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Frank Parkin : Value and Conflicts in Modern Societies

In his book, Class inequality and Political order – Social stratification in Capitalist and Communist societies ,Parkin examines social sources for the stability of modern societies. He goes on to examine the normative order in modern societies .He argues that there are differences in values and in consciousness between groups in society. He distinguishes three meaning system or ways in which values are organized.

Dominant groups in society have a dominant value system which provides the moral framework ,the leading ideas for society.

The subordinate value system is generated  in other ( subordinate ) groups and provides members with ways of  accommodating to the unpalatable facts of inequality and low status without necessarily accepting them.

The radical value system  provides an alternative moral framework for society; it provides a blue print for reorganizing society on the basis of a different set of principles. He sees workers participation in trade unions ,their willingness to utilize what Dahrendorf calls the rules of the game and their struggle for higher wages ,as reflecting a subordinate value system because they are trying to secure improvements within the present system. A radical value system involves thinking of ways to change the system.

Parkin discuss inequality and political ideology in capitalist societies.He examines the extent to which social democratic parties for example in Britain have influenced the reward structure in society by reducing serious inequalities. He looks at available statistical information such as the extent of social self –recruitment,the amount of upward mobility,the percentage of grammar school children of working class origin, changes in the average earnings of occupational groups over a period of time and welfare expenditure as a proportion of total production. These sources prove that they have not brought about any basic change in the class nature of inequality. Parkin discusses countries of the socialist type and compares them to  capitalist societies again by means of a variety of available statistics. On this basis he argues that its inequalities are therefore not accurately described as a class system. He further discusses the contrast between command systems and market systems. In socialist societies ,the distribution of rewards is performed by the political machinery, the command system and market systems. In socialist societies , the distribution of rewards is basically performed by the political machinery, the command system,whereas  in capitalist societies , the marker mechanisms of supply and demand dominate the distribution of rewards in society. Parkin suggests that though the command system  creates some powerful political position for individuals , it is clear to subordinate groups in such systems where power resides and who is responsible for the distribution of rewards and the creation of inequalities . In market systems, there is no such open ness of responsibilities or decision making; dominant groups can operate more easily because they are more secreative in their own interest.