Social Problems – Chapter 2
- Economic inequalities – large differences in income and wealth across individuals and groups within a society; difference in the
economic power of nations
- Karl Marx introduced the idea of social class and its relation to poverty and inequality in his social, economic, & philosophical in 19
century. People always organize oppositionally around their relation to the means of production. Some own it, some don’t. In a capitalist
industrial society, those who own the capital and productive technology will control the available jobs. The others – proletarians – will
have to sell their time and labour power to capitalists, to earn wages that allow them to survive.
- Classes – (sociological thinking) – are groups of people who share a common economic condition, interest, or relationship to the means
- According to Marx, there are two classes – those who own the means of production and those who work for the people who own the
means of productions.
- Profit making depends on keeping prices high and wages (and other costs of production) low.
- Workers struggle through unions, co-operatives, legislation, and other means – to improve their wages, working conditions, job security,
and the prices they have to pay for food, shelter, and health care.
- This capitalist class system will have a long-range tendency to produce monopolies of wealth and ever-increasing inequality,
globalization and imperialism, overproduction and recurrent financial crises. Those at the bottom will be impoverished, desperate and
willing to do almost anything to survive.
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