Textbook Notes (368,432)
Canada (161,877)
Sociology (1,053)
SOCA02H3 (310)


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Sheldon Ungar

Box 13.2: Sociology at the Movies: The Corporation (documentary) :  Indian farmers cultivating neem trees w/ medicinal properties for generations  American Chemical corporation patented a fungicide derived from neem tree  Life form of 100 generations became private property of a multinational corporation  Corporate ownership has a big advantage over indiv ownership o Is why it grew so fast o Govt grant corporations right to exist but as corporations have grown  exercise more and more influence over governments o Corporations taxed at a substantially lower rate than individuals  Documentary argues that if corporations were people, they’d be labelled psychopaths o Incapable of maintaining enduring relationships o Disregard for feelings and safety of others o Fail to conform to social norms and behave lawfully  Such corporate behaviour is routine  Green party succeeded in having patent for the need fungicide revoked o 1 time anyone succeeded in having a patent rejected on grounds of biopiracy (corporate theft of traditional agricultural and medical knowledge) Communism:  Communism is an “ideal”  Communism is the name Karl Marx gave to the classless society bound to develop out of capitalism  Socialism = transitional phase between capitalism and communism  No country is communist in the pure sense of the term  Dozen countries consider themselves socialist  Communism = 2 distinct features o 1. Public ownership of property  the state owns almost all the means of producing goods and services  Private corporations do not exist  Aim of public ownership = all indivs have equal wealth and access to goods and ervices o 2. Government planning  five year state plans establish production quotas, prices, and other economic activity  A high level of control requires to implement rigid state plans  Until recently, Centreal and Eastern Europe were single party socialist societies  Most powerful = Soviet Union  Started introducing capitalism and holding multi-party elections in the late 1980s and early 1990s  Collapse of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe due to many reasons: o Citizens enjoyed few civil rights o Standard of living only half as high as rich industrialized countries of west o Gap between west and east really large o Standard of living fell as soviet union tried to match military goods of states o Communist parties felt they could no longer govern effectively so began to introduce reforms  1990s  some European countries more successful in introducing elements of capitalism and raising standard of living o Czech Republic most successful  Many factors for different success rates o Way diff countries introduced reforms o Russia introduced private property without much competition o Crucial element lacking was competition  Few giant corporations control nearly every part of Russian economy o agree among themselves to set prices at levels that are most profitable for them o so big and rich they have enormous influence over government o when few corporations are so bigthey can behave in this way, they are called oligopolies Democratic Socialism:  Several countries in Northwestern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France)  2 distinct features: o 1. Public ownership of certain basic industries  Government owns certain basic industries entirely or in part  May include telecommunications, electricity, railways, airlines etc  Level of public ownership is not high  Bulk of property privately owned & competition = main motive for business activity
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