The concept of social progress can be said to be the society's ability to meet its citizens' needs. In this case, the society establishes the building blocks making sure that the communities are able to get the quality of lives they are supposed to have. Through this, the individuals in these societies are at a better position of reaching their maximum potential. This is the kind of progress that therefore makes the society better than it was before. When it comes to examining the concept of progress in society, it is not just about looking at certain individuals living the good life. Contrary to that, it is all about all the members of society leaving the best life possible. A society is only considered to be well off when its citizens are well off as well.
When it comes to looking at the ways society can be made better, it is all about looking at the past as well as what the people had in mind about making that community better. It is not just a superficial thing but rather comparing the past, present and the future. When exploring the concept of progress, the various facets of society as it is today should be looked into more deeply. A number of ideologies and concepts help to explain the growth that has been seen in many societies today. Through these ideologies and the many views of society today, it will be easier to see whether a community is progressing or not. Therefore, progress, in this case, is determined by how well this function is performing. In this case, social progress is all about how much this function is improved. In the US, for example, the state has a department set aside for social welfare. Through this, the poor and those economically incapable are taken care of by the state. In 2015, Forbes ranked the United States welfare system as the second largest in the world. Most people will say that the US welfare system is very small and not as effective.
Nonetheless, the social welfare system in the US has brought about the progress and advancement of the American people. The first way it has shown progress is in the way public education has improved. A good society is where its people have access to an education. Therefore, by making sure public education is running smoothly, the country is growing well and everyone is able to sustain themselves. Education allows individuals to reach their maximum potential by going for the courses they like best. At the same time, social welfare ensures that people that cannot access social and health insurance have the ability to do so. With social insurance, society is able to achieve an increase in the growth of the market and capitalist systems. This is because the uncertainty concerning life is eliminated to some extent. Social welfare also ensures that there is an increase in employer benefits to the employees. This then improves the lives of the employees in a lot of ways.
Again, society progress can be looked at from the point of the defects being seen in America. These social defects being seen in America that deter the progress of success include violence, childhood obesity, and urban homelessness. In this case, progress may then be described as the reduction of the above problems among others. Therefore, social progress is the consequence of reducing all the social harms existing in it. It is thus appropriate to say that by reducing these problems in American society, then we can say that America is progressing. Thus, the best way to look into the progress of a society is when these problems are reduced or eliminated. A progressive society is one where its people can afford all the basic needs and stay healthy. When people are sick, homeless, and dying, one cannot consider that societal progress at all.
The other way, societal progress will be discussed is in terms of the moral structures in a certain community. This includes looking at moral issues like fairness, self-determination, equity, equality, as well as democracy. Here, societal progress may be defined as a way of introducing reforms to the institutions with the ability to ensure these features are promoted. Therefore, societal progress is all about reforming the institutions that are unjust as well as eliminating the unjust practices. Progress cannot be linked to a society that is unfair and denies the citizens of their freedom. For example, recently, African Americans were fighting against police brutality and unnecessary killing of Blacks by the police. Here, society is not progressing because of the injustice other people are experiencing. When the government denies people the right to free speech, then this is a big problem. When the judiciary is unjust, this denies people justice and fairness. In this case, society is not progressing. From this perspective, a society is said to experience progress when its people are freer and there is justice.
Various theorists have come up with ways of explaining how social progress can be achieved. The two competing theories that describe societal progress are those of "societal decline" and "infinite perfectibility". According to these theories, one views the society as infinitely perfectible as societies are moving towards a utopian goal. On the other hand, another theory views progress as something that is positive for the survival of human beings but ones it has been achieved it brings about diminishing returns and starts affecting people negatively. Although both have their advantages, one of them is more beneficial and logical today as compared to the other. Cities are trying to achieve utmost perfection to achieve the highest benefit. Therefore all the inventions that people are coming up with are helping to make life better. For instance, in the quest to reduce environmental pollution, electric cars are now being used in some parts of the world. At the same time, other theorists saying that progress is important for human survival. The example used of the way technology has grown over time is classic. While technology allows us to do things better to get more benefits, it has come to a point where it is working against us. Self-driving cars, machinery, among other developments are taking away jobs from people.
However, the theory that makes more sense today talks about societies being infinitely perfectible. The need to achieve utopia for societies is something good and not bad. Utopia can be achieved and it should not be something to look at as a disadvantage. As we move towards self-driven cars, other opportunities will come up. However, it is clear that although some jobs are vanishing other activities only open the way for better opportunities. Technology has been very useful to all of us in so many ways and should not be seen as a bad thing. This theory is one I consider valid at this point in time because technological advancement cannot be stopped or slowed down. This is societal progress because it has made society better.
Because of technology, food production has improved; there is efficiency in the way things are being done today because of computers and other computer software. Learning is becoming simpler by the day because one can live in one country and study in another. Perfection can thus be attained in societies. In this case, progress is a positive thing that should be celebrated rather than be seen as a bad thing or something aimed at causing harm. People are working day and night to invent better and more ways of making society better. Progress only means better food, health care, environment, transportation, among other good things. Progress in society is inevitable and so the theory of societal decline as explained by theorists like Spengler does not make sense to me.
Following the above discussion, we view social progress differently all the time. What one may consider being progress may not be progress for another person. Some look at financial prosperity as progress. On the other hand, others view good health as progress. Well, at an individual level, this is okay. As a society, the financial prosperity of one person may not be that of the other. Social progress is only when all people are able to reach their maximum potential and achieve the best life possible. If one person can achieve good things, others can do so as well. It is evident that the concept of progress in the society closely relate with growth and development of the respective society.
In this case, diverse facets of the society that people live in today as well as various ideologies as well as concepts linked with the society have been examined. It is noted that the concept of social progress in sociology have the ability to meet the needs of the people. At this point, it is clear that the society initiates the building blocks and thus ensuring better society as well as quality lives. It is evident that societal progress is measured in terms of moral values such as equality, selflessness and democracy within the community. The concept of progress in the society is all about having the best life possible. This has been achieved through invention and advancement of technology, controlling of environmental pollution, implementation of complex machines, self-driven cars as well as creation of more job opportunities. Improvements of dieting, better health care has also become a greater move towards improving people's life in the society.
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