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Chapter 12

Sociology 2R03 Chapter 12.docx

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Augie Fleras

Chapter 12 Social inequality matters too Introduction: imagine, no possessions (John Lennon)  All known societies are characterized by inequalities, with the most privileged enjoying a disproportionate share of the total wealth, power, and prestige  More equal societies perform better than more unequal socieities in terms of health, well being, levels of crime, and social cohesion Case study: taxation toward equality?  Two certainties in life: death and taxes  Total tax bill is 43.6% of annual income  The reduction in corporate income tax provides Canadian corporations with the lowest tax rate on new business investment and the lowest statutory tax rate of all G7 countries  The less well-off are increasingly shouldering the burdern of the taxes, although most Canadians believe everyone should pay their fare share Conceptualizing equality: equal VS equity  More equal societies possess higher levels of collaboration, with less status competition, anxieties, an reduced consumerism since people may be less concerned with how they are seen or judged  Equality is used as equivalent to sameness (focuses on due process and legal equivalents)  Equality is used in the sense of numerical or “proportional” equivalence  The concept of equality is directed toward the principle of “different but equal”  Formal equality is concerned with mathematical equivalence and a market-driven means for establishing who gets what o Treats individuals as abstractions  Under substantive equity people’s differences-based needs must be addressed if necessary  Equal opportunity focuses on the rights and individuals to be free from discrimination when competing for the good things in life; operates on the principle that true inequality arises when everyone is treated equally regardless of gender or race  True equality arises when differences and disadvantages are taken into account as a basis for divvying up the goods  A commitment to equal opportunity advocates competition, inequality, and hierarchy as natural and inevitable  An equal outcomes perspective is concerned with controlled distribution and egalitarian conditions for members of a disadvantaged group; recognizes the need to prioritize collective over individual rights when the situation demands its; endorses the principle of social intervention for true equality since equity outcomes are unlikely to materialize from competitive market forces  Equal opportunity paradigm is thought to be insufficient for overcoming the debilitating effects of systemic discrimination and institutional racism  Outcome-oriented equity is not opposed to equal opportunities in defining inequality; a commitment to the principle of equal opportunity constitutes a necessary first step in overcoming entrenched racism and discrimination  Institutions must reflect both inclusion and inclusivity  A commitment to the market/ competition/ inequality to ensure productivity and creativity in addition to a commitment to cooperation and government regulation to ensue inequities are kept to a manageable proportion to ensure the sustainability of people and the environment Canada’s employment equity act: illusions of inclusion? Employment equity as philosophy  The concept of e ployment equity represents a commitment to equality through institutional inclusion  Ensure proportional representation of designated groups throughout all occupational and income levels at numbers consistent with their percentage in the regional workforce  Identify and remove employment practices that systemically or systematically discriminate against identifiable and devalued groups  Acknowledge that true equality involves treating persons in the same way as a matter of course, yet differently through special measures when the situation arises  Remedy the adverse effects of past discrimination Employment equity as government policy  Official government policy with a corresponding set of programs for improving institutional accommodation of targeted minorities  All employers under the Act must ad
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