SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Redistribution Of Income And Wealth, Savings Account, Progressive Tax

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Published on 11 Jun 2012
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SOCA01-Chapter 8
Social Stratification: Canadian and Global Perspectives
Patterns of Social Inequality
Shipwreck and Inequality:
-social inequality can be compared to a shipwreck
Ex. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe
-about an Englishman marooned on an island
-his hard work turns the island into a thriving colony
-portrays the work ethic of capitalism
-believed that people get rich if they possess virtues of good business people
Ex. Swept Away
-opposite of Robinson Crusoe
-rich woman treats deckhands rudely, gets shipwrecked w/ one of them, they fall in
love but when they are rescued they return to how they were before
-movie sends 4 messages that contrast w/ the theme’s of Robinson Crusoe
1. You don’t have to work hard to be rich b/c you can inherit wealth
2. Hard work does not always make you rich
3. Something about the structure of society causes inequality (b/c class inequality only
disappears on the deserted island)
-unequal power b/w sexes
4. Inequality has many interrelated dimensions, including class, sex, and race, and
different contexts highlight different conditions of power and exploitation
Ex. Titanic
-at first, the theme is that class differences are important
-as the tragedy unfolds a different theme emerges
-under some circumstances, class differences can be erased
-therefore it can be an optimistic tale that holds out hope for society in which
class differences no longer matter (“American Dream”)
Economic Inequality in Canada:
-idea that money is power is a perennial theme”everything has a price”
-thus selling of sperm, ova, and blood is more common
-global organ shortage has encouraged the sale of organs, esp. in India
-has also stimulated the use of organs from executed prisoners esp. in China
-people selling body parts are almost invariably poor
-people buying body parts are invariably rich
-an increasing number of wealthy people (although not common) take their surgeons
to poor countries to buy organs to prolong their life
-in N.A. esp. the US, poor people more likely to suffer illness that could be alleviated by organ
transplantation than the rich
-also less likely to be offered transplant opportunities
-poor don’t have adequate private health insurance
-poor also more likely to be donors
-the sale of organs is not banned b/c argue that it might cost buyers their life and also infringe
on the autonomy of sellers
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-materialism: attempt to satisfy needs by buying products or experiences
-defining characteristic of modern society
-economic prosperity has made Canada one of the best countries to live in
-can be seen in the average income of Canadian families from 1950-2006
-purchasing power of families rose
-due to enhanced productivity, improved worker’s skills, advances in
technology
-however, average earnings have increased at a slower rate more recently
-economic prosperity and materialism not equally shared
-the concept of the share of income held by each quintile is frequently used to investigate
income inequality
-allows researchers to determine whether inequality is growing or shrinking
-among rich countries, income inequality is lowest in Sweden and highest in the US
-Canada is b/w these two extremes
-income inequality has changed little b/w 1951 and 2005 in Canada
-income inequality has widened in most rich countries but not by much in Canada
Explanations or Income Inequality:
-the job a person holds plays a large role
-some jobs not only pay less but have restricted hours of work or periods of unemployment
-thus, income inequality depends on what kinds of work a person can obtain
-some people earn high salaries b/c they have natural talents at activities that are widely
admired
-ex. Jerome Iginla, Victoria Bertram, Shanaia Twain, Mike Weird
-although talent and effort matter, they only pay off when they are reined to particular skills
-many skills are relativepeople can only develop to the level of those to whom they are
exposed
-ex. Tennisrequires stiff competition to develop skills
-many skills require recognition and encouragement for development
-when individuals begin to participate in formal education, what they encounter varies in
compatibility w/ earlier experiences, mostly gained w/ family members
-success at formal schooling is the key to acquiring economically valued skills
-since Industrial Revolution, more jobs require formal education
-majority of income earners able to think critically, communicate persuasively, reason
logically, and work creatively
-affects the occupation they hold and their incomes
-importance of education as a determinant of occupation and income continues to increase
-the chances of advancing in educational systems is higher for people born into families that
are relatively more educated
-individuals must supply talent and effort to accumulate human capital
-but, rates of success also depend on human capital accumulated by their family in
previous generations
Human Capital theory:
-stresses the increasing centrality of education as a factor affecting economic success
-productivity gains can also result from investment in the skills and abilities of people
-knowledge intensive jobs are increasingly numerous in Canada
-better educated workers are more skilled and productive in these jobs
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Document Summary

Social inequality can be compared to a shipwreck. His hard work turns the island into a thriving colony. Believed that people get rich if they possess virtues of good business people. Rich woman treats deckhands rudely, gets shipwrecked w/ one of them, they fall in love but when they are rescued they return to how they were before. Unequal power b/w sexes: inequality has many interrelated dimensions, including class, sex, and race, and different contexts highlight different conditions of power and exploitation. At first, the theme is that class differences are important. As the tragedy unfolds a different theme emerges. Under some circumstances, class differences can be erased. Therefore it can be an optimistic tale that holds out hope for society in which class differences no longer matter ( american dream ) Idea that money is power is a perennial theme everything has a price . Thus selling of sperm, ova, and blood is more common.

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