What do you understand by ‘structural change’? Explain with examples other than those in the text.


-Anushree Ojha, Subject Matter Expert at Edmarz

Solution: Structural change refers to changes in a society’s structure, as well as its institutions and the rules that govern them. The introduction of paper money as a form of currency, for example, signalled a significant shift in the way financial markets and transactions were organised. Prior to this transition, most types of currency were based on precious metals such as gold and silver. The coin’s worth was directly proportional to the amount of gold or silver it contained. The value of a paper currency note, on the other hand, is unrelated to the worth of the paper it is printed on or the cost of printing it.

The concept behind paper money was that a medium or means of facilitating the exchange of goods and services did not have to be intrinsically valued in order to be useful. Almost anything can be used as money as long as it accurately represents values, that is, as long as it inspires trust.

Social change can be triggered by shifts in values and beliefs.

Transformations in beliefs and childhood, for example, have resulted in a variety of social changes. Once upon a time, children were simply thought of as miniature adults. There was no concept of childhood as such, nor were there any connected notions of what was appropriate or inappropriate for children to do.

Children doing work as soon as they are able was regarded as nice and proper as late as the nineteenth century. Children as young as five or six years old were frequently helping their family at work; the early manufacturing system relied heavily on child labour. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, notions of life gained influence for small children to work, and many countries created laws prohibiting child labour.

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