What Are The Key Assumptions Of Rational Choice Individualism. Are They Valid Assumptions? Cite Examples To Support Your Examples.

2000 words - 8 pages

The popularity of economics can be explained by the clear formal models of behaviour that can be constructed from the assumption that people are motivated by economic needs and the desire to profit. The idea that people tend to weigh up the costs and benefits of actions in a calculative way explains why social scientists have increasingly turned to the theory of rational choice.There is a history of rationality in sociology. However rational action has only been traditionally seen as present alongside tradition, emotion and other value oriented action. Traditionally the great sociologists such as Durkheim, Weber and Marx have all found economic rationalism insufficient. Rational choice theory completely denies the existence of theses kinds of action. The central argument is that all social action can be approached from the prior assumption of rational motivation.George Homans (1961) set out the basic framework of social exchange theory, rational choice theories application to social interaction. Homan drew heavily upon the psychological principals of behaviourism to build theoretical models explaining exchange involving two or more actors. It was his belief that the principle of self interest could explain society. To Homans 'society' was a collection of individuals all trying to find ways of maximising their interests through exchange. Homans believed that the actions of people were influenced by reward and punishment, he termed this 'conditioning'. In social interaction joint behaviour develops through the exchange of rewarding and punishing behaviours. Homans thought that money and approval were the general means of exchange in economic and social exchange respectively.The form of rational choice theory I intend to examine in this essay is termed individualism. This form posits the individual as unaffected by people and the environment and the ability to achieve ends by independent reasoning (Barnes 1995). This has a profound affect on theorising, if actions are separately produced they can be modelled and measured. There are four assumptions of individualism; independence, rationality, goal orientation, and self regarding behaviour.The assumption of independence is the most important postulate. In rational choice theory the individual's objectives are stable and intrinsic and are not affected by context. Rational choice theory actors do however take their environment into account, but do not believe that it changes their goals or actions (Barnes 1995). Individuals are assumed to be rational and calculative when engaging in behaviour. For this to occur they also have to have a degree of knowledge. The choice of one course of action rather than another makes rational choice individual's goal oriented. Rational choice theory assumes that individuals rank goals in a hierarchy and then act to achieve these goals (Barnes 1995). This concern with outcome is the same as Weber's concept of 'zweckrational' action, where an individual performs the...

Find Another Essay On What are the key assumptions of rational choice individualism. Are they valid assumptions? Cite examples to support your examples.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE RATIONAL CHOICE APPROACH TO RELIGIOUS BEHAVIOUR?

1742 words - 7 pages 'WHAT ARE THE MAIN STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE RATIONAL CHOICE APPROACH TO RELIGIOUS BEHAVIOUR?'BIBLIOGRAPHY1) G. Becker, 1986, 'The economic approach to human behaviour', pp. 108-22 in J. Elster (ed.), Rational Choice. Oxford: Blackwell.2) L. Iannaccone, 1990, 'Religious practice: a human capital approach', Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 29: 297-314.3) S. Bruce, 'Religion and rational choice: a critique of economic

Our Future in Harms/( What are your views towards abortion? Give examples to justify your points

727 words - 3 pages society may differ in their interpretations of certain issues. Television and media show the public what they should think, and this forces a conflict between societal values and individual values. In my opinion, abortion is wrong and it is a serious assault on a persons rights. So why are millions of women every year coming to the conclusion that it is the right thing to do? Is it because they want to hide their senseless actions? Or is it because

What are the assumptions of realism and why has it been so influential in the studies of International relations?

1611 words - 6 pages , as recently it has become another phrase for 'power politics'. Instead of referring to itself as an ideology, realists see it as more of a straight forward rational theory, a way of thinking reasonably in the situation, rather than seeing the world as a far fetched and ideological utopia. Political realism is seen as a way of explaining political philosophy models, and to prescribe political relations. It makes many assumptions, the key one being

'What were the factors that lead to the formation of the New Testament Canon? How valid are they today?'

1705 words - 7 pages There is said to be over a thousand years of literature in the Christian Bible as it is today. This essay will look at the New Testament of the Bible, what the factors were that lead to its formation and the validity of those factors.The Bible must be looked at not as a single book, but as a collection of twenty-seven books. These books as we have them today are not originals, they have been translated from copies of copies and as ancient

Placebos are a valid choice

1440 words - 6 pages Placebos, (Latin for “I shall please”), have been around since medieval times to treat a variety of ailments. Currently, researchers are using them to examine what effects they will have on the general population, and physicians are prescribing them. Any alteration in a person’s condition derived after receiving a placebo is labeled a placebo effect. There is no debate as to whether the placebo effect is genuine; the dispute lies in what

Philosophical Assumptions are fundamentally important in Psychology

2392 words - 10 pages . However, even the greatest of psychologists can only theorize about what makes human beings act the way they do. Absolutes are not part of psychology. Everything is relative and open to speculation and theorists are merely giving us their views or ideas about life. Philosophy of psychology also closely monitors contemporary work conducted in cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and artificial intelligence, questioning what they can

In accordance with your own research what key reasons for Britain's defeat in the "American War of Independence" are not explained by the movie "The Patriot?" Explain citing examples

539 words - 2 pages ’s victory, as they helped the Americans win during the Naval Battle.In conclusion, “The Patriot” failed to raise and highlight the impact the costly debt British were faced with and the reasons why the British were in debt and had to impose taxes. The movie did not highlight the British soldiers having limited communications with each other, as well as disregard the importance of American colonist’s foreign aid. These are the key factors that did not inform the viewer all the aspects to the reasons why the British were defeated by the Americans.Bibliography: www.imdb.com/title/tt0187393/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Patriot_(2000_film)

Should culture and arts be funded if they are not profitable? Find examples of arts and culture to demonstrate your case

2068 words - 8 pages Question: Should culture and arts be funded if they are not profitable? Find examples of arts and culture to demonstrate your caseIntroduction: Culture and the ArtsEdward Tylor describes culture in the mix of "knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society" (Tylor 1889). It is well appropriate way of referring to our current diverse communities from which the many

Legal methods of Challenging State power: What are the methods (legal and non-legal) of challenging state power - support answer with cases and examples

1344 words - 5 pages and informal means of challenging state power is that formal means are more permanent and dependable as they are set up by statutory law whilst informal means are pressuring the government through means of media and social power. Examples of bodies that are used to formally challenge state power are the Ombudsman, The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), privacy bodies, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and courts. These too

Explain the models of oligopoly behaviour that we discussed. Discuss whether the respective assumptions are realistic

1941 words - 8 pages Discuss examples where different models might be the most appropriate (think for example of market for raw materials or for air travel).In this essay I am going to discuss models of oligopoly behaviour and analyse them and see whether they are realistic or not and evaluate them with certain examples where they may be most suitable.Oligopoly is defined as a market form in which a market is dominated by a small number of sellers. There are many

What are Agents of Socialization? Explain and give real life examples how Agents of Socialization influnced your life today

1430 words - 6 pages behaviors. Specifically, my parents were very concerned with punctuality. They passed those values on to me by example as well as by verbally stressing the need for punctuality. In fact, their values are so ingrained that to this day I feel very uncomfortable when I am late. I tend to get to school half an hour before school starts, because of the fear of being late. Another example would be my parent's views on illness and doctors. Being ill or

Similar Essays

Problem: Complete Ramsey Walker's Profit Plan For The Children's Book Line. What Are Your Work Assumptions: Which Of These Assumptions Are Critical To Your Analysis?

628 words - 3 pages Work assumption:1. Assume that the sales will increase by 10% for each new title, as indicated the Backlist sales increase.2. Assume that the total number of new titles remain unchanged; since Ramsey is trying to publish fewer segments and focus more resources on trying to publish fewer segments and focus more resources on differentiation those books in the marketplace, there is no reason for him increase the new titles.3. Assume that they plan

Models Of Oligopoly Behaviour, Whether The Respective Assumptions Are Realistic And Examples Where Different Models Might Be The Most Appropriate

1941 words - 8 pages In this essay I am going to discuss models of oligopoly behaviour and analyse them and see whether they are realistic or not and evaluate them with certain examples where they may be most suitable.An oligopoly is a market which consists of few firms which sell similar or homogenous products. In this essay I will also be looking at a duopoly, which is a market with two firms.The Cournot equilibrium, this is where "a pair of output levels, one for

What Are The Different Criteria/Basis A Marketer Can Use In Order To Segment Consumer Markets? Use Examples To Support Your Answer

959 words - 4 pages alone (and so sell the variety boxes of cereal). Consumers are now more educated than they were forty years ago and so people are buying more books and stationary. Advertisements also need to be more up scale and accurate since consumers are now aware of their rights and of value for money. Income determines what products a consumer will buy. If the consumer is a student for example he will spend the least amount of money possible, especially

What Are The Assumptions Behind The Model Of A Perfectly Competitive Industry In Long Run Equilibrium?

956 words - 4 pages at whatever point they please. Companies make these decisions upon knowing what is happening on the market and where their company stands compared to the rest of the market. This is part of the characteristic of companies holding perfect information. The assumption that allows companies to make these decisions is the mobility of the factors in the market.These assumptions are only realistic in the perfect market. Perfect being not realistic at all