Conflict Theory

AAA

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.
 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Capitalism

    A system of economics based on the private ownership of capital ...
  2. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects ...
  3. Marxian Economics

    A school of economic thought based on of the work of Karl Marx. ...
  4. Marxism

    A social, political and economic philosophy that examines the ...
  5. Karl Marx

    A philosopher and economist famous for his ideas about capitalism ...
  6. Conflict Of Interest

    A situation where a professional, or a corporation, has a vested ...
Related Articles
  1. Entrepreneurship

    Adam Smith And "The Wealth Of Nations" ...

  2. Adam Smith is considered the founder of modern economics.
    Economics

    Adam Smith: The Father Of Economics

  3. Professionals

    Dealing With 10 Coworker Personality ...

  4. Economics

    The History Of Economic Thought

Hot Definitions
  1. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  2. Conduit Issuer

    An organization, usually a government agency, that issues municipal securities to raise capital for revenue-generating projects ...
  3. Financing Entity

    The party in a financing arrangement that provides money, property, or another asset to an intermediate entity or financed ...
  4. Hyperinflation

    Extremely rapid or out of control inflation. There is no precise numerical definition to hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is ...
  5. Gross Rate Of Return

    The total rate of return on an investment before the deduction of any fees or expenses. The gross rate of return is quoted ...
  6. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option ...
Trading Center