Chapter 17

Social conflict (power elite) best describes the US political institution. According to conflict theory, the continual class struggle that exists in society as a result of unequal resource distribution is the primary focus of study. By highlighting the causes and consequences of the class struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat, Karl Marx is credited with advancing this theory in the nineteenth century. As a result of the injustices faced by populations living inside unequal class structures, there is continual conflict throughout society. Thus, there is a constant conflict between the bourgeoisie class, which dominates the economy at its highest levels, and the working class or proletariat class. Consequently, according to conflict theory, the uneven distribution of resources is maintained by intellectual coercion, in which the bourgeoisie coerces the proletariat into accepting the current situation. As a result, conflict theory is largely concerned with this battle between classes. Specifically, it explains how resource scarcity causes class differences in a society, and how this separation is sustained by control and force rather than consensus and compliance, rather than consensus and compliance. In order to retain their positions of wealth and power, according to conflict theory, persons in positions of wealth and power resort to whatever measures required, most notably oppressing the poor and weak. This is the way the US society functions. For example, the education and health systems in the US point to the differences between social classes, with better systems for the upper social classes leading to social stratification.

Chapter 18

The US government intervenes to offer some direct benefits. For example, the regulation of the interest rate through adjustment of the costs of borrowing money directly means that I pay lower interest rates to all forms of borrowing. More directly, I can benefit through government intervention to offer free education. Additionally, strategic planning on infrastructure means that I have better access to necessities such as internet, better connectivity, and other vital elements that intervention enables.

From the video, the state of the establishment, the management, and a lack of fire preparedness can be said to have aggravated the Triangle Fire. The lack of a no-smoking policy inside the company allowed a company worker to smoke without regard to the dangers therein. The management is responsible for having a locked-door policy without regard for emergencies. Lack of fire preparedness also meant that there was chaos during the fire. Some of the consequences for work and labor as a result of the tragedy is that factories need to have evacuation plans, adequate fire plans, and sprinkler systems. The resultant effects were shorter work hours, unionization, safety reforms, and legislation that improved the lives of workers.

In my opinion, this tragedy is a lesson on poor social policies. The fact that the matter dragged for that long is a testament to the plight of the weak and poor in the society. Had the same happened to upper social class members, the response would have been quicker. Social conflict looks at such matters that relate to resource distribution.

Peer Response

I see your reasoning on structural functionalism as the best perspective describing the US political institutions to be elaborate. However, the description on white people not going to jail for criminal acts is a bit overstretched. While there are institutional racism citations, the functions within the nation are stable and based on precedence. That said, your personal description of the Triangle fire is eye opening and a point of reference in the future. The incident, indeed, led to effective legislations that have defined worker protection today and the role of unions.

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