SO304 SOCIAL PROBLEMS
Pick another student’s social problem addressed on their film and compare and contrast it with one of your films.
Blood Diamond and The Godfather movies each define social ills in the world today. Francis Ford Coppola released the movie The Godfather in March 1972. The movie’s timeline is circa 1920 during prohibition. The 18th Amendment of the US Constitution banned the manufacture and sale of liquor. The Sicilian mafia, a cadre of men stood together to usurp the authority of the United States government by manufacturing and selling alcohol for profit. Their quest for money, power, and greed led them to acts of violence and mayhem. Many lives were destroyed, businesses lost as they laundered money, offered bribes to elected officials, and smuggled liquor from state to state. These ethnic gangs were destructive to their communities, yet they we numb to the destruction caused because of the payoff.
This banded group of Italians required a special code of conduct. In essence, this group of corrupt miscreants required a code of ethics. The members must be Italian born, perform rituals, and abide by the hierarchy, the Ormerta, secrecy until death. Betrayal within the ranks was intolerable consequences severe, even deadly.
The Federal government used every mechanism possible to combat the hubs of the Sicilian mafia. Finally, prohibition was overturned and the manufacture and sale of alcohol was decriminalized. Production lines exploded, alcohol sales rose and the government was able to tax this resource. It became a legal revenue stream. The mafia was forced to expand into other areas for its illegal practices. Within this example are acts of tribalism, capitalist endeavors, banking, finance, loyalty, and prosperity. These are not negative characteristics; however, used in a manner that skirts the boundaries of civility and the law, they are destructive.
Blood Diamond, a movie released in 2006 illuminates how mining for diamonds in central Africa paid for civil wars between the RUF and UNITA. The commodity, rough diamonds, was used because they were easy to smuggle, hard to source, and high in value. Rape and pillaging abounded through the Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and central Africa. Militant fighters recruited children; enslaved them to work the mines while others were seasoned to become violent child soldiers; sometimes forced to turn against their own families.
Actions taken to stop the violence, end the civil war, and remove the stigma attached to “blood diamonds” included the following: require a certificate of origin for diamonds mined in Africa, make the process more transparent and restore state control, enact labor rights for the laborers, taxation, and limit damage to the environment. To date some of the efforts are successful, there is still much work to do.
These two movies identify evils with society – a need for power, greed, and dominance. The times are different, a span of almost eighty years, yet the similarities are enormous. Invariably, the solution offered to combat the violence is taxation of the resource and government oversight of the labor, environment, and transparency. Part 2
Discuss Three Social Problems
The double divide reveals that there are inequalities between and among nations. Gaps of wealth and income between countries are evident and even within countries one finds chasms between rich and poor citizens. Inequalities exist because of class, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, region, nationality, and age. Adam Smith examined the relationship of the political state and the economy, a field known as political economy. The core belief was that each individual had the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which led to greater wealth (Sernau, 2009).
A second problem society is faced with daily is a lack of security, crime. Threats of...