Conflict Theory in Society

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Conflict exists between competitive sides but there is also the existence of a conflict theory in sociology, which is opposed to notion that there has to a common consensus among norms.

Conflict exists between competitive sides but there is also the existence of a conflict theory in sociology, which is opposed to notion that there has to be a common consensus among norms. When the notion of conflict theory came about it was not  to say that various social groups came to an agreement that all forms of crime are deleterious for society; those accepting a conflict paradigm did so because they knew that there were social subgroups that were at each other’s necks vying for superiority or power. This was at odds to the functionalist theory supporting cooperation between subgroups. It may have been that ruthlessness was justifiable if competition was tough; society is hardly a harmonious place there is always discord, grievance and conflict to separate competing groups.

It is believed that Mills was the founder of the conflict theory, as we know it, which stemmed from the fusion of the upper ranks of business with the industrial complex and isolated a relatively small portion of men, or elite, from the rest of the dependant society.

One may think of the ivory tower complexes in different countries around the world as symbols of that divide, the existence of a Wall Street rank that often does not know or care about what recession or depression really means to the average citizen that had to pay millions to keep failing auto makers afloat. The same can be associated to the rank and file of the Pentagon and defense agencies whose rules are never quite clear to those that are supposed to be defended and there is a  resulting increased  possibility of complete annihilation because of the competitiveness that defense structures have generated internationally.

Conflict theory is also associated to Marxism; conflict being due to the advantage seeking business tycoon using people resources to his benefit much to much a profit at least possible expense. For Marx it was a case of the bourgeoisie exploiting the masses much the same way that post industrial powers exploited child labor before law forbidding the use of underage children was passed in 1832 in England.This did not mean that the issue would be solved universally or exist in posterity and one has only to see that richer nations were able to pass laws earlier probably because the pressure for reform incited by the conflict between those wanting a better quality of life for children in the country and those wanting to abuse children, was more forceful.

Sadly child labor has not ended and is still in effect in many poorer nations where there is less scrutiny and application of child protection rights. So the conflict there is also a legal one, the existence of illegal or underground labor practices where world attention is pressing for change and the application of sincere reform measures. In 2008 Mexico employed up to twenty percent of children as migrant agricultural workers and the blame is on the United States whose tables are furnished with the harvested crop from Mexico. Mexico may blame its wealthier neighbor but if it wants to keep a good public image it too has to battle criticism from its electorate at not keeping these kids in schools and pushing those companies responsible for these labor practices to support educational opportunities with more of their profits.