650 words minimum
1. Compare and contrast Marx and Weber’s notion of class and class stratification.
2. Thinking about Max Weber’s three components of social class, answer the following two questions:
If you were forced to choose between Weber’s three components of social class, which component would you choose to have for the rest of your life: property, prestige, or power? Why?
How could you use that one component to gain the others?
I think Karl Marx and Marx Weber contradicted each other on the class nature particularly. Traditional measures were applied by other sociologists to analyze stratification. Karl Marx argued that class is decided by economic factors only. Whereas Weber argued that social stratification is not only determined by class and economic factors affecting relationships of class. According to Weber, Social class is comprised of prestige, power, and wealth or property. Weber worked half a century after Karl Marx. He derived his assumptions of stratification social ladder from three independent factors namely; power, class, and status. He treated these factors each independently but associated sources of power each with their various impacts on social life. Property is defined as wealth and comprises of owner’s factories or corporations and also the sole managers working in these structures. Weber describes power as the ability of an individual to have his way regardless of the prevailing resistance surrounding him. Prestige is described as an individual’s popularity and social honor in society.
If I was to choose between the three components social by Weber, I would choose property. The property comprises economic resources that include; businesses, land, and buildings that generate wealth. According to Weber, economic power or wealth is the foundation of social class. However, he identifies social power and prestige as crucial class markers. For people to be accepted into classes of higher status, they should hail from prominent families that may not be wealthy or maybe politically powerful. The property still stands out as a good choice. This is because property can be used as an instrument to acquire prestige and power. With wealth, people can buy the education they need to join a higher social class. Prestige can be built using property to champion good ideas resulting in the growth of an individual’s name positively in society. Wealth can also be utilized to acquire power. A wealthy person can afford to move around to avenues where they can meet powerful individuals in normal environments and exchange important information. Wealth can be used to sponsor a political candidate in numerous ways to put a political agenda of interest on the table. Currently, we are in a world where the property can open several doors and is therefore greatly respected.
From the above research, Karl Marx and Marx Weber disagreed on social stratification and inequality. Karl Marx believed economic factors alone determined class while Marx Weber argued that Karl Marx’s points were not enough, he added prestige power and property to his theories. Of the three components of social stratification, I would choose wealth. This is because wealth dominates all the other two components. Despite the dominance of wealth, the two components are also important. Wealth has more importance because with wealth, an individual can acquire both prestige and power.