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Canada (162,168)
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SOC102H1 (285)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Class, Poverty, and Economic Inequality Chapter 2 of Social Problems.

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Lorne Tepperman

Chapter 2Class Poverty and Economic InequalityIntroductionEconomic inequality large differences in income and wealth across individuals and groups within a society differences in the economic power of nationsSociological take poverty and inequality are important public issues o Become named problems with supposed causes and effects through the efforts of claimsmakers It takes a sociological imagination to see how poverty and inequality connects to issues of ideology governance and powerMarx introduced the notion of social class o Stressed that people always organize oppositionally around their relation to the means of productiono Those who own it will enjoy the greatest power the control over available jobs o The restproletarianswill have to sell their time and labour power to capitalists to earn wages that allow them to survive o Capitalists will pay the workers as little as possible and sell the product for as high a price as possiblemaximum profitClasses are groups of people who share a common economic condition interest or relationship to the means of production technology and capitalTwo main classesbinary fundamental to all social relations since these two classes are forever locked in conflictHigh prices low wages and poor working conditions are not good for workers o So they strugglethrough unions cooperatives legislation and other meansto improve their wages working conditions job security and the prices they have to pay for food shelter and health carePeople in the same relation should band together o Workers to protect their wages and working conditions o Employers to protect their profit and control o For this to happen the people must develop an awareness of their common interestcommit themselves to working together for common goals and come to see their individual wellbeing as connected to the collective wellbeing of their classcapitalist class system will produce monopolies of wealth and everincreasing inequality globalization and imperialism overproduction and recurrent financial crisisthose at the bottom will be impoverished desperate and willing to do almost anything to surviveemployers may prevent formation of unions or discussions of worker concernslegislators may make laws that give the employers more power in the event of a conflictpolicemilitary may be used to break strikesunions and representatives may not agree on how best to promote workers interestsworkers may suffer from false consciousness an acceptance of the discourse and value of the dominant class and thus a willingness to believe arguments that promote individualistic solutions to problems or that blamethe poor and unemployed for their problemsworkers may also be alienated from politicscannot trust unionsoppressed classes can bring about change only after they become aware of their position in relation to the ruling class and their historic rolehowever it is no longer necessary to own a business to control the means of production and the working class today is international a result of global ownership and economic competitionfunctional theory of stratification DavisMooremaintains that most people in most industrial societies agree about the relative social value of particular roles eg A doctor is worth more in society than a store clerk o however this theory fails to considerwhy the different between toppaid and bottompaid workers is widewhy the range of salaries is much wider in one capitalist society than it is in otherswhy some people get high salaries regardless of whether they confer a social benefit movie starsnot all inequality is due to exploitation in the form that Marx imagined some are the
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