Sociology Questions and Answers

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True or False 18. Bureaucracies are generally effective at achieving their goals because they constitute an iron cage of rules and regulations. 19. A person's blood type is not closely correlated with race. 24. Socialist countries like Cuba do not have capitalist elements. 26. According to Emile Durkheim, some social groups to which an individual is connected impose norms, which place limits on the individual's actions.

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On eNotes, we ask that you only submit one question at a time, not a list of questions like this one.  I will go ahead and answer two of these, but please do submit your questions individually.

The first statement is false.  Max Weber does believe that bureaucracy is generally an effective way of getting things done.  However, he does not say that it is effective because of the idea of the iron cage.  Instead, he says that the iron cage is an unfortunate effect of having a bureaucratized society.  Bureaucracy requires set rules that bureaucrats follow closely.  This means that bureaucrats are supposed to go strictly “by the book” or, as Weber would say, in a very rational manner.  This means that they cannot base their actions on anything that is not connected to rationality and the written rules.  They cannot, for example, base their actions on sympathy or on compassion.  This locks them into an “iron cage.”  As our society becomes more bureaucratized and more rational, we are all locked into these cages which erode our freedoms.  Thus, Weber does say that bureaucracy is efficient and that iron cages exist, but he does not say that iron cages are the cause of efficiency.

The third statement, about Cuba and other socialist countries, is also false.  There is no country that has completely managed to do away with all aspects of capitalism.  At the very least, every country that tries to control its economy ends up with a black market of some sort.  In the link below, we can see that Cuba had these things even as long ago as 2001.  As an example, the reporter talks about men trying to sell him autographs at a baseball game and stiltwalkers performing in hopes of getting paid.  These are both aspects of capitalism.  It would appear that no government can effectively and completely quash the human desire to obtain various goods and services and the human desire to obtain money.  This means that some aspects of capitalism exist even in socialist countries. 

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