Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (160,000)
UTSC (20,000)
Sociology (1,000)
SOCA01H3 (400)
Chapter 8

SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Redistribution Of Income And Wealth, Cultural Capital, Working Poor

Course Code
Sheldon Ungar

of 5
People with the same amount of human capital may receive eedifferent economic rewards
because they possess different amounts of SOCIAL CAPITAL.
Social capital: the networks or connections that individuals possess
Individuals are more likely to succeed if they have strong bonds of trust, cooperation,
mutual respect and obligation with well positioned individuals or families
Knowing the right people/strong links helps finding opportunities and taking advantage
Cultural Capital: is the stock of knowledge, tastes, and habits that legitimate the
maintenance of status and powers
Comprisesn the set of social skills people have: their ability to impress others, to use
tasteful language and images effectively, and thus to influence and persuade people
Cultural capital emphasizes your impression management skills and your ability to
influence others
These two factors emphasize being part of the right social club
Connections and culture help you find a good job and influences who gets the interview.
Natural talent and effort are important (for a few occupations)
Level of education is a critical factor in finding continuous, well paying employment
Social and cultural capital are consequential for many people in finding economic
Income vs. Wealth
Spending a million dollars = 1000 dollars a day
Spending a billion dollars? You couldn’t spend the entire sum in your lifetime
Very few families acquire the great wealth of major business enterprises
Most families own some assets that add up to greater or esser family wealth
Wealth inequality is thus increasingly rapidly in Canada (not as much as in United
o 62 percent of increase in national wealth went to the richest 1 percent of
Americans, largest wealth inequality
o Annual income is not the best measure of people’s well being
o Policies that seek to redistribute income from wealthy to the poor will not get to
the root of economic inequality
Due to the income redistribution has little effect on the distribution of
Income and Poverty
Bottom of income distribution = homeless
Homelessness = manisfestation of poverty
Absolute definition of poverty: focuses on bare essentials, poort families have
inadequate resources for acquiring the basic necessities of life (food, shelter and
Social policy has a profound impact on the distribution of opportunities and rewards in Canada
Politics reshape the distribution of income and the system ofinequality by changing the
laws governing people’s right to own property, entitling people to various welfare
benefits etc…
A definition of poverty showing fewer poor Canadians implies little need for
government action
For politicians and political parties supporting the poort, a efinition of poverty showing
a growing proportion of poor people is beneficial to their cause
Canada does not have an official definition of poverty
It is replaced with the term low income cutoff
o Statistic canada’s term for the income threshold below which a family devotes at
elast 20 percent more of its income to the necessities of food shelter and clothing
than an average family would, likely resulting in straitened circumstances
Myths about the poor
1. People are poor because they don’t want to work
a. This myth ignores the fact that many of Canada’s poor cannot work because of
disability or because inadequate childcare services leaving them no
alternative but to take care of their young children
b. Many poor people work full time and work part time
c. The # of minimum wage workers continue to increase (6%)
d. Low minimum wages ensure low income and poverty
2. Most poor people are immigrants
a. Individuals and family heads generally experience poverty at lower rates than
native born Canadians do
b. Higher poverty rates are evident among more recenet immigrants who are less
well established
c. Their economic standing tends to improve the longer they stay in the country
3. Most poor people are trarpped in poverty
a. 92 percent of people with low income in any given year escape poverty in less
than 2 years
b. 20.1 percent of Canadians who experienced one or more years of low income
over a five year period
c. Those who experience low income for at least one year spent 2.8 years or about
one half of the total period in poverty.
d. Poverty is a result of unstable family finances
Explaining poverty
Individual level explanations focus on the attributes of poor people, asking how they
differ from people who are not poor
This type of explanation focuses on causes that lie within the person
Someone is poor because of personal characteristic (low intelligence or behaviour
Individual attributes explain a small amount of poverty (disabilities = have a high risk of
living in poverty. However not all people with a disability live in poverty, people who
live in poverty are not all disabled)
Peoples attitudes also affect poverty = poor families adopt child rearing practices that
encourage low self esteem, weak motivation to achieve, an inability to delay
gratification, lack of self discipline, a poor work ethic and other characteristics that
cause poverty to persist
However this in accurate and confuses cause and effect
FACT: many poor people work hard, strive to get ahead and teach their children to value
Low wage jobs that exist in the economy does not provide enough for people to escape
Social policy can be seen as a factor in the poverty level
o Minimum wage legislation is thus a social policy that creates the working poor
o Tax system: A higher proportion of income is paid in tax as incomes rise
Theories of Stratification
Conflict perspectives: Marx: FEUDALISM
Medieval western Europe: peasants worked small plots of land from land lords
Peasants were legally obliged to give their landlords a set part of the harvest and to
continue working for them under any circumstance
Landlords were required to protect peasants from marauders
They were also obliged to open their storehouses and feed the peasants if crops failed
Feudalism: a legal arrangement in preindustrial Europe that bound peasants to the land
and obliged them to give their land lords a set part of the harvest. IN exchange, landlords
were required to protect peasants from marauders and open their storehouses to feed if
the peasants failed.
By the late 15th century, several forces were ebginning to undermine feudalism
The growth of exploration and trade increased the demand for many goods and services
in commerce, navigation and industry
17th and 18th century: Some urban craftsmen and merchants had opened small
manufacturing enterprises and saved enough capital to expand production
o To increase profits, they needed more workers *problem*
o Feudalism had to wither if agricultural peasants were to become industrial
o Example: Scotland enterprising landowners recognized they could make more
money raising sheep and selling wool than by having their peasants till the soil.
o They turned their cropland into pastures forcing peasants off the land and into
the cities
Marx’s view: relations between workers and industrialists first encouraged rapid
technological change and economic growth
Industrial owners wanted to adopt new tools, machines and production methods so they
could produce more efficiently and earn higher profits
Such innovation had unforeseen consequences
o Some owners were driven out of business by more efficient competitors and
were forcered to become members of the working class with the peasants