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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

how does the family ensure social order and continuity in the society
Hazel Reply
can someone please explain more about sociology theory..
Srijana Reply
Sociological theory according to Robert K. Merton (1967) refers to logically interconnected sets of propositions from which empirical uniformities can be derived
Ameh
what is culture?
mohammad Reply
way of living
Sultan
culture is the way people live their life's....
Noah
The beliefs, values, behaviour and material objects that constitute a people's way of life.
young
culture is the sum total of knowledge , attitudes and habitual behavioural pattern shares and transmitted by members of the society.
AHUMBE
What is sociological imagination
Abubakarr Reply
what are the agent of socialization?
AHUMBE Reply
why is sociology important as a student of Hospitality and Tourism?
Oluwabukola Reply
hlo
Samir
hi
Muluken
sociology is very important becaus , it set students to career advancement , .it also enrich the development in the society . It also educates students to know what is unknown to them but supposed to be known , like histories,
AHUMBE
★ Define family and marriage and identify their different historical types.
Abir Reply
family is a group of people who share or have common kin connection. Marriage is when two people share kin connection and have a sexual approved union between them.
Stanford
Family group of people that are by all means related by blood from two sources and they also have many things in common life face resemblance and manny more.... Marriage is simply a connection between two people of different genthers with the soul aim of building a family in a life time
Dura
what is sociology
Sonia Reply
sociology is a social science and also a mirror through which human beings look into the societies. In addition it's a study of the society.
Ameh
Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior.
young
sociology is the systematiç study of human society, social behavior, human interaction, and human group.
AHUMBE
explain the positive deviance promoting growth and development in (a)socialization (b)social group pressure and coercion
Precious Reply
What is condition in india retative to socialize.
Pintu Reply
any benefit reading of sociology
Waseem Reply
yes! there's a lot of benefits
Ameh
because it's the scientific study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture of everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and chang
Ameh
....e or social evolution
Ameh
hello
Tilahun
what are the specific characteristics contributes to the inequality that is inherent in capitalism as an economic and social action? according to Karl Marx
Mokgohlwe Reply
the five basic social institution
GRACE Reply
The five social institutions are: 1. Family, 2.political 3.Religious. 4. economic. 5.Education
AHUMBE
French Revolution review of literature topic
Nadeem Reply
discuss it is singfinct by giving example from Pakistan socitey?
manan
ans baijo
manan
what is social satisfaction
Calistas Reply

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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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