SOC220 Lecture 9 11/21/2012
1. What does it mean to mediate inequality?
- Figuring out the balance, balance and checks
- Fairness, leveling the playing field
- Decisions making on what aspects of inequality we want to deal with over the
- Maintaining a social conversation of difference groups
2. How would you go about doing it?
- Policy implications (government), through adjusting tax policies
- Public awareness, advertising
- Unionization, collective interests building social solidarity (rich and poor)
- (Re)distribution of public resources
- What is the welfare state?
- What types of welfare state are there?
- What are the real effects of the welfare state on inequality levels?
- Not anti-capital
- Contextualize mediating inequality, how inequality is now and how it is different
among the word (income inequality)
- Income of top earners are growing
- Gini co-efficient, tool to measure income inequality
- 1990s, increase in extremely high incomes, USA, Canada, Ireland, Finland
- OECD, the rise of inequality can be helped through more jobs and good wages
- The richest 1% of Canadians saw their share of total income increase form 8.1%
in 1980 to 13.3% in 2007
- Total income of the richest 0.1% more than doubled, form 2% to 5.3%
- At the same time, the top federal marginal income tax rates saw a marked
declined: dropping from 43% in 1981 to 29% in 2010
- Gini-coefficient, range 0-1
o 1 = high inequality
o 0 = no inequality
- Comparing different groups in social (Ratio measuring tool)
o Highest 10% vs. the rest (90%)
What is the welfare state?
- The function of the state as it pertains to providing services for its citizens
o Examples: health, security, education, etc
- “The degree to which individuals, or families, can uphold a socially acceptable
standard of living independently of market participation” (1990)
o “Socially acceptable standard”: means that it is relative, collectively
decided o “Independent of market participation”: welfare state as regulating the
effects of market, the market is not perfect, does not economic resources
at a socially optimal level
- How to measure the welfare state?
o Total spending’s: How much the government spends on its citizens
o How money is spent (Allocation of spending)
o Coverage of social programs provided for citizens
o Eligibility: Who qualifies to use these services
Chart on the website:
- There are different ways for providing these services on behalf of states for its
- Great variations of the distribution of income
- When governments spend less money, we tend to see a positive correlation with
inequality (inequality goes down when we spend more money)
What types of welfare state are there?
- Esping-Anderson (1990): 3 kinds
1. Liberal/market (Market)
2. Christian democratic (Family)
3. Social democratic (State)
- How is welfare assigned to: state, market and family?
- The type of welfare state is determined by:
o Decommodification: the extent to which such services are provided
independent of the market
Access to benefits: eligibility rules
Levels of income replacement
Range of entitlements
- Market model
o The conception of the individual as a single entity
o A market participant
o Seek benefits through market programs