregulation lead to increasing inequality 1 Generates winners and losers overtime that generates inequality c Processes which generate inequality in wealth i Difficult for average person to accumulate much wealth through savings V Explanations for inequalities within labor markets Answer is in the above question 0 Rules that dampen competition in labor markets Minimum wages unions gt1 Welfare for people with advantages and privileges a Students tuition subsidies b Homeowners mortgage deduction 48 of mortgage subsidies go top 20 of income distribution Mortgage subsidy is more than 4 times the spending on public housing for the poor c Farm subsidies around 30 billion a year 80 goes to corporate agriculture NOT family farmers d Corporations Corporate welfare 75 Billionyear so Examples of corporate welfare a The Energy Department39s Energy Supply Research and Development Program 27 billion a year aims to develop new energy technologies and improve on existing technologies b Commerce Department39s Advanced Technology Program 200 million a year gives research grants to consortiums of some of the nation39s largest hightech companies c The ExportImport Bank 700 million a year provides subsidized financing to foreign purchasers of US goods d Overseas Private Investment Corporation 70 million a year provides direct loans guaranteed loans and political risk insurance to US firms that invest in developing countries 9 Solutions to poverty discussed in the book a Partially decouple standards of living from market earnings by increasing the social wage Universal health care good public day care public libraries and swimming pools etc Government takes on spending for some standard of living people don t pay b Partially decouple paid employment from capitalist market public sector jobs 0 Partially decouple income from earnings asset development accounts when people save from their earnings if they qualify the government will match their savings Enables poor people to accumulate wealth even if they can only save a little Basic income grants 10 Unconditional basic income Provides for a decent no frills standard of living above the poverty line with no restrictions or work requirements 11 The harms of Racism on the majority group a b Race reduces social solidarity and weakens social movements for all oppressed groups divide and conquer Racism weakens support for universal programs 12 Different forms of racism in American history a b 0 P F Genocide A systematic policy to exterminate a particular category of persons because of their race religion ethnicity or some other characteristic Slavery A system of social relations in which one person is the private person of another and can be bought and sold on a market Second class citizenship A system of giving different categories of people different citizenship rights on the basis of some attributes Semi free labor A system for including noncitizens in a labor market without giving them the rights an protections of citizenship Discrimination A form of racism in which persons are accorded full citizenship rights but in various ways they face systematic private discrimination in various contexts 13 Ways in which racial inequality has declined Dismantling of the machinery of legal racial segregation and oppression and erosion of cultural supports for racism Progress is real African American ads on TV acceptability of interracial marriage emergence of vibrant black middle class positive images are common political visibility 14 Ways in which trends in declining racial inequality have stagnated Stagnation of advances household poverty poverty wages unemployment lack of wealth 15 Explanations for high incarceration of AfricanAmericans statistical discrimination Statistical discrim ination A situation in which an employer makes a hiring decision about an individual on the basis of beliefs about the average characteristics of a social categom rather than the characteristics of the specific individual Criminal justice system intensifies discrimination in society at large massive increase in incarceration of blacks 16 Explanations for decline of gender inequality in past half century While women have tried throughout history to increase their autonomy and reduce their subordination they could only succeed in doing this on a large scale once social conditions had changed in ways that made existing gender power relations fragile Decline in a coherent interest among men to defend male domination Erosion of institutional system of female domesticity which eroded women s interest in traditional gender relations iii Increase in capacity for challenge by women 17 Explanations for gender pay gap a b C Differences in pay from gendered jobs Stereotypical women s jobs pay less on average Discrimination women in the same job in the same industry often receive less pay Discrimination alters incentives who should drop out of the labor market at childbirth If her expected earnings are lower perhaps the woman If so this would exacerbate the pay gap but in a way not easily detected as discrimination 18 The crisis of female domesticity a b c d e Stable marriagepersonal relations fostered domesticity blocked work opportunities increased the attractiveness of domesticity A family wage made domesticity economically feasible dense social networks supported domesticity neighbors churches communities etc cultural norms and sexism reinforced identities and expectations 19 Policies that would encourage more gender equality a Pay equity not just equal pay for identical work but equal pay for comparable work 7 jobs with similar skill sets would be paid the same b Egalitarian parental leave c High quality publicly provided childcare D Facts to pay attention to any graphs or tables in the powerpoint slides including those in the powerpoint slides but not in the book
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