The perspectives of Weber, Marx, Durkheim, and Toennies all share the common
concept of modernization and the character of a modernized society; however, each had
relatively unique perspectives of the positive and negative effects on our society.
Each attributes the cause of modernization to the Industrial Revolution, citing the
development of a new mutual dependence based on economic diversity as opposed to
traditional communities based on close ties to family, friends and a shared specific
economy. Increased urbanization results in a greater percentage of the general population
living in highly industrialized areas with specific economic activities. Capitalism relies
on the increased efficiency of industrialization in order to progress, which requires
individuals to develop highly specialized skills. This results in a necessity to rely on
others to provide the necessities of survival, and a new sense of society develops.
Toennies believed modernization would lead to an impersonal society with individuals
associating based on their own their personal needs, a state he called Gesellschaft in
contrast to Geimenschaft, the traditional sense of community.
Durkheim had a more
optimistic view of modernity, recognizing the diversity this would develop, but worried
about the possibility of such diversity resulting in variable, fragile morals and societal
standards. Weber believed that modernization would lead to an upheaval of traditional
beliefs and a disillusioned society where rational thought would consume us. Marx saw
capitalism as the new basis for our society. He recognized the aforementioned effects, but
felt that they were necessary steps on the path to modernization and capitalism. The
perceived anti-capitalist views held by Marx, are somewhat inaccurate. While
disapproving of capitalism in principle, he saw capitalism as being the cause of inevitable
social upheaval and a classless society with all the benefits and technologies of industry
being applied to benefit all...