Textbook Notes (369,133)
Canada (162,403)
Sociology (152)
SOCI 100 (54)
Chapter

Global Stratification

6 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCI 100
Professor
Debra Pentecost

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The Uses of Global Poverty: How Economic Inequality Benefits the West Original article: Herbert Gans (1971): “The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All” Now, extending functionalist analysis to explain existence of global poverty. 1. Ensure wealth of affordable goods for Western consumers o Low wage work done in low income countries o Allows reasonable pricing - due to low cost labour o Globalized manufacturing process – moved to low wage areas in poor states o Low wages paid to poor migrant farm workers from Mexico in California 2. Benefit Western companies and shareholders in form of increased profit margins o Reducing labour costs  keep prices reasonable (benefits consumer)  raise profit margins o Less costly the workforce, the greater opportunity for profit 3. Fosters access to resources in poor states that are needed or desired in the West o Sell raw goods at low prices and western countries transform the resource into a more valuable finished product o Poor states cant derive full benefit of the resources they possess 4. Helps support Western medical advances o Pool of guinea pigs for the testing of medicines developed for the use primarily in the west o Conducting drug trials on ill inhabitants of poor states o Disease victims are treated as test subjects rather than patients o Help speed new drugs into the marketplace 5. Contributes to advancement of Western economies and societies with human capital o Poor states become intellectual feeders of well-educated and bright individuals whose skills cant be fully rewarded in less developed states o Brain drain – offer attractive opportunities to highly educated workers from poorer states (often pay the foreign workers less than the domestic equivalent) 6. May contribute to pacification of Western proletariat o “Designer” goods that would only be available to the west‟s rich are now available to average income people o Due to low wage workers  goods available to the masses (proletariats) 7. Poor countries make optimal dumping grounds for dangerous, expired, illegal goods o Importation of foreign nuclear waste o Dumping ground for hazardous junk from industrial giants o Potential to earn $$$ in exchange for exposure to such goods/materials 8. Provides jobs for specialists – those that assist, advise, study world‟s poor – or protect “better- off” from them o Goal of bringing western “know-how” to the poor with volunteer programs that promote entrepreneurship and agricultural development 9. Benefits inhabitants in wealthy countries – can feel good about helping global poor through charitable work and giving 10. Poverty of less-developed states makes possible massive flow of resources westward o America consumes a disproportionate share of the world‟s resources o Most world resources flow westward o West benefits form the fact that few can afford to consume at the rate its people do 11. Poorer countries, with higher reproduction rates than Western states, become useful scapegoats for real and potential global environmental threats o Rapid population growth of developing states vs. rapid consumption of resources by developed states? o Overdevelopment may be the bigger threat, but population growth is what‟s usually linked to conditions of underdevelopment o Lack of birth control, need to have „extra‟ children – attractive alternative explanation Phenomena like poverty can be eliminated only when they become dysfunctional for the affluent or powerful or when the powerless can obtain enough power to change society. (Gans 372) Chapter 9: Global Stratification Global stratification – patterns of social inequality in the world as a whole  Concentrated global income Global Stratification High Income Countries  The richest nations with the highest overall standards of living  60 countries  where Industrial Revolution first took place – increased productivity and efficiency  Information Revolution  Canada, US, Western Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia, HK, Japan, South /korea, Australia, New Zealand  ¾ of the people live in or near cities  Produce enough economic goods to enable their people to lead a comfortable material life  Enjoy 60% of world‟s total income  Production is capital intensive – factories, machines, technology  Control world‟s financial markets  Per capita income: $13 000 - $35 000 Middle Income Countries  86 countries  Somewhat poorer than high income countries  Nations with a standard of living about average for the world as a whole  Per capita: $3 000 - $13 000  2/3 of the people live in cities; 1/3 in rural areas (no schools, medical care, housing or safe drinking water)  90% of the world‟s nations fall in this category  Includes countries that once made up the Soviet Union (second world, socialist economies)  Latin America, some of Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, China Low Income Countries  63 countries  Nations with a low standard of living in which most people are poor  Mostly agrarian societies with some industry  Central and East Africa, Asia  High population density  1/3 of the people live in the city  Most inhabit villages and farms  Limited industrial technology  not very productive  Hunger, disease, unsafe housing Advantages of this model:  Focuses on economic development rather than whether a society is capitalist or socialist (first/second/third world)  Gives better picture regarding relative economic development of various countries because it does not lump together all lower-income nations into a single “third world” category Global Wealth and Poverty The Severity of Poverty  Key reason why quality of life differs so much around the world: economic productivity is lowest where population growth is highest  37% of the planet‟s population relies on only 9% of global income Relative vs. Absolute Poverty  Relative poverty – some people lack resources that are taken for granted by others o Exists in every society  Absolute poverty – a lack of resources that is life-threatening o Lack nutrition necessary for health and long term surivival The Extent of Poverty  High death rates in children in Africa – absolute poverty is greatest here  At any given time, 15% of the world‟s population is suffering from hunger  Easing world hunger is one of the most serious challenges facing humanity today Correlates of Global Poverty What accounts for the severe and widespread poverty throughout much of the world? 1. Technology a. Low income countries still farm land using man power and human muscles and animal power b. Limited energy resources 2. Population growth 3. Cultural patterns a. Low income countries  traditional b. Long-established ways of life  resist change 4. Social stratification a. Unequal distribution of wealth in low income nations b. Wide gaps between rich and poor 5. Gender inequality a. Keeps women from holding jobs  means they‟ll have more children  population growth  slows economic development 6. Global power relationships a. Colonialism – the process by which some nations enrich themselves through political and economic control of other nations b. Wealth flowed from low income societies to high income nations through colonialism c. Allowed some nations to develop economically at another‟s expense d. Exploitation continues today through neocolonialism (a new form of global power relationships not direct political control but economic exploitation by multinational corporations) e. Multinational corporation – large business that operates in many countries – corporate leaders impose their will on countries in which they do business to create favorable economic conditions Global Stratification: Theoretical Analysis Two Major Explanations for the unequal distribution of the world’s wealth and power Modernization Theory  Model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of technological and cultural differences between nations  Structural functionalist approach  Turning point: Industrial Revolution in Western Europe and North America and Capitalism
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