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  • Understand types of economic systems and their historical development
  • Describe capitalism and socialism both in theory and in practice
  • Discussion how functionalists, conflict theorists, and symbolic interactionists view the economy and work
This figure consists of two images. The photo on the right is of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, one of the founders of Russian communism. The image on the right is a photo of J.P. Morgan, one of the most influential capitalists in the United States In figure (b), a photograph of J.P. Morgan is shown.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was one of the founders of Russian communism. J.P. Morgan was one of the most influential capitalists in history. They have very different views on how economies should be run. (Photos (a) and (b) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The dominant economic systems of the modern era are capitalism and socialism, and there have been many variations of each system across the globe. Countries have switched systems as their rulers and economic fortunes have changed. For example, Russia has been transitioning to a market-based economy since the fall of communism in that region of the world. Vietnam, where the economy was devastated by the Vietnam War, restructured to a state-run economy in response, and more recently has been moving toward a socialist-style market economy. In the past, other economic systems reflected the societies that formed them. Many of these earlier systems lasted centuries. These changes in economies raise many questions for sociologists. What are these older economic systems? How did they develop? Why did they fade away? What are the similarities and differences between older economic systems and modern ones?

Economics of agricultural, industrial, and postindustrial societies

 This figure consists of two photographs side by side. The image on the left is a vintage photograph of a woman collecting seeds. The photo on the right is of a young boy looking at his laptop.
In an agricultural economy, crops and seeds are the most important commodity. In a postindustrial society, information is the most valuable resource. (Photo (a) courtesy of Edward S. Curtis/Wikimedia Commons. Photo (b) courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns/flickr)

Our earliest ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers. Small groups of extended families roamed from place to place looking for subsistence. They would settle in an area for a brief time when there were abundant resources. They hunted animals for their meat and gathered wild fruits, vegetables, and cereals. They ate what they caught or gathered their goods as soon as possible, because they had no way of preserving or transporting it. Once the resources of an area ran low, the group had to move on, and everything they owned had to travel with them. Food reserves only consisted of what they could carry. Many sociologists contend that hunter-gatherers did not have a true economy, because groups did not typically trade with other groups due to the scarcity of goods.

The agricultural revolution

The first true economies arrived when people started raising crops and domesticating animals. Although there is still a great deal of disagreement among archeologists as to the exact timeline, research indicates that agriculture began independently and at different times in several places around the world. The earliest agriculture was in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East around 11,000–10,000 years ago. Next were the valleys of the Indus, Yangtze, and Yellow rivers in India and China, between 10,000 and 9,000 years ago. The people living in the highlands of New Guinea developed agriculture between 9,000 and 6,000 years ago, while people were farming in Sub-Saharan Africa between 5,000 and 4,000 years ago. Agriculture developed later in the western hemisphere, arising in what would become the eastern United States, central Mexico, and northern South America between 5,000 and 3,000 years ago (Diamond 2003).

Questions & Answers

what are the major causes of social stratification?
Sydney Reply
compare simple and complex educational system
Kajal Reply
what are the types of social stratification?
UFUOMA Reply
stratification types are deferent from society to society some societies stratified people according to wealth according to caste system and some societies stratified there people according to profession
Ismail
which scholar is best in sociology , and his contribution in the development of sociology.
yaqin
Durkheim
sani
what is sociology of education
Joe Reply
sociology of education mean how public institution and individual experience effect the education and its outcome. it is mostly concerned with public education and scholing system in industrial society
Ahsan
what is psycology educational?
Jamila
if a lady is all decked up standing on a lonely street at night what will be the sociologist point of view
kg Reply
according to my opinion she never dresses up even when she goes to the opera
Lone
who is founding fathers of sociology
USMAN Reply
Augusto Comte
kenny
Waliyudeen abu zaid Abdurrahman Bin Khalidun(1332-1906)
Teslim
August Comete is the father of Sociology
Ajay Reply
why do we study sociology
Chipo Reply
because to understand social life,and to help in overcoming or solves social issues
yaqin
heloo
Tare
What makes Auguste Comte as the chief positivist?
azibator Reply
what is the relationship between social theory too psychology and sociology?
Tammy Reply
what is the relationship between sociology, psychology and social policy
Tammy
in brief what is sociology
Mdu Reply
functioning of human society, fundamental laws for social relation ==l
frd
study of social interaction.
SHITAL
where do sociologist work
ODIASE
what is sociology
Edward
sociology
Edward
what is culture
ummi Reply
The arts,customs and habits that characterize a particular society
Saminu
what is the relationship between sociology, psychology and social theory?
Tammy Reply
both are social sciences
James
all contributed to human being
James
is sociology involved with philosophy?
Laura Reply
hello
frd
hi
idrissa
Hello, what's for the evening?
chali
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Muhammad
hii
Victoria
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Lone
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Victoria
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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