Social theory: Georg Simmel and money

Topics: Sociology, Max Weber, Economics Pages: 6 (1823 words) Published: June 1, 2014


SOCIAL THEORY: Goerg Simmel and money
2014

Sociology is defined as the study of humans in their natural habitat. In this current day and age world, these ‘natural habitats’ consist of a considerable amount of diversity, cultures and ethnic backgrounds, religion, gender, heritage and family history, jobs and incomes and many more. Many individuals are unaware that they may be observed by theorists or that they can be and are placed into certain categories such as cultural, wealth, and class, these individuals are unaware that they are in fact an influence to sociology and are a statistic or an individual that may be used to help provide a theory regarding society to be factual or even fictional. In today’s modern world, most individual’s lives revolve around working and earning an income in order to pay for the necessities in order to sustain life and maintain a healthy living for an individual and their family. One theorist whom established a connection or a ‘link’ between individuals and the importance of money was Georg Simmel (1991; 08), he established this ‘link’ through comparison of the Middle Ages and the Modern Era through the connection individuals possessed with their ‘belongings’ and their ‘wealth’.

The theory that Simmel has provided regards money as being the source of life in this modern day and age and makes one realise just how important money is in this modern day and age as well as how effected individuals lives are and how our lives are revolving around money. This theory about money being the centre of human lives makes us realise just how important it is to obtain a job and to keep working as it is essential to have a form of income or a way to obtain money to keep healthy. This enables one to make the connection between Simmels theory regarding to money and to Marx’s theory of social class. This connection can be made due to the social ‘classes’ of income and the amount of income one may earn and how they earn this income is put into a class or category of ‘owner or worker’ and then ‘employer or employee’ (Germov,J. & Poole, M., 2011: 209). Due to this categorisation and division of equality between individuals Germov and Poole state that economic activity and production is essential for societies in order for survival. The also state (Germov & Poole, 2011; 209), that class is defined by an individual’s job and income and also whom they are to work with or for, for example, the group of individuals the run or are in possession of the means of production, and the individuals that work for the people whom run or possess these means. As the years have gone by, many individuals in the lower class started to argue and demand a better salaries in order to survive and have now formed a class based antagonism between labours and capital and workers and their particular unions in order to act in their own interest appropriate to their needs (Philion, S., 1998; 10), this has allowed there to be more equality between individuals and to allow the lower class of individuals to earn a better income and to provide sufficiently for themselves and their families. Social class can be viewed or portrayed as an economic system (Ming Liu, W., Soleck, G., Hopps, J., Dunston, K., & Pickett, T Jr., 2004; 32) and economists studying modern money have even been compared to being sociologists due to their link with money and studying the way in which money is processed with our current day society (Baker, W. E., & Jimerson, J. B., 1992; 35). Simmel states that what brings about an intertwining and growing together of the modern society more than anything else is the division of labour, which has not developed past the harshest beginnings under the system of bartering. This suggests that due to the competition within the labour division, the individual companies in this division have to ‘barter’ or discuss and try to work out what each item they are trying to sell to the public will cost and what will provide them...
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