Liberal and Radical Approaches in Zambia

Topics: Karl Marx, Sociology, Marxism Pages: 5 (1755 words) Published: December 29, 2012
The main argument of this essay is to compare and contrast the liberal and radical approaches to social change. Accompanied by practical examples, I will state and re-enforce the theoretical approach that plausibly explains the prevailing circumstances in Zambia. This essay will begin by defining briefly what the liberal and radical approaches are; also it will explain what is understood by the term social change. It is also necessary to point out that I have taken a stand on agreeing that the liberal approach takes a crediblestance in explaining the prevailing circumstances in Zambia. In this essay I will explain how this is and compare and contrast it with the radical approach. Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society, or as movement of human society from lower stages to higher stages. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means (Harper, 1993: 13). It may refer to a model change in the socio-economic structure, for instance a shift away from feudalism and towards capitalism. According to Giddens (2000: 32), social change is defined as the alteration of mechanisms within the social structure characterized by changes in cultural symbols, rules of behavior, social organizations, or value systems. He goes on to say that ‘broad social trends like shifts in population, urbanization, industrialization and bureaucratization, can lead to significant social change.’ Giddens principally associated social change with modernization were society moves according to stages from a traditional society upwards to a more advanced stage were technological advances are prominent in industries (Rostow’s stages of economic growth). The liberal approach (also known as liberalism) is an ideology that places emphasis on individual property rights, human rights and liberal democracy. For example, the protests at the Berlin Wall in 1989 that resulted in its fall, the end of single-party rule in East Germany, and the reunification of Germany in the form of a liberal democracy (Wolin, 2007: 14). With this example, it’s right to say that liberalism brings about contradiction/conflict in a society that influences social change to a higher level. Liberalism is a theory that advocates freedom of an individual to do as he/she pleases without hindering or endangering another’s freedom. But, its better understood and explained on an economical point of view. Liberalism is an economic philosophy that emphasizes the importance of personal freedom in economic and political affairs. In other words, as stated bySamuelson and Nordhaus (1989: 976) the government should not interfere in economic activities to allow free trade and free competition (laissez-faire). The system that allows the free economic trends to run un-interfered is capitalism. Capitalism encourages the practice of freedom by individuals and the prevalence of free trade and competition in the trading market. These are the circumstances that are prevalent in current Zambia. The usual activities that influence social change is conflict mostly between the working class and the proletariats who sale their labor at a wage price suitable to them. To understand and explain the liberal approach to social change in a simpler way, I will consider explaining it in terms of the two main perceptions within the liberal approach to social change; that is subjective and objective idealists. Under these perceptions, philosophers argue that nothing exists in actual fact and that there is no objective existence independent of that consciousness (subjective); and that there is an objective existence independent of opinion (objective). These two perceptions also explain how and why social change is influenced. The subjective and objective idealists try to explain the internal factors that incline to social change. In other words, the two perceptions advocate the importance...
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