Evolution is then from traditional to modern societies, and progress can be charted via the development (structural differentiation) of evolutionary universals such as bureaucratic organization, money and market complexes, stratification, and the emergence of generalized universalistic norms. Each of these enables a society to adapt more efficiently to its environment (see ‘Evolutionary Universals in Society’, American Sociological Review, 1964
). Critics have argued that, at this level of abstraction, Parsonsian theory is simply a vast taxonomy, is therefore untestable, and says little more than the obvious.
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