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The Economy, Politics, and Government

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Suzanne Casimiro

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SOC100 nd November 2 The Economy, Politics & Government social institution: a major sphere of social life, or societal subsystem, organized to meet human needs The Economy: Historical Overview - the social institution that organizes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services - goods are commodities ranging from necessities to luxury items - services are activities that benefit others - the distribution of goods and services shapes the lives of everyone in basic ways - modern economies are the result of centuries of social change Agricultural Revolution - hunters/gathers had technologically simple societies with no distinct economy - agricultural revolution began about 5000 years ago with new technology that brought: o job specialization o permanent settlements o trade Industrial Revolution - began in mid 1700s, first in England and then in North America - industrialization changed the economy in 5 fundamental ways: o new sources of energy o centralization of work in factories o manufacturing and mass production o specialization o wage labour Information Revolution and Post-Industrial Society - a productive system based on service work and information technology - this revolution began in 1950s and changed the character of work: o from tangible products to ideas o from mechanical skills to literacy skills o from factories to almost anywhere Sectors of the Economy - primary: part of the economy that draws raw materials from the natural environment - secondary: part of the economy that transforms raw materials into manufactured goods - tertiary: part of the economy that involves services rather than goods The Global Economy - expands economic activity that crosses national borders - consequences: o global division of labour o products pass through several nations o national governments have less control o small number of businesses control a vast share of the market  multinational corporations – ex. GM o concerns about the rights and opportunities of workers are raised Economic Systems: Paths to Justice - economic systems make a statement about justice, who is entitled to what - two general economic models are capitalism and socialism - they represent two ends of a continuum along which all real-world economies can be located Capitalism - an economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods and services are privately owned o private ownership of property o pursuit of personal profit o
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