Comparing the Sociology of Economic Life with Economics
Perhaps you are wondering how a sociological perspective on the economy differs from the study of economics. Although aspects of the two disciplines overlap. each provides a unique perspective on economic institutions. Economists attempt to explain how the limited resources and efforts of a society are allocated among competing ends. To economists. an imbalance exists between peoples wants and society's ability to meet those wants. To illustrate, think about college registration. Would like to have the "perfect .
schedule-with the classes want. at the times you want, and with "preferred" professors? How many students at your school actually manage to arrange such a schedule? What organizational constraints make it impossible for all people to have what they need or want? Some economists believe that the most important fact
of economics is the law of scarcity. which means that there will never be enough resources to meet everyone's wants (Ruffin and Gregory. 2000). Colleges do not have the financial or human resources to provide everything that students (or faculty) want. Economists focus on the complex workings of economic systems (such as monetary policy. inflation. and the national debt), whereas sociologists focus on interconnections among the economy, other social institutions. and the social organization of work. At the tabernacle, sociologists may study the impact of
transnational corporations on industrialized and low income nations. At the micro level, sociologists might study people's satisfaction with their jobs. To better understand these issues. we will examine how economic systems came into existence and how they have changed over time .