Society: the Bane of Human Existence? Essay

Society: the Bane of Human Existence? Essay

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Herbert Spencer made many astute assessments of the way societies work. He created theories to explain the way they grow and change and interact with one another. Spencer viewed society as an organism, and he referred to society as a super-organic system. He believed that, in both organic and super-organic systems, evolution was the result of the system becoming more differentiated. He emphasized three developmental tendencies shared by societies and organisms: 1) growth in size, 2) an increase in structure, and 3) an increase in functions. So, the more differentiated a society becomes, the harder it must work to integrate all of its parts. Spencer identified five basic stages of societal evolution: simple headless, simple headed, compound, doubly compound, and trebly compound. Then he said that each of these five stages has a regulatory system, an operative system, and a distributive system. Social control becomes an issue as a population and its functions grow. Thus, the society must put in place a regulatory system, which is usually in the form of a policing agency or a government. The operative system is the next to emerge. This is the management part of the society, which handles the production of goods and keeps all of the parts moving together smoothly. Finally, the distributive system forms. The distributive system handles all of the trade and travel issues; in other words, this system figures out how to get goods/people from one unit to another. Spencer had many complicated ways of classifying societies. Most simply, however, Spencer divided societies into two broad categories: militant and industrial. An industrial society is organized around the well being of its members, and decentralized authority help...


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... are the ones who most obviously make him do the work that he hates. Because labor is a valuable commodity, it is competitively bought and sold. For this reason, folks are reluctant to become too friendly with anyone in their field. Many people become alienated from their family and friends because they become consumed by their job. In short, production is not productive for the human spirit - it drains the life out of joyous people.

Works Cited

Calhoun, Craig, et al. Classical Sociological Theory. Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2004.

EFF Analysis of the Provisions of the USA Patriot Act. October 31, 2001. Electronic Frontier Foundation. February 15, 2004. http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/Terrorism/20011031_eff_usa_patriot_analysis.html.

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