Ch 8 about Social Stratification 2nd Edition Brym

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Sheldon Ungar

2008 Stratification 1 J Brym Chapter 8 p. 227-259 Patterns of Social Inequality Economic Inequality in Canada }L}Z]LZoo]L2}Z]Zo]Ll}Z]ZZZ]L2ZZ] [ o People selling body parts are almost invariably poor, people buying them are invariably rich o poor people suffer illnesses that could be cured by organ transplantation, but majority of them are donors anyway - less likely to be offered transplants Materialism: the attempt to satisfy needs by buying products or experiences Purchasing power of families rose because economic productivity enhanced by improvements in }lZ[Zl]ooZL ZL}o}2L KL o Recently avg earnings are increasing at a slower rate J demand for reduced taxes an issue Quintile: aka groups Economic prosperity and materialism are not equally shared A bunch of stats are listed following, but main idea is that rich people are getting more, poor are getting less income (before taxes though) After tax income did not change as much too J rich people had slightly lower income and the others rose modestly, but the poor did not show the greatest rise in income During last decades, redistributive efforts declined J poor had lowest after tax income in 2002, rich showed increase in after tax income Explanations of Income Inequality The job a person holds plays a large role in the distribution of income Some people earn unusually high salaries bc they have natural talent at activities that are widely admired, also equipped with unusual determination and hard work Rewards follow only when talent and effort are refined into a particular skill o Who can do that depends on their learning environment o Many skills are relative, need recognition and encouragement for development Success at education is the key to acquiring economically valued skills Occupational structure moving to a more mature knowledge-driven economy Individuals must supply talent and effort to accumulate human capital (useful knowledge and skills) but also depends on those their families accumulated Human Capital Theory Stresses increasing centrality of education as a factor affecting economic success Better-educated workers are more skilled and productive in these jobs J made investments in acquiring knowledge o However, ppl with the same human capital can receive different rewards Reason: they possess different amounts of social capital ~Z}}o[ZL}lZ} connections) to help them attain opportunities A related version is the idea of cultural capital (set of social skills people have, ability to impress others, use language and images effectively and to influence and persuade people) Families higher in the social hierarchy enjoy more capital of all types Connections and culture get you the job influence who gets an interview 2008 Natural Talent = Rewards Natural Talent + Effort = Rewards Natural Talent + Effort + Skill-rich Environment + Developed Skills = Rewards Natural Talent + Effort + Skill-rich Environment + Developed Skills + Social and Cultural Capital = Rewards Income versus Wealth Opportunism, business acumen and family fortune key determinants of wealth JoZ]Lo]]L ZZZo]L L}K[-[ Only a modest correlation exists between income and wealth o Some wealthy people have low annual incomes o Some people with high incomes have little accumulated wealth o @Z}]L }KKL}ZKZ}Z}K}L[Zoo]L2 Income and Poverty Homeless one manifestation of poverty Poverty lacks an agreed definition Should it be defined absolutely or relatively? o AbsolutelyJ inadequate to acquire basic necessities of life O ZZZL]oZ[LZ}LoZLE2KLZ O this depends on the social context Eg. Poverty in Ethiopia vs Canada O LoZ]L2]ZL ZZ]]L L[Z }od climate but not Ethiopia o Relatively J 2 questions are central: relative to what and how relative? O Defined more narrowly in term of economic measures (income) or more broadly with respect to community standards (safety of working conditions) O If defined narrowly, how relative should it be? One-third of average income, one-half etc.. Should it be defined on the basis of income or consumption? o Since bare essentials core idea, makes good sense to ask about and measure poverty as the cost of purchasing bare essentials o Deprivation occurs when people cannot acquire essentials not necessarily when income is too low o Income + consumption are correlated In one sense, definition of poverty applies little to a homeless man sleeping on top of a hot air vent vs those in the immediate experience of poverty (ie single parents) because social policies are enacted (acted out) or not based on levels and trends in poverty so the definition of poverty applies to them Social policy has a profound impact on distribution of opportunities and rewards in Canada o They can reshape distribution of income and the system of inequality through tax policies and welfare benefits }}}o)o]oL}2}[ ]}L }[Z}]L2Z}}LZ]Z2}]L2K}nt of them = beneficial to their cause
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