Social institutions – government, economy, health and medicine | MCAT | Khan Academy

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.


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