Conflict Theory

Definition of 'Conflict Theory'


A theory propounded by Karl Marx that claims society is in a state of perpetual conflict due to competition for limited resources. Conflict theory holds that social order is maintained by domination and power, rather than consensus and conformity. According to conflict theory, those with wealth and power try to hold on to it by any means possible, chiefly by suppressing the poor and powerless. Conflict theory also ascribes most of the fundamental developments in human history, such as democracy and civil rights, to capitalistic attempts to control the masses rather than to a desire for social order.

Investopedia explains 'Conflict Theory'




Conflict theory has been used to explain a wide range of social phenomena, including wars and revolutions, wealth and poverty, discrimination and domestic violence.
 
The financial crisis of 2008-09 and the subsequent bank bailouts are good examples of real-life conflict theory, according to authors Alan Sears and James Cairns in their book “A Good Book, in Theory”. Conflict theory proponents view the financial crisis as the inevitable outcome of the inequalities and instabilities that plague Western societies, since the present structure of the global economic system enables the largest banks and institutions to avoid government oversight and take huge risks that only reward a select few. Sears and Cairns note that large banks and big business subsequently received bailout from the same governments that claim to have insufficient funds for large-scale social programs such as universal healthcare. This dichotomy supports a fundamental assumption of conflict theory, which is that mainstream political institutions and cultural practices favor dominant groups and individuals.
 


Filed Under: ,

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Marginal Analysis

    An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions. Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.
  2. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  3. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  4. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  5. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
  6. Retail Sales

    An aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, typically based on a data sampling that is extrapolated to model an entire country. In the U.S., the retail sales report is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce.
Trading Center