The main sociological concepts of Western economic schools in the 50s, 70s and 90s of the XX century

The emergence and formation of economic sociologists in world science was the result of a long process of sociologization of economic science throughout its development. Even A. Smith developed a theory of man and his needs, incentives for action, motivation of behavior. In a sense, the history of Western economic thought is the history of the gradual expansion of the social background against which the development of the economy is considered. This expansion was stimulated by the limitations of the theory of free enterprise (free competition), developed by the classical school of the English economist D. Ricardo (1772-1823) and his followers. As the inadequacy of their approach became apparent, economists expanded their understanding of the range of factors limiting free competition involved in the regulation of economic development.

Among these factors, an increasing place was occupied by social, political, moral, religious. According to the English economist A. Marshall (1842-1924), a large army of economists during the XIX and XX centuries stubbornly searched for the roots of those motives that most strongly and most steadily affect the behavior of a person in the economic sphere of his life. The sphere of life, which is of particular interest to economic science, is the one where a person’s behavior is deliberate, where he most often calculates the benefits and disadvantages of any particular action.

There are several major sociological problems, as it were, permeating many concepts of Western economic schools. This is, first of all, the nature of the motivation of economic behavior, the ratio of freedom and regulation in it; the role of the various constraints on free enterprise; the relationship between the “economic man” and the state; problems of the “corporate spirit” of business, the role of social institutions – politics, property, family, etc. – in economic life.

In the first quarter of the twentieth century, the problems of interest to us began to be actively developed within the framework of sociology, both general (E. Durkheim, D. Small, and others) and particular (E. Mayo, J. Friedman, and others). In the middle
In the 50s, an independent scientific direction was singled out, called “sociology of economic life” or “economic sociology”. In the formation of its current state, three stages can be distinguished.