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Lecture 10

SOC100H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Unemployment Benefits, Mark Zuckerberg, Working Poor

Course Code
Jayne Baker

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SOC100: Stratification
Chapter 6
Stratification and Inequality
Stratification: “The way society is organized in layers or strata.”
Stratification: “A society’s hierarchical ranking of people into social classes.”
How this affects people’s lives
Stratification: the idea of layers or strata's
In our society we have a hierarchy with some who have more and others who have less
Stratification is linked to social inequality
Social inequality is the position on the ladder and how that affects how we live our life, the
opportunities we have, the choices we make, the impact of our position on the ladder
In sociology: SES (socioeconomic status)
- Income
- Wealth
- Occupational prestige
- Years of schooling
Class: many ppl think of income, but in sociology its not only about income bc if we only think
of income we are forgetting about socio economic status. Both a lawyer and a drug lord can
make millions a year.
Occupational prestige how prestige ur occupation is and years of schooling is measurement of ur
educational level
- The assets you own like a house, a car, furniture, savings and etc. This all enhances your sense
of well being
- Wealth can give you political influence, like campaign contributions to political parties and
donation to political causes can increase the chance that policies you favour will become law
- Wealth even improves ur wealth bc you can afford to engage in leisure pursuits, turn of stress,
consume high quality food, and employ good medical services. You are likely to live longer and
healthier than those without these advantages
- Thus in conclusion the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer
- Is the amount of money earned from a job in a given period
- The average number of earners increased drastically as more women entered the labour force
- Canadian families earn more than they did 60 years ago bc of how productive they are. The
average worker is skilled and using more technology to produce more goods and services
Income in Canada (Figure 6.1 on pg 119)
- Income in Canada: those in the higher quintile are earning more than those in the lower quintiles
- Those in top 20% saw an increase of their income, while those on the bottom decreased
- The income gap bw the rich and poor have been expanding, the rich get richer and the poor get
poorer, this has been the trend for a while, not unique, other countries have that trend too

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- Those who have the highest income in Canada also has the highest taxes
- The govt has a hand in doing some income redistribution, which is by taking money from the
rich and giving it to social programs and those in need of it
- Canada is a welfare state that collects taxes and redistributes them in the form of welfare
payments, employment insurance payments, child tax credits, GST credits and so on
- The richest 5th of Canadians lose about a 5th of their income to tax, while the poorest 5th see their
incomes increase by 2/3rds as a result of govt transfers
- If Canadians relied on the market to distribute income, inequality would be much greater
Canada’s richest 1%
From Statistics Canada:
About 261,000 people in Canada
Earned at least $191,000 per year (compare this to ‘middle-class’ earners--$39,900)
In recent years there has been stagnation in the rise of their income, their income grows but not
as dramatic
Canada’s wealthiest 86
Wealth is again about assets
In order to match the wealth of the 86 wealthy Canadians, you need 11.4 million Canadians for
their to be an equitable amount of wealth in Canada
A tension in ‘social inequality’
Choice vs. family background
Social mobility: Movement up or down the stratification system and change social class
Meritocracy: Achievement based on merit.
We have this idea that we make our own choices, but on the other hand research shows that
there are other factors that influence our individual choices. Like family and economic status
In Canada we think mobility is possible by pursing a higher education, if u have the motivation
and put in the effort and have the talent u will do good in life
Overall you have control over what you can do in life and thus can achieve a high mobility
We know some earn good salaries bc of their natural talent, a gift that sets them apart. But at the
other end some suffer the genetic misfortune of Down syndrome, schizophrenia, autism and
conditions that prevent them from earning high salaries
However sociologists believe that gene plays a minor in determining income
Another important factor is effort, but although diligence and perseverance might be necessary
conditions for rewards they aren’t sufficient, effort alone doesn’t contribute to high income
Training, coaching, schooling are crucial ways in which skills are developed and nurtured. But
education matters as the importance of education in the determinant of occupation and income
continues to increase
Human capital: investment in education and training. Just as productivity increases by
upgrading manufacturing plants and introducing new technology, productivity gains can also
result from investment in the skills and abilities of ppl
Better educated workers are more killed and productive in these jobs bc they have made
investments in acquiring the skills and knowledge essential to our economy
Part of the reason that ppl with same amount of human capital may receive diff economic
rewards is that they posses diff amounts of social capital.
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