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Lecture 8

SOCI 3401 Lecture 8: Rigging the Game Chapter8Summary

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SOCI 3401

Social Inequality Chapter 8 Summary - Escaping the Inequality Trap ● One sociological argument to fix inequality is to develop our science and technology so that we can eventually create an abundance of everything needed to live a full, rewarding human life. The historical record tends to disagree. ○ Once societies began to reliably generate surplus, people fought over who could grab the most of the surplus. ○ Modern industrial technology has made it possible to provide everyone with food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education, even though the U.S. does not do a good job of providing those to everyone. ■ The problem is with how our capacity is used and with how resources are distributed. ● Freeing the Imagination ○ We can free the imagination by learning about other cultures and the history of how things today came to be. ■ Most often this happens accidentally, when people encounter surprising facts or ideas that shake up their inherited worldviews. ■ A few hours of reading can make a start towards making the TINA claim to inequality seem silly. ■ The problem is getting a critical mass of people to believe that change is possible and better alternatives can be created. ● Humanizing Others ○ Imagine how we would treat those less fortunate than us if we treated them like they were members of our families instead of just “other” people. ○ It often takes a powerful emotional experience- such as witnessing the suffering of a real person- to break down the definition of others as “Others.” ○ We need to overcome the definitions of reality that impede our ability to empathize in order to truly help and feel for others. ● Questioning Contradictions ○ Americans tend to not take democracy, equal opportunity, etc. seriously. We can’t be taking it seriously if inequality is still woven throughout the U.S. ● New Rules of the Game ○ Humans are as capable of being greedy a
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