ISSUE-130

To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.


How to understand the most important characteristics of a society? Some point to its major cities and argue that the answer must lie within the metropolis. Yet, it remains an unsubstantiated premise that the most important characteristics of a society exists in the first place. While I agree that some very important characteristics can found in major cities, there are other important aspects of a society that cannot be ignored and are hidden elsewhere outside the cities.


To begin with, I admit that cities preserve many important characteristics of a society because normally it is in major cities where most people live. Therefore, governments must be based in cities and resources such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure and so on, are understandably concentrated in the cities as well. For example, the best universities in the world are often within or near a major population center, such as London, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Shanghai, and Beijing. As a result, if one wants to study how the political system of a society functions, he or she must look at the cities.


However, not all important characteristics can be found in the cities because there are a considerable number of population living outside major cities. In China, for example, more than half of the population still live in the rural areas. It means that one cannot fully understand the economic and political philosophy of China until the rural areas are examined. Furthermore, perhaps it is very obvious that in order to know agriculture, the foundation of a healthy-functioning economy, we have to leave the cities and go to the field. Sitting in a city office would not reveal the productions and yielding of crops. So in my opinion the countryside also have some equally, if not more, important characteristics compared to the major cities.


Finally, only studying big cities may produce a very biased view. Even in the United States where urbanization and industrialization reach a significantly higher level, the rural areas still play a very important role in the nation. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, for instance, is largely made possible by voters in the countryside. Hence, if an observer of the election only studies major cities, he or she will certainly reach at the wrong conclusion.


Therefore, cities are important population centers and therefore contain useful information about the society. But cities alone cannot fully reveal all of the society’s most important characteristics. We need to study the rural areas as well.

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