Essay: Economy? The Most Integral

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¶ … economy? The most integral aspect of the modern economy is capitalism. Capitalism exists in many different forms and is slowly evolving. However, its basic principles remain the same. Those principles include private ownership of the means of production, individualized profit as the chief incentive to work, and a distinct separation from private and public entities in terms of their monetary pursuits (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 386). Additionally, capitalism is also based on the conception of a free market, in which individuals and organizations are free to engage with whomever they please for the sake of profit. Other inherent concerns pertaining to capitalism include the procuring of labor as inexpensively as possible, as well as that for materials with which to conduct business.

Another important aspect of the modern economy specifically pertains to the way that capitalism has evolved. Whereas once it was manifested as a simple, family owned infrastructure, this business model has increasingly been replaced by corporations. Corporations can be either transnational or national in focus, and have removed the consolidation of their power from individual owners to managers, largely through the means of publicly owned stock (Pfaff, 2006). Thus, the managers who actually operate corporations have a great deal of power, while this trend is inexorably being replaced by institutional capitalism in which individuals who represent a variety of firms come together as boards of director to regulate various economic aspects of a certain market or location (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 388).

2. How do rural, suburban, and urban lives differ in the United States? The lives that people lead in rural, urban, and suburban areas are drastically different from one another. Urban settings primary revolve around their means as a hub of different industries and organizations; people live distinctly different lives in these environments than in rural settings. At America's outset, the majority of people lived in rural settings. However, life in these settings today is probably less beneficial than in suburbs and urban areas. There are high incidences of poverty, and childhood poverty in particular (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 440), in rural settings. These areas have the least amount of people in them, many of whom may lead lives based around agriculture. Those who still participate in this labor intensive, economically tenuous profession, often have harsh lives with limited healthcare and educational opportunities.

Life in urban centers is typically crowded and contains a greater percentage of minorities than is found in suburbs. The general migration in American life started from rural areas, to cities, to suburban areas. The move to suburban areas largely occurred following World War II. Life in suburbs is characterized by low minority ratios (which also applies to rural areas), and a general level of affluence that exceeds that of cities and their well-known urban blight (Babcock, 2008, p. 3). The migration of residents also includes that of organizations and industries, many of which have moved outside of cities into suburban areas. People in these areas have better schools, housing (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 441) and generally higher standards of living than those in cities. In urban areas, residents endure more crime and pollution than in the other two areas.

3. How does urbanization affect life across the globe? Urbanization affects life across the globe in many different ways. It accounts for surging economies -- to a certain extent. Many transnational countries find it economically beneficial (due to low wages and potential tax breaks) to conduct business in parts of the globe where urbanization is occurring within developing countries. This tendency has the effect of producing some massively wealthy individuals in these locations, while also creating a secondary form of citizen that largely exists to clean and engage in menial tasks to serve the wealthy. From an economic perspective, these cities oftentimes become loci of copious quantities of poverty, since people come there seeking jobs without the necessary skills to keep themselves economically stabile and become marginalized as a result (Lee and Vivarelli, 2006). Urbanization also manifests itself in impoverished conditions such as insufficient healthcare and housing; there are many cities in which planners are systematically taking measures to reduce homelessness and deter poor people from gathering in places.

There are also several environmental issues directly relating to urbanization across the globe. For instance, poor sanitation and ineffective housing can contribute to economic problems that only become exacerbated by pollution (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 448). In many cities in traditionally underdeveloped areas, the proper infrastructure to account for rapid development is not in place, which largely manifests itself in conditions in which there are areas of affluence next to those of poverty -- which can erode once robust environments. In addition to economic and environmental concerns, there are also social ones in which there is frequently insufficient educational opportunities which may result in higher areas of crime.

4. What are the forces behind world population growth? Some of the forces behind world population growth include urbanization within the framework of globalization. In developing nations, individuals have less access and awareness regarding birth control, and tend to have larger families. This fact is intrinsically related to the influx of people from rural areas to newly developing urban areas (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 447). Such people tend to adhere to traditional views that large families are signs of wealth and prosperity. Also, in some of these developing regions, birth control is viewed as negative and something which is scorned by important social organizers including the Catholic Church (Allen, 1998, p. 49).

Still, the principle forces pertaining to the world's population growth have to do with fertility rates and the length of time which people are living. In both developing and developed nations, the latter is substantially increasing. Advances in science, technology, and medical applications are allowing for people to live longer than ever before. Therefore, while developing nations are contributing to the global population by continuing to have high rates of fertility, developed countries contribute to this phenomenon by having relatively stable birth rates and longer life expectancies -- which contributes to more people on the planet.

5. How does globalization affect social change? It order to successfully discern the ways in which globalization affects social change, it is first necessary to define the latter term. The term social change is readily used to denote "the transformation over time of the institutions and culture of a society" (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 468). Globalization then, affects social change in a number of ways, many of which are related to technology and to physical distance. Technological advancements have resulted in increasing methods of transportation, which now makes it possible for individuals in respective locations to interact with one another and absorb varying cultural facets -- which inherently leads to social change. This same effect is only achieved throughout purely technological advances in communication. Devices such as mobile phones and the internet (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 471) now make it possible for individuals to communication cultural mores with one another a lot more speedily than before. The result is that this means of globalization is also used to transmit various aspects of social change.

Economic and political power also has a pronounced effect on globalization and the social change it produces. With global economies and politics no longer limited to specific territories, these primary means of transmitting methods of social control (through money and politics) can affect people in far off places to produce social change (Giddens et al., 2012, p. 470). Other key ways in which economic factors of globalization pertain to social change have to do with the industrialization and development of traditionally third-world countries. The influx of money to those regions, and to the development of an urban infrastructure to help support it, results in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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