Politics & Economy Seth Allen Intro. to Sociology
Chapter Outline• Politics, Power and Authority• Political Systems in Global Perspective• Perspectives on Power and Political Systems• The U.S. Political System• Economic Systems in Global Perspective• Work in the Contemporary United States• Politics and the Economy in the Future
Politics, Power and Authority• Politics is the social institution through which power is acquired and exercised by some people and groups.• Government is the formal organization that has the legal and political authority to regulate relationships among members of a society and between the society and those outside its borders.
Examples of Types of authorityQueen Elizabeth 11, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Franklin D. Roosevelt exemplify theideal types of Weber’s typology of authority. Which one is which? Is it possible for aleader to posses elements of all three ‘types?
Political Systems in Global Perspective• Political institutions emerged when agrarian societies acquired surpluses and developed social inequality.• When cities developed, the city-state became the center of political power.• Nation-states emerged as countries acquired the ability to defend their borders.
Nation-states• Approximately 190 nation-states currently exist throughout the world.• Today, everyone is born, lives, and dies under the auspices of a nation-state.• Four types of political systems are found in nation-states: monarchy, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, and democracy.
Types of Political Systems• Monarchy - A political system in which power resides in one person or family and is passed from generation to generation through lines of inheritance.• Authoritarianism - A political system controlled by rulers who deny popular participation in government.
Types of Political Systems• Totalitarianism - A political system in which the state seeks to regulate all aspects of peoples public and private lives.• Democracy - A political system in which the people hold the ruling power either directly or through elected representatives.
Purpose of a Political Party • Develop and articulate policy positions. • Educate voters about issues and simplify the choices for them. • Recruit candidates, help them win office, hold them responsible for implementing the party’s positions.
Voter Apathy• 10% of the voting-age population participates at a level higher than voting.• Over the past 40 years, less than half the voting-age population has voted in nonpresidential elections.• In many other Western nations, the average turnout is 80 to 90% of all eligible voters.
Functionalist PerspectivesThe functions of government: – maintain law and order – plan and direct society – meet social needs – handle international relationsPluralism, the shared power of many groups, prevents one group from overpowering another.
Pluralism explained• A bill is sponsored in the House to increase worker’s compensation benefits for those injured on the job. It is supported by the AFL-CIO, the Episcopal Church, and the American Bar Association. Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Small Business Association, and Citizens United. In the end, a majority of the Congress and the Senate votes for increasing benefits and the President signs the bill into law. FOR: AGAINST:
Conflict Perspectives: Elite Models• Power in political systems is in the hands of a small group of elites and the masses are relatively powerless.• Decisions are made by the elites, who agree on the basic values and goals of society.• The needs and concerns of the masses are not often given full consideration by the elite.
The Iron Triangle of Power Joe Feagin, a noted conflict theorist suggested an iron triange of power. C. Wright Mills suggested a that U.S. was in a perpetual war economy and that the economy was dominated by the ‘military-industrial complex’
The Economy• The social institution that ensures the maintenance of society through the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.• Goods are objects that are necessary or desired.• Services are activities for which people are willing to pay.
Capitalism, Mixed Economies, and Socialism: A Continuum Socialism Mixed Capitalism• Centralized decision Economies • Profit, not equality, is making the primary goal • Mix of privately owned• Publicly owned ‘means businesses and gov’t • Privately owned of production’ owned industries means of production• Collective goals, • Democratic • No gov’t intervention collective decision in economy • Some income re- making distribution• Income redistribution Examples: South Korea, • Heavy gov’t subsidies• No private industry and intervention in the Taiwan, US prior toExamples: Cuba, North economy the 1930’s Korea, USSR Examples: Contemporary USA, UK, Western Europe
PRIMARY SECTOR OF PRODUCTIONIN EACH ECONOMIC SYSTEM Industrial Societies Production of goods (Secondary) Post-Industrial Societies Production Pre-Industrial Knowledge/ Societies Information/Extraction of Natural ServicesResources (Primary) (Tertiary)
Composition of U.S. Workforce, 2011 Taken from Bureau of Labor Statistics Site Characteristics of Professions: Abstract, specialized knowledge, Professional autonomy, self- 37.6% regulation, authority over others, altruism Sales & Office 23.6% All non-professionals are grouped into occupations, which Service perform similar activities 17.7% in different settings
Labor Market(s) in the U.S. Primary Labor Market Good-paying, stable jobs, mostly (Upper Tier) professions, possibility for advancement Lower-tier jobs Mostly service-oriented, less stable, more likely to be dead-end, Marginal Jobs Not governed by labor laws, heavily segregated by race/gender/nationality Underground Economy Undocumented workers, illegal goods & services
CONSOLIDATION OFCORPORATIONS By 2011, the 5 largest banks in the U.S. owned $16 trillion of assets, half of all assets in the U.S. economy!
Types of Unemployment• Cyclical - result of lower rates of production during recessions.• Seasonal - result of shifts in the demand for workers based on holidays.• Structural - skills needed by employers do not match skills of unemployed.
MEDIAN LENGTH OF UNEMPLOYMENT1967-2012In 2012, the media length of unemployment was 20 weeks.
Labor Unions and Strikes• In recent years, strike activity has diminished as workers fear losing their jobs.• In 2008 only 15 strikes involving more than 1,000 workers were reported.• Number of workers involved in the actions declined from more than 2.5 million in 1971 to 72,000 in 2008.
Conflict/Marxist View of Recent Economic CrisisLink
U.S. Economy in the Future: Summary The increase in wages of primary sector occupations, decreasing wages and opportunities in the secondary sector Increasingly globalized economy in which recessions in one nation affect another Greater reliance on temporary workers, short- term employment Increase in service sector employment McDonaldization of Economy (see p. 154 of Kendall text)
MCDONALDIZATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN POST-INDUSTRIAL U.S.College Inc Documentary8:40-10:46