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Sociological Perspectives on Economy

Sociological Perspectives on Economy

Capitalism and Socialism

Capitalism and socialism are terms used to describe the economic concepts used to manage financial resources to achieve a given objective. Capitalism is based on individual inputs and initiatives to participate in economic activities in an open market with minimal government intervention. Under a capitalistic financial arrangement, the government has little influence on what to produce, how it is made, and when, with the input cost left to the market forces of supply and demand (Griffiths et al.). The entrepreneurs can spot opportunities in their respective marketplaces and tap into them to make profits. Socialism is an economic concept where the government plays a leading role in influencing the financial decisions of individuals. The government controls resources through planning and limits the private escorts’ control of the primary financial inputs.

Capitalist society can be socialistic by allowing the state to control the significant inputs that, if held by a few private investors, may risk creating monopolies. To cushion the public from the exploitation of a few capitalists in the private sector, the government opts to regulate some resources, thus making it possible for a capitalistic society to be socialistic. A socialistic society can also be capitalistic by allowing the market forces to determine people’s decisions, such that individuals make decisions based on the prevailing market conditions. For instance, by spotting a shortage of an essential service like healthcare, few investors may opt to open healthcare facilities to offer vital services to the deserving public, thus leading to a mix of capitalistic and socialistic society (Griffiths et al.).

Convergence Theory postulates that all societies industrializing tend to have similarities in societal and technological developments. The concept supports the assertion of having a capitalistic society with socialistic traits or a socialistic society with capitalistic attributes, as the government tends to control essential resources used in production during industrialization. For instance, governments may manage the primary inputs in crucial economic sectors like agriculture and health, thus ensuring a similarity in technology and information in the country in line with the postulations of the convergence theory.

Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Symbiotic Interaction

The three sociological perspectives are instrumental in revealing the importance of showing the link between work and the economy. Functionalism concepts assert that social institutions like churches play an instrumental role in shaping the societal norms that are important in guiding the working ethics of individuals. A given economy’s beliefs and sociocultural features drive people’s behaviours at their respective workplaces. The functionalism approach asserts that societies with far-reaching social changes adversely affect socioeconomic outcomes (Keirns). The conflict theory concept also emphasizes that social inequity breeds negative externalities that hurt the economy. Social injustices like discriminative employment and racial discrimination at the workplace set the foundation for conflict, making it hard for workers to focus on fulfilling their responsibilities. In the long run, the overall economic output decreases.

Functionalism emphasizes the importance of social institutions for social stability and implies that far-reaching social change will be socially harmful. Conflict theory emphasizes social inequality and suggests that far-reaching social change is needed to achieve a just society. Symbiotic interaction theory postulates that individual communication and interactions help create perceptions and implications for correspondence with others (Keirns et al.). The theory explains the bonds individuals can nurture by interacting freely in society. String bonds from interactions help share skills and knowledge that are instrumental in shaping the workers’ economic productivity. Thus, one can accurately assert that the three aforementioned sociological perspectives can explain work and the economy.


Griffiths, H., Keirns, N., Strayer, E., Cody-Rydzewski, S., Scaramuzzo, G., Sadler, T., & Jones, F. Introduction to sociology. OpenStax, 2015.

Keirns, N. Introduction to Sociology OpenStax, 2015.

Keirns, N. J., Strayer, E., Griffiths, H., Cody-Rydzewski, S., Scaramuzzo, G., Sadler, T., & Jones, F. Introduction to Sociology. OpenStax College, Rice University, 2013.


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Sociological Perspectives on Economy

Sociological Perspectives on Economy

This chapter discusses work and the economy as social institutions (macro level of analysis). Let’s discuss the difference between Capitalism and Socialism.
1. Define each of these two terms: capitalism and socialism. Then, describe to the class how parts of a capitalistic society can be socialistic and how aspects of a socialistic society can be capitalistic. Give at least two examples of each type of society and how each can be part of the other. See Chapter 18: Pages 401 – 404 in your book. How does this relate to “Convergence Theory” on pages 404-405 in your book?
2. Please explain work and the economy as social institutions by three sociological perspectives: functionalism, conflict, and symbolic interaction from “Theoretical Perspectives on Work and the Economy” from pages 405-406 from online textbook chapter 18.

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