It is widely accepted that most of the developed countries in the world today are capitalist' economies. Capitalism in economic terms is a free market system, involving little government intervention (a laissez-faire approach). Capitalism involves investment in the means of production (capital) with the aim of creating profits. The essence of capitalist exchange is to proceed from money to money by way of commodity and end up with more money than one had outset. (Aron as quoted in Haralambos and Holborn,1995, p34). In a capitalist society, the means of production, i.e. land and capital (tools, materials), are privately owned by one social group. The third factor of production, labor, is provided by another social group. The nature of the relationship between the two classes is the essence of the sociological study of capitalism. In our minds, capitalism is inextricably linked with mechanized mass production and huge corporations. Capitalism is in many people's eyes embodied by modern corporations such as McDonalds'.
[...] It is often not realized that Karl Marx was not against industrialization, but was opposed to the theory of capitalism and its effect on humanity. He recognized the potential benefits of industrialization, namely that improved technology increases the potential for creativity and diversity of work. The central focus of Marx's work on capitalism was the idea of ‘social conflict'. Inequality, was, in Marx's eyes the evil of society and capitalism was only ever going to increase this evil, by increasing the gap between different social classes. [...]
[...] enormously powerful device for harnessing and maximizing the creative potential of human labor: by dividing work immensely more can be produced than if all the members of a group pursue the same task. However such division can- invariably does- lead to separation of human beings into different categories with some having power over others.” (Cuff et al p17). Thus, division of labor not only creates a division between those who do the physical labor and those who do not, it also, by consigning individuals to repetitive tasks that create no finished product, removes their right to creative fulfillment through work. [...]
[...] The two men use very different sociological study techniques, Marx based on the theory that work is the human essence and Weber based on the study of individuals actions within capitalism. The two present their thoughts in very different ways, Weber as a purely factual statement and Marx as a political battle cry. However, both men agree on many aspects of the phenomenon of industrial capitalism and the two theorists complement each other on many issues. The differences between the theories are inevitable considering changing perceptions over [...]
[...] This was ideal for the development of huge organizations during the industrial revolution and on into the public sector organizations of the early twentieth century. Bureaucracy is still clearly evident in today's business environment. However, bureaucracy has been heavily criticized by many other sociologists, notably Merton. He argued that bureaucratic rules were ‘dysfunctional' and that, instead of increasing efficiency, they could dramatically slow down the decision making process and prevent the firm achieving its goals. Merton also believed that bureaucrats may become so obsessed with the rules that they focus more on adhering to the rules than on achieving their overall goals. [...]
[...] As I mentioned, Weber believed that rational action was the predominate form of action in modern, capitalist, societies and he referred sometimes to capitalism as the ‘process of rationalization'. When looking at society as a whole, and when studying industrial capitalism, Weber looked at various ‘power groups' within a society, who belonged to them and how they functioned. These groups are formed out of inequality in society. The first category is ‘class'. There can of course be as many, or as few, social classes as one desires, depending purely on the boundaries set. [...]
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