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Politics and the Economy
Learning Objectives

1.Distinguish between power and authority, and discuss the role of the state in the exercise of legitimate violence.

2.Describe the sources of authority identified by Weber, and explain how the orderly transfer of authority is achieved under each type of authority.

3.Differentiate between monarchies, democracies, and dictatorships and oligarchies.

4.Explain the nature of the two-party system in the United States and consider why third parties do poorly within this system.

5.Describe American voting patterns, identify those most and least likely to vote in elections, and explain the social factors behind these patterns.

6.Analyze the ways in which special-interest groups influence the political process.

7.Distinguish between the functionalist and conflict perspectives on how the U.S. political process operates, and compare the power elite perspective of C. Wright Mills with William Domhoff's ruling class theory.

8.Trace the transformation of the economic systems through each of the historical stages and state the degree to which social inequality existed in each of the economies.

9.Discuss some of the ominous contemporary trends within the U.S. economy, including downsizing, the "Great U-Turn," and the U.S.'s status as the world's largest debtor.

10.State the essential features of capitalism and socialism and explain why neither exists in its "pure" form.

11.Identify the ideologies of capitalism and socialism.

12.State criticisms of capitalism and socialism, describe the recent changes in socialist economies, and explain why some theorists believe the two systems are converging.

13.Define corporations, interlocking directorates, and multinational corporations and discuss the role each plays in the global economy.

14.Explain why some theorists believe that there is a possibility that global political and economic unity could come about.

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