Human Society -- Economic Or State Power Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 7 Subject: Sociology Type: Essay Paper: #33793566 Related Topics: Marx Engels, Industrial Hygiene, Industrial Sociology, Karl Marx
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Human Society -- Economic or State Power

Background (State Power and Economic Power) -- The political and sociological aspect of power is the ability for an organization to control its own environment, including the behavior of other entities with which it reacts. Authority is seen as the perception of legitimate power by the social structure of dominant culture. Power can be, of course, seen as good or evil, but the exercise of power is both endemic and necessary for the modern state as we know it. Certainly within the paradigm of political and economic power there are various permutations that surround sources of power, the balance of power, and theories of power (Kuusisto).

Balances of power are necessary within any reciprocal arrangement in order for statecraft to even exist: what are the relative strengths, weaknesses, and dimensions to a stable relationship? Given that power is never innate, and one must have some form of power currency to acquire power, then power must have some connotation and degree of unilateralism in order to even be a perceived tool. This brings to mind the basis for power and how it is held. Power may be held through delegated or forced authority (democratic or autocratic processes), social class or resource currency (material wealth), personal power or charisma (including celebrity and persuasion), moral persuasion (usually left for religion), or group dynamics (social influences, tradition, or culture) (Nolan). Some scholarship summarizes the actual types of power as being either condigin (based on force), compensatory (based on resources), or conditioned (persuasion); and their actual sources of power being personality (individuals), property (material resources), or organizational (the power structure or hierarchical template) (Galbraith).

Theories of Power -- The nature. Power then, needs to be understood as a productive mechanism, not simply as a mechanism of socialization and oppression (Haskins). As societies became more industrial and urban, power structures under capitalism became so complex and endemic that many philosophers argued that power was a continual struggle between the domination of other humans and the domination over one's environment.

As society progressed into advanced capitalism and a century of unbridled hostility, though, the concepts of state and economic power blurred. Power shifts, and continues to shift. Throughout history it shifted from one group (society or culture) to another, and the dominant form of power was continually in flux. During the Industrial Revolution, power shifted from nobility (based more of feudalism and economics) to industrialists and financiers who manipulated power based on fiscal gain. However, violence because less the dominant form of control, and economic the more common. Certainly after the Cold War, and with the advent of globalism and modern technology, this power paradigm continues to shift -- with knowledge becoming the currency of wealth and power structures moving away from the developed nations.

However, at the basis for most discussions on modern power and statecraft, and the question of which is more foundational to human society, economic or state power; two basic approaches typify the issue. The first, by 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, defined power as man's "present means, to obtain some future apparent good" a political view of statecraft argued even today (Hobbes). Second, reacting to the process of industrialization and rampant capitalism, Karl Marx saw power as primarily arising from ownership and control of property, and therefore economic in both tone and timbre:

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. The class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas (Marx)

Hobbes -- Thomas Hobbes often described…

Cite this Document:

"Human Society -- Economic Or State Power" (2011, May 15) Retrieved October 17, 2021, from

"Human Society -- Economic Or State Power" 15 May 2011. Web.17 October. 2021. <>

"Human Society -- Economic Or State Power", 15 May 2011, Accessed.17 October. 2021,

Related Documents
Thomas Hobbes Leviathan
Words: 1735 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 65545293

Hobbes Leviathan Thomas Hobbes thought that all human beings were equal in the state of nature, but all equally greedy, violent, vengeful and brutal. As he argued in Leviathan, this was a universal trait of humanity and that the purpose of contracting to form a state and civil society was basically to keep order. As he put it in his famous formulation in Chapter 13, the state of nature was a

Hobbes Vs. Locke Thomas Hobbes and John
Words: 1054 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 3424023

Hobbes vs. Locke Thomas Hobbes and John Locke each provide intriguing opinions concerning the state of nature, but their thinking differs when considering the form of governing that each promotes as being the most effective. The individuals in Locke's example of a government appear to have greater security than those in Hobbes', as the latter considers that there would be nothing wrong with people renouncing some of their rights in order

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
Words: 351 Length: 1 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 16371796

John Locke, who was a near descendant of Hobbes, differed most strongly in his political opinions and indicated that the 'state of nature' of which Hobbes talked would be preferable to having a sovereign government or absolute ruler and therefore be subjected to the whims and ideas of that person. Locke was not anti-political, but he did not share Hobbes' belief that having one ruler and therefore establishing one set

Thomas Hobbes and Egoism in
Words: 2007 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 9339744

Therefore, the welfare of others cannot be relevant to judging what one ought to do. This is a very interesting argument, but it does not establish its conclusion. Although it may be that every human being has a right to preserve his own life, one would like some evidence in support of this key premise. Even if there is a human right to self-preservation, it does not follow that

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
Words: 364 Length: 1 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 63047107

He favored a large and powerful government able to enforce its will on subjects, in order to control their natural unruliness. Locke, on the other hand thought men in the state of nature were good, but that due to their need to be secure in their property and to protect themselves from outside forces, they banded together to form a state to benefit themselves individually. He favored a limited

Hobbes' Leviathan Thomas Hobbes Is
Words: 2534 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 44245973

The traits of the character are regular male traits from the society of that time. The character does not seem to be someone in particular (such a as a well-known knight or king), but a general representation of authority. And his name is Leviathan. The expression on his face is rather neutral, although the look in his eyes might transmit how heavy ad difficult the burden of authority is. This implies