An Age of Limits: Social Theory for the 21st Century - download pdf or read online

By R. Schroeder

ISBN-10: 0230360610

ISBN-13: 9780230360617

ISBN-10: 1137314621

ISBN-13: 9781137314628

ISBN-10: 1942022042

ISBN-13: 9781942022046

An Age of Limits outlines a brand new social thought for figuring out modern society. delivering an research of why political, fiscal and cultural powers face constraints around the international North and past, this daring e-book argues that forces which tackle present demanding situations needs to confront the bounds of the interaction among dominant institutions.

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The two nowadays overlap inasmuch as the need to pursue economic growth is common to both; for re-election in the case of political elites and to obtain higher returns in the case of economic elites. Both serve to uphold a hierarchy in society, and arguments about the permeability or otherwise of this hierarchy are bound to continue: in any event, the social background of political elites is skewed, and the concentration of wealth and income among the economic elite (the top 1 per cent or 10 per cent) is now persistent and/or growing – as we shall see.

The exception would be if, as Mann argues (2013), economic elites, especially in the US, pursue primacy over political elites, outflanking them transnationally. Yet there is also a contradiction here (which Mann points to, but does not make explicit): if the aim of economic elites to concentrate wealth and income is achieved, then a healthy base of mass of consumption will be lacking. Yet concentrated – as opposed to broadly based – prosperity threatens long-term economic growth. On the argument made earlier, free markets do not allow the economic elite (or as Mann calls it, the capitalist class) to shape the economy towards a sufficient dispersal of wealth and income for broad-based mass From the Birth of the Modern World to the Age of Limits 39 consumption – as opposed to the political elite, which could try to shape markets towards this end.

Diffused power,’ he says, ‘spreads in a more spontaneous, unconscious, decentered way throughout a population, resulting in similar social practices that embody power relations but are not explicitly commanded. It typically comprises, not command or obedience, but an understanding that these practices are natural or moral or result from self-evident common interest’ (1986: 8). I agree that this applies to markets. In contrast, ‘authoritative power is actually willed by groups and institutions.

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An Age of Limits: Social Theory for the 21st Century by R. Schroeder


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