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canadian perspectives

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York University
SOCI 2030
Eytan Lasry

SOCA01Chapter 8Social Stratification Canadian and Global PerspectivesPatterns of Social InequalityShipwreck and Inequality social inequality can be compared to a shipwreck Ex Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe about an Englishman marooned on an island his hard work turns the island into a thriving colonyportrays the work ethic of capitalism believed that people get rich if they possess virtues of good business peopleEx Swept Awayopposite of Robinson Crusoe rich woman treats deckhands rudely gets shipwrecked w one of them they fall in love but when they are rescued they return to how they were beforemovie sends 4 messages that contrast w the themes of Robinson Crusoe1 You dont have to work hard to be rich bc you can inherit wealth 2 Hard work does not always make you rich 3 Something about the structure of society causes inequality bc class inequality only disappears on the deserted island unequal power bw sexes 4 Inequality has many interrelated dimensions including class sex and race and different contexts highlight different conditions of power and exploitationEx Titanicat first the theme is that class differences are importantas the tragedy unfolds a different theme emerges under some circumstances class differences can be erasedtherefore it can be an optimistic tale that holds out hope for society in which class differences no longer matter American DreamEconomic Inequality in Canada idea that money is power is a perennial themeeverything has a price thus selling of sperm ova and blood is more commonglobal organ shortage has encouraged the sale of organs esp in Indiahas also stimulated the use of organs from executed prisoners esp in China people selling body parts are almost invariably poor people buying body parts are invariably rich an increasing number of wealthy people although not common take their surgeons to poor countries to buy organs to prolong their life in NA esp the US poor people more likely to suffer illness that could be alleviated by organ transplantation than the richalso less likely to be offered transplant opportunitiespoor dont have adequate private health insurance poor also more likely to be donors the sale of organs is not banned bc argue that it might cost buyers their life and also infringe on the autonomy of sellers materialism attempt to satisfy needs by buying products or experiences defining characteristic of modern societyeconomic prosperity has made Canada one of the best countries to live incan be seen in the average income of Canadian families from 19502006purchasing power of families rose due to enhanced productivity improved workers skills advances in technology however average earnings have increased at a slower rate more recentlyeconomic prosperity and materialism not equally shared the concept of the share of income held by each quintile is frequently used to investigate income inequalityallows researchers to determine whether inequality is growing or shrinking among rich countries income inequality is lowest in Sweden and highest in the USCanada is bw these two extremes income inequality has changed little bw 1951 and 2005 in Canada income inequality has widened in most rich countries but not by much in CanadaExplanations or Income Inequality the job a person holds plays a large role some jobs not only pay less but have restricted hours of work or periods of unemployment thus income inequality depends on what kinds of work a person can obtainsome people earn high salaries bc they have natural talents at activities that are widely admiredex Jerome Iginla Victoria Bertram Shanaia Twain Mike Weird although talent and effort matter they only pay off when they are reined to particular skillsmany skills are relativepeople can only develop to the level of those to whom they are exposed ex Tennisrequires stiff competition to develop skills many skills require recognition and encouragement for development when individuals begin to participate in formal education what they encounter varies in compatibility w earlier experiences mostly gained w family memberssuccess at formal schooling is the key to acquiring economically valued skillssince Industrial Revolution more jobs require formal education majority of income earners able to think critically communicate persuasively reason logically and work creativelyaffects the occupation they hold and their incomes importance of education as a determinant of occupation and income continues to increasethe chances of advancing in educational systems is higher for people born into families that are relatively more educatedindividuals must supply talent and effort to accumulate human capital but rates of success also depend on human capital accumulated by their family in previous generations Human Capital theory stresses the increasing centrality of education as a factor affecting economic success productivity gains can also result from investment in the skills and abilities of peopleknowledge intensive jobs are increasingly numerous in Canadabetter educated workers are more skilled and productive in these jobs
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