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Social institutions - government, economy, health and medicine

Video transcript
Voiceover: Now that we've examined education, family and religion, lets take a look at the government and economy. We give the government the power and authority to manage the country. Some governments take into consideration the will of the people, like democratic systems where all citizens participate in government, like law making and choosing officials. Others rule autonomously like authoritarian systems which command absolute obedience to authority. Dictatorships are authoritarian systems where the government is ruled by an individual without the consent of the citizens. Other types of political systems include communism, which is a classless, money less system, where all property is owned by the community. A monarchy is a government that is embodied by a single person. There are many facets to the government but the queen or king is the figurehead. There are also a couple different economic systems in our world. Capitalism is motivated by profits, and features private ownership of production, with a market economy based on supply and demand. Socialism is motivated by what benefits the society as a whole, and features common ownership of production that focuses on human needs and economic demand. The division of labor in our government and economy is functionalist, meaning everyone is expected to have a responsibility in society. It is interesting how we value certain types of labor more than others. Garbage men, who are essential to society are not well valued and not well paid. Athletes on the other hand are non-essential but they are highly valued and well paid. We value jobs that require lots of specialization and education, rather than the jobs that are essential to our society. This creates inequalities because no everyone has access to those valued professions due to limited education or resources. We see this disparity throughout society, including education and healthcare and medicine. Healthcare and medicine is the final institution we will examine here. We know medicine exists to keep people healthy. But it also has other effects on society. Medicalization for example occurs when human conditions get defined and treated as medical conditions, and become a subject of medical study, diagnosis, and treatment. This often occurs with mental health type issues, like sadness and attention, but also can occur with physical issues like birth. People are becoming over-diagnosed with depression or ADD. While it is true that these are serious conditions, being sad doesn't mean you're depressed, and having difficulty focusing doesn't mean you have ADD. Birth has become medicalized, as women and doctors plan C-sections, rather than having natural births. Another effect of health and medicine is the sick rule. This is the expectation within society that allows you to take a break from responsibilities in order to get better when you're sick. But if you don't get better or don't return to your place in society, you are viewed as deviant and harmful to society. And major part of the institution of health and medicine is the delivery of healthcare. There are massive inequalities in terms of access. We take care of the elderly through Medicaid and Medicare and the children through child health insurance programs, but the people in between get left behind. These are the people who populate the working force. And when they get sick it can seriously affect society. The Affordable Care Act is trying to fix this gap, but it's still too early to tell. We spend a lot of money on healthcare, but we don't get the desired outcomes because people still get sick. This is because we invest a lot more money in helping people once they are sick, than in developing preventative medicine. Almost everyone will be sick at some point in their lives. The illness experience is the process of being ill and how people cope with their illness. Being ill can change a person's self identity. The diagnosis of a chronic disease can take over your life where every decision revolves around the disease. There are stigmas associated with certain diseases, like mental illnesses or STDs, that can affect how others perceive you. Even how people experience a disease differs depending on if they have access to resources, like palliative care. Social epidemiology looks at health disparities through social indicators like race, gender, and income distribution, and it looks at how social factors affect a person's health. There's a correlation between social advantages or disadvantages and the distribution of health or disease. Well, there we have it, a closer look into the institutions that make up and support our society. But this is just skimming the surface. There is so much more depth to every topic here, more facts, more consequences. Just take a look at your world to see how much more there is to this institutions that perhaps once seemed simple.