The realm of social theory is not an easy one to tackle, as it requires one to have significant knowledge of ideas of the past, and the events that helped shape the circumstances that these historical ideas were developed in. For example, when studying contemporary social systems, one must have an understanding of not only Karl Marx's ideas, but the circumstances of his time as they would have shaped his thoughts in some way. Studying social theory is a multi-disciplinary endeavor that encompasses philosophy, politics, economics, and especially sociology, and knowledge of all of these fields of important to fully understand how social theory operates and affects our lives. (Smith, 1998: vii). Two prominent social theorists whose work has contemporary relevance are Karl Marx and Max Weber.
[...] (1998). Marx: Society as Second Nature. In Smith, M. G. (ed.). Early Modern Social Theory Selected Interpretive Readings. Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars' Press Inc. Heilbroner, R. (1992). Twenty-First Century Capatalism. Toronto, ON: House of Anansi Press. Hertzberg, H. (2008). LIKE, SOCIALISM :Comment. The New Yorker, November, 84(35) Retrieved November from Research Library database. Niehans, J. (1990). A History of Economic Theory Classic Contributions 1720 1980. Baltimore, ML: The John Hopkins University Press. Parsons, T. (1947). Weber's ‘Economic Sociology'. In [...]
[...] In this essay we compared the thought of these two significant theorists by examining how they believe capitalism originated, and whether either of them would agree that Obama is indeed a socialist/Marxist. From this it is clear that Marx and Weber arrive at their theories of capitalism in different ways, but when they are applied to contemporary examples, like that of Obama's policies, they can both be used to question whether socialism/Marxism exist in our contemporary society, they result with the answer of a resounding no. Bibliography Frisby, D. & Sayer, D. [...]
[...] Marx traces the origins of capitalism back to human nature; from the time when we begin to produce subsistence. What we are has a direct relation to what we produce. It is this need for subsistence that has caused humans to seek material security, even when faced with adverse natural and social conditions. Humans began, many tens of thousands of years ago, under the conditions of what he calls primitive socialism. (Niehans, 1990). Life was insecure because there was no way for people to accumulate social surplus. [...]
[...] Marx was a philosopher of German descent, and he sought to explain capitalism by scientifically by showing how it naturally supersedes itself. He was in staunch opposition to capitalism and advocated socialism, and in an even more pure form, communism. He thought that history could be explained in terms of fundamental laws of economic progression, and that these laws ultimately fashioned the material conditions of society. It is said by some that Marx took on an economic determinism, meaning he attributed primacy to the economic structure over politics in the development of human history, in his method of history and social causation. [...]
[...] Now that we understand what Marx and Weber believe to be the origins and essence of capitalism, we can respond to the question of whether Barack Obama's policies, those that he espoused during the 2008 presidential election campaign in the United States are indeed Marxist or Socialist. The reality is, and this is one that Marx and Weber would almost certainly agree with if they were still alive, is that socialism in the United States in long dead, and Obama is a long-way from sharing these ideals, and he has absolutely no intention of implementing them. [...]
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