Sociology Debate: A central debate in sociology revolves around whether the power elite or pluralist view is correct. Which do you believe and why? Explain your answer.
The Power Elite view seeks to look at the way the elites rule and influence the running of the American society as a whole in the day-to-day basis. One scholar in sociology, Smith Mark (2009) in his analysis of C. Wrights work, tries to explain the rule of the elite in terms of institution that are formed to ensure the elite has a firm hand on the power controls. He identifies three main institutions that occupy the key positions in the society; major business corporations, the federal government and the military. He says that those in command of the three institutions do and will always have the same values and interest. They coalesce and interconnect to form a single ruling minority.
Among these elites there is a peculiar cooperation and sharing among them. For instance in the manufacture of the arms and ammunitions, the larger the quantities of these armament manufactured the better for the economic and military elites. The government decisions pertaining to the economic issues are always influenced by the economic pressure groups and as a matter of fact those in government top positions are always interested in the major corporations. The interlinking of the three produces the ultimate power elite in the U.S.A. that rules and takes all the national and international decisions.
On the other hand the pluralists view has it that the government is a representative of the various interest groups coming from the society. The model works from the presumption that in democracy, the government strives to balance the various interest groups in the society. It has a background of the functionalist theory that looks at the state as a sober representative of the whole society. Here there .is no group that is seen as politically dominant over the other but looks at power as widely distributed in the society. To this effect, various ethnic, social and racial groups can participate equally in a government that is independent and representative (Margarel L, et.al. 2008).
My personal belief is on the pluralist view, since it gives the equal chance to everybody and all the groups in the U.S. A chance to competitively vie for the various positions in the government. It does not select a few to participate in the governance of the entire nation but encourages the participation of each person. This way, there is equal opportunity granted to each person as well as increasing the possibility of getting the best brains in leadership different than the elite view that secludes some people regardless of the merit.
2. Applied Social Theory: Of the three main social theories (functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism,) which do you think does the best job of explaining social problems? Why? Explain your assertion.
Functional theory or functionalism capitalizes on the fact that every section of the society has an important function and a positive effect to the purpose of the society as a whole. It postulates that the result of the action of each individual when brought together with the other individuals sums up the type of society that results there of.
On the other hand, the conflict theory by Karl Marx views the elites as continually suppressing the poor. The society is engaged in a series of conflicts and disagreements, tension and clashes. The society is characterized by the majority group continuously suppressing the minority in the society.
Ironically, as Don Albrecht et.al (2005) indicates, the as the minority increases in population so shall they suffer more discrimination from the majority. This may perpetuate the cosmic cycle that may never end.
The third theoretical approach is the symbolic interactionism theory which stresses on the micro social world of every individual and the little individual traits that we posses. For instance the gestures, the distance from the other when talking and such like to be making up the social construction at the end of it.
The theory that does the best job in explaining the social problems that we have is the functionalism theory. The problems that are dominant in the society are a culmination of what each individual contributes to the social problem. If we all behave responsibly in the neighborhood, nationally and even internationally, then we shall not have any problems in the society at all.
3. Economic Crisis: The current economic crisis in the United States is affecting a majority of the population. Discuss how the many factors such as layoffs, financial market failures and family stress are affecting you and others.
One of the hardest hit sectors is the small businesses, being that this sector provides for a large percentage of employment fields. Their reluctance to recruit is brought about by fear of further recession. This was widely responsible for the near 9.7% joblessness in U.S. during the recession years and is feared could remain so for the next three years. According to paycheck processing company ADP's monthly small business employment report, small companies employed 106.7 million people in February 2008, down from close to 115 million in 2007 at the start of the major recession. This was coupled by the 84, 000 job loses in the private sector (Justin Lahart, 2010).
This phenomenon will consequently lead to low production; low returns for companies and the low profits will eventually mean the economic status of these small companies will grind downwards.
Summed up, these numerous companies, undergoing economic strain under the hefty taxes, the overall economy of the U.S. will be negatively hit. As a boomerang, it may lead to more people in the "have-nots" group and straining again the health care plan.
The same trend is seen among the financial markets and the bond trades, even the international bonds are generally weakening. The dollar is fast losing its power and hence becoming less admirable among the external investors. This will in turn create a situation where the local production may reduce since no international trades on them will be much fruitful.
There are several effects and one of them being the reduced income per household. This means that there will be financial dependency on other member of the family and more strain financially on the person depended upon.
For instance if the son and mother lose their jobs and have to rely on the father for all the financial support, it will stretch the father to limits as well as forcing the families to sacrifice some leisure that would cost a dollar like picnics.
Due to the recession there is a general reduction in spending which is triggered in two ways. One is due to lack of money; the other is due to panic where everyone would want to keep the little they have so as take care of the uncertain times ahead.
The result of the reduced spending is for people with small businesses like the candy shops, ice cream vendors and other secondary needs will not get the money circulating and the businesses may close down.
4. Ethical Issue Perspective: A bank finds that a certain area within a city contains many "risky" investments and therefore refuses to give loans to people who live and work in the area. Do you feel it is ethical for government to step in and ban such a practice? Why or why not? Explain.
Banks being financial institutions which also make a living from the trade they invest in, must at all time do a fiscal analysis of the area they are about to invest in. one of the most significant issues for the bank is the risk factor and would not want to give its money to a population that would not promise profit but rather has high possibility of disappearing.
It would not be ethical for the government to come in and ban the bank from denying the loans to the people they consider "risky" since it is the willing buyer, willing seller situation. Incase the bank deems the area risky and genuinely it is proven risky, then the government comes to push the bank into giving them loans, there is a high possibility that the population may abuse this directive and exploit the bank.
This defaulting will ultimately pass on to the banks insurance and have a ripple effect of one or both the institution going out of business.
5. The Economy and Society: Few things are more stressful than financial hardship, unemployment, and foreclosure of one's home. The financial crisis in the U.S. that began (or became painfully well-known) in 2008 has had devastating effects on many people. Who do you think was responsible for the recession and the "crash" of Wall Street? Which segments of the population do you think suffered most? How have you, or those you know been affected?
The recession in the U.S.A. affected the entire world and was one of the biggest recessions since the 1930s where the recession…