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The Distribution of Power within the Political Community: Class, Status, and Party

Summary

In this chapter, Max Weber zeros in on the different perspectives of power in the society especially in political circles. While some people pursue power because of the sheer value it has, others perceive power as a platform for attaining honor in the society. According to Max Weber, “some people in the society connect power to honor”. (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010) In essence, this means that powerful people are considered in a unique way compared to other individuals. This is why some people crave immensely for power especially in the political community. Apart from social honor, Max Weber evaluates power from the perceptive of personal interest. This is because some people perceive power as an effective base for them to pursue personal ambitions. These ambitions and motives are diverse and might hence differ from one person to another.


For instance, some people view power as an indicator of social status. In essence, these people strongly believe that power provides them with an advantageous echelon of status in the community. On the other hand, some individuals associate power with a certain class. In essence, a powerful person in considered as a member of a given cliché or social class. According to Max Weber, this is an aspect that has “motivated a lot of people towards pursuing power” (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010).


 

Economic wellbeing is another major platform that has been underlined by Max Weber as a crucial element of power. This is strongly concerned with the financial wellbeing of an individual. In view of Max Weber’s viewpoints, some people will sacrifice many things in order to attain economic power. For instance, an individual might even disown his or her community in order to acquire economic power.


Economic power is a notable attribute that characterizes most wealthy people across the globe. They aim to build their “financial muscle with the aim of being considered as powerful” (Ritzer, 2009). It is essential to underline that the author seeks to distinguish between class and group. Based on his viewpoints, members of a certain class are not necessarily drawn from the same group. Similarly, members of a group are not always drawn from the same class. In view of such aspects, class and group should not be used interchangeably. This is why an individual might be of a certain class but a different group. This is an aspect that has had immense influence in power. In view of these aspects, the motives of power are notably distinct among different people.


While some people want power in order to be influential in the society, others consider power as a means of attaining personal goals. This provides an excellent platform for explaining why people have diverse motives for power. These motives are also extremely influential in the manner in which people in power relate to others. Power in political community is among the most outstanding current issues. For instance, power has been massively influential towards how resources in the society are shared or distributed. In such instances, most resources are distributed in a way that benefits the powerful people. This technique of sharing resources is notable in the third world. In such countries, resources are shared among the few powerful people. This creates an element of disadvantage for the majority in the entire society. In contrast, the platforms used in sharing “resources in the developed nations are different” (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010)


High levels of equality are notable in such places. However, this does not necessarily imply that the powerful people do not influence the mechanisms of resource distribution in order to fulfill personal targets. In the entire chapter, Max Weber also notes that there are different goals for power. One’s goal for the attainment of power is not necessarily similar to another person’s goals. However, the goal for power is strongly associated with the motive. These perspectives are massively crucial in the evaluation of the current issue of power in the political community.


Background

The background of his current issue can be evaluated based of different perspectives and platforms. The first framework encompasses the theory of irrationality. Based pn the stipulations outlined for this theory, there is no common pattern or unique identifier in how people behave. In essence, this aspect underlines that there are no common motives for the actions or behavior of people. From the perspective of power, the theory of irrationality can be evaluated in numerous ways. For instance, “this theory connects extensively with the quest of social power by some people” (Nash, 2009). This implies that there is no rational explanation behind the intensive search for wealth by some people. The theory of rationality is another platform that has been used consistently within the framework of analyzing the current issue of power in the political community. This theory holds that there are notable patterns, and hence explanations for how things occur. This can be put into perspective in terms of analyzing the motives behind the quest for power by different people.


While some people consider power as a platform for attaining social honor, others are attracted to the inherent value of power. In view of such aspects, patterns can be drawn in line with the framework of “how power is distributed and acquired in the modern world” (Hardson, 2010). The fact that some people manipulate others for their own benefit is an excellent platform that constitutes the theory of rationality. The theory of the iron cage can also be integrated extensively within the framework of putting power into perspective. This theory has been developed by Max Weber and holds that there are various ideological aspects that align people to different systems. The ideological influences can be assessed in terms of the social perspectives or economic perspectives. Consequently, the theory of iron cage can be “integrated extensively into the evaluation of power in the political community” (Shola, 2012).  The significance of this current issue is based on various issues. Firstly, power has inherent implications on the quality of wellbeing for people in the society. This influence can either be positive or negative. It influences the society negatively when a few people seek to enhance their own wellbeing at the expense of other people. On the other hand, power is positively influential if people seek to acquire it rationally.  


Analysis

The analysis provided by Max Weber about power in the political community is valid. There are various perspectives and aspects that help in underling the validity of his arguments. Firstly, his analysis is strongly aligned to the reality in the modern societies across the globe. The quest for power is a dominant global issue that has caused conflicts in numerous ways. As some people seek to be members of a certain class, they disenfranchise others in the society. In view of such as framework, the negative aspects of power in the society are highlighted. The inherent connections between “power and party are also pertinent aspects of evaluation with regards to Max Weber’s analysis” (Mills, 2013).


According to this author, power might be associated with a given political party. However, this is not always am effective platform for assessing the dynamics of power in the community. While an individual might be a member of a given party, it cannot act as a guarantee that he or she has certain powers. However, this viewpoint has not stopped people or the society from associating a given party with power in the society. In view of such aspects, the viewpoints of Max Weber on power are valid. The theory of rationality acts as another vital platform that can help in underlining the validity of Max Weber’s insights and viewpoints into power as a current issue. The theory of rationality holds that ‘wanting’ is an inherent aspect of social behavior among human beings (Dye, 2007). This is an indicator of how people are continuously attracted to the inherent value of power. In essence, some people want to acquire power for the sake of it.


Additionally, other people pursue power in order to enhance their economic wellbeing. Most of the so-called powerful people in the modern society can allude to this viewpoint. Consequently, the pursuit of economic wellbeing is a pertinent aspect of power in the current society. The validity of Weber’s analysis is also depicted by the theory of Iron Cage. Fundamentally, this theory focuses on the enclosure of people to some systems. These “actions or behaviors can be associated with different ideological influences” (Slater, 2010). When people subscribe to a given ideology, they continuously work in accordance to its stipulations. This is an aspect that can help in explaining the aggressive nature of some people as they pursue economic wellbeing. For instance, a wealthy person like Oprah Winfrey is greatly driven by the motive of economic success. This has enabled her to become extremely powerful because of her level of economic and financial success.


The framework of analysis that focuses on social honor is also pertinent in terms of “validating his viewpoints towards the current issue of power in the society” (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010). According to Weber, there are numerous people who pursue power for the sake of acquiring some status in the society. Within this “group of people, economic wellbeing is less meaningful”. (Mills, 2013) Nothing matters more to these people than the social honor associated with power. This causes people to infringe on the fundamental rights of others as they seek to attain a certain social status. In view of social honor and power, Donald Trump is an outstanding example within the American society. This business mogul has amassed billions in terms of wealth.


However, he is more or less obsessed by the social honor associated with such wealth and power. He has built his business empire not only through intelligence but also by means of ruthlessness to some of his associates. This underlines that he is less willing to sacrifice his personal ambitions in favor of the wellbeing of other people (Ritzer, 2009). The theory of irrationality provides an excellent perspective of putting the issue of power and social honor into perspective. The fundamental stipulations of this theory hold that an individual’s decisions and actions are not based on reason. In essence, the cognitive framework of such people does not meet the stipulated standards of rationality. This is an aspect that aligns extensively to the pursuit of power in order to gain social honor.


It is extremely complex to justify why an individual would go through so much in order to acquire social honor (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010). This is classical irrationality playing its part in power within the society. In addition to Donald Trump, there are also numerous other people such as Britney Spears who pursue power for the sheer sake of social honor. In the chapter, Weber underlines that legal orders have inherent implications on power in the society. In essence, “some legal systems are strongly favorable to some people at the expense of others” (Pfeffer, 2010). This is an aspect that has had massive implications on the framework of power in the modern society.


The influential people are increasingly using different legal systems in order to enhance or protect their interests, and hence attain a higher level of power. This is valid because of the economic and monetary policies are disproportionately favorable to the wealthy people in the society. In view of such aspects, Weber’s perspectives on legal systems and power are strongly valid (Nash, 2009). The different legal systems are fundamentally meant to enhance the wellbeing of the entire society. However, powerful people manipulate some of these systems deliberately in order to promote their own good. These aspects have been addressed extensively by Max Weber in the chapter. Based on this analysis, the most essential aspects or dimensions of power in the society have been evaluated excellently by Weber (Appelrouth & Edles, 2010). The issue of status is an outstanding framework that influences most people towards pursuing power. In essence, an individual may want to be powerful so that he or she qualifies as a member of a certain status. This is an aspect that causes people to manipulate legal systems to their advantage.


In addition to status, the distinctiveness of group and class has been put into perspective within the analytical framework of power. These are essential platforms of power but should not be used interchangeably. This is because they are different entities that play different roles in the expression or representation of power. In most cases, economic wellbeing acts as a massively essential element for power (Hardson, 2010).


 The clamor for economic or financial independence is an aspect that has caused most people to seek power even in political circles. This underlines the essence of integrating both the theories of rationality and irrationality is the analytical perspectives of Max Weber. The integration of high standards of rationality would act as an essential aspect in the mitigation of countless violations on the existing legal mechanisms. The theory of iron cage also connects immensely to the viewpoints presented by Weber for power in the society. This is largely because of the influential role of ideologies in the actions of people (Slater, 2010). When people believe in a given ideological framework, they act in a certain way. For instance, some people believe that they can only be respected in the society if they belong to a certain class. This aligns to the theory of iron cage.


References

Appelrouth, S (2010). Sociological theory, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

Dye, D. R. (2007). Power and society, Mason, OH: South-Western

Hardson, B. C. (2010). Power and society: An introduction, Mason, OH: South-Western

Mills, L. F. (2013). The Effect of Political Sensitivity and Bargaining Power, Accounting Review, 68(3)

Nash, K. (2009). Contemporary political sociology, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

Neill, M. (2013). Putting history to the question: Power and politics, Columbia        University Press

Pfeffer, J. (2010). Power and why some people have it, Harper-Collins

Ritzer, G. (2009). An Introduction to McDonaldization and Precursors, Thousand Oaks,    CA: SAGE

Shola, O. A. (2012). Remaking Power and Politics, Social Science History, 36(1)

Slater, D. (2010). Ordering power, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


 

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