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Lecture 11

Lecture 11

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Sheldon Ungar

Lecture 11 Social Stratification (Part B) The Functional Theory of Stratification It argues that inequality is useful and inevitable This theory is wrong in a certain way and it is not liked by leftist because of what it argues. Is inequality inevitable? Inequality does seem inevitable. As soon as you get a surplus inequality comes to existence. Examples: 1. Kibbutz in Israel: -Initially small agricultural communities, small scale attempt to create equality. -They tended to separate children from their parents. They tried to break the parent-children link because most of inequality is passed down through family; this fell down quickly. If you want to get rid of inequality you have to get rid of family as we know it. -They rotated positions because if you keep rotating then you have no position of power. What happened is that some people were just better at doing certain things, so over time they started reappointing people which wasnt the original plan. So leader parents passed on advantages to kids by a halo effect. 2. Soviet Union & communism: -Planned to do as much as possible to create equality. -Everyone was supposed to get very similar wages; the wage gap was only 10:1. Now, why get the responsibility of being the director of the factory if you get the same pay as the cleaning guy? -Members of the communist party had more power, if you had this power you converted into wealth. The leaders had country houses, cars, specialized Western goods shops, and they could travel. -Once you had power and wealth, you translated that into status -The children of the leaders went to best schools. That is when you get real stratification when things are passed on. Otherwise, the inequality is wiped out when you die. Emergence of inequality Inequality in power (from large-scale organizations) is translated into status and economic outcomes e.g. military: being a general is not an easy task; we are not all made to be generals. The Functional Argument -Some jobs (e.g. physician) are more functionally important than others (e.g. janitor). This is not a bad theory; it is conservative but still wouldnt throw it out. -Functionally important jobs require more training. e.g. it is easier to train a janitor than a physician. To motivate people to make the sacrifices necessary to train for important jobs, they must receive large rewards for their work. e.g. 1 Doctors: lots of school, income they forgo while they study, long work hours, never really stop studying. Thus, a good paying job e.g. 2 Airline pilots: lots of practise hours, many years before they fly the bigger planes, unstable schedule. Thus, good pay and lots of perks Critique of Functionalism 1. Establishing the best In Functionalism the position is open to best person, a talented and qualified person of any group. But how do you assess the best? www.notesolution.come.g. 2 Is the best doctor the one with the highest grades? For doctors there is a bunch of other things that come into the equation interpersonal relationships, placebo effect, etc. Often you dont know who the best person is. e.g. 1 Roosevelt C marks but great leadership 2. How determine which jobs are most functionally important i.e. contribute more? Imagine a strike and use the following criteria to judge functional importance: -Time to impact: How long does it take before the strike is felt? -Criticality: How significant the impact is? -Replaceability: How easy is it to replace them? Time to impact Criticality Replaceability Money made TTC A day or two Fairly critical $$ Civil servants Months Low Fairly easy $-$$ Doctors Days Fairly critical Long time to replace $$$$$$ Fairly easy Very critical typically bring in the Police Minutes, hours (bank robberies, military (trained to $$$$ traffic lights) shoot though) Garbage collectors Weeks Critical Extremely easy $ (shorter in summer) Quite critical Truck drivers Days (food and gas Fairly easy $$$ delivery) Borderline, you want Hockey players Forever Very low $$$$$$$$$$$ the stars 3. Rewards: -Much wealth is inherited -Legacy positions: the elite or children of former students inherit the position (e.g. Harvard) -Occupations preserve scarcity -use power to limit access -credentialism -Disproportionate rewards, even if the occupation is important they demand too much -Particular Baseball player 20 millyear What is fair? -How much more rewards do you need to motivate the best people to fill the most important positions? 10 times more? 100? 1000? In 1988, 93 times more. In 1999, 419 times more. -CEO making more money even though their company is going bankrupt -CEOs vs. production workers struggle -Trickle theory doesnt work; money was being sucked up instead -Tiger Woods $2.5 million to show up at a tournament. Is he worth it? Yes he is! More TV audience and more people show up; thus, more money Equity model: Ungar believes in this theory OaIa = ObIb = K -a,b: people or groups -O: outcomes
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