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final essay_Essay - DSOC 1101 Socioeconomic Status and...

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DSOC 1101 Socioeconomic Status and Mortality: the Individual versus Society Lantz et al. (1998) concluded that health risk behaviors do not explain the negative correlation between the mortality rate and socioeconomic status. Even though there are large differences in health behavior across the socioeconomic strata, these differences do not account for a majority of the inequality. Lantz et al. (1998) argue that there are occupational and environmental health hazards along with inequality in access to healthcare that could account for the strong association between mortality and socioeconomic status. It is possible to examine these findings using the individualist and social paradigms, which offer contrasting views on the relationship between the individual and society. The individualist paradigm states that the individual is responsible for his behavior and that there is nothing greater than the individual in society. On the other hand the social paradigm asserts that the surroundings dictate an individual’s behavior and actions; the individual is still able to make choices, but is constrained by lack of opportunity. While the economic paradigm and the social paradigm contradict, it is possible to use both of them to explain the correlation between human mortality and social processes. However the economic paradigm is inadequate because it blames the high mortality rate on the health behavior of the individual, which, according to Lantz et al. (1998) is incorrect. Conversely, the social paradigm avers that the strong association arises from the stresses and issues that come from being in a lower socioeconomic class, supporting the conclusion that Lantz et al. (1998) draw. To be able to understand why the individualist paradigm falls short in explaining the negative correlation between socioeconomic status and mortality, one must have a comprehensive understanding of the paradigm itself. The individualist paradigm, also known as the economic paradigm, is the child of economist Adam Smith. He argued that
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This essay was uploaded on 02/20/2009 for the course DSOC 1101 taught by Professor Hirshel during the Fall '07 term at Cornell.

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final essay_Essay - DSOC 1101 Socioeconomic Status and...

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