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Chapter 2

A detailed summary of Chapter 2 Class, Poverty, and Economic Inequality from the textbook, Social Problems

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CHAPTER 2: Class, Poverty, and Economic Inequality Economic inequality are large difference in income and wealth across individuals and groups within a society; difference in the economic power of nations In the 19 century, Marx stressed that people will organize appositionally around their relation to the means of production which leads to different social classes. a. Classes are groups of people who share a common economic condition, interest or relation to the means of production b. In a capitalist society, those who own the capital and technology will control the industrial society and the proletarians will sell their time and talents to earn wages to survive c. The bourgeoisie pay the lowest wages and sell their products for the highest price to maximize profit d. The binary- have and have-nots- is fundamental to social relations, forever in conflict For those in the same social class, they should band together so workers are well-paid and secure professionally, while the owners continue to reap profits. This is achieved through class awareness and class consciousness False consciousness is the acceptance of the discourse and values of the dominant class, and thus a willingness to believe arguments that promote individualistic solutions to problems, or that blame the poor and unemployed for their problems Richard Edwards: Workplaces are contested terrains where social classes meet and struggle for control Marx favoured a communist (egalitarian) society, but realized the development of class consciousness and class development were the true solutions to the reducing inequality The Functional Theory of Stratification by Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore maintains that most people in industrial societies agree about the relative social value of particular roles a. The prestige and social values attached to certain jobs are relatively stable over time b. Yet, the theory fails to explain why job with no social benefit (i.e. actors) get paid a lot, or why range of salaries are wider in one capitalist society than the other (e.g. USA vs. Germany) Inequality is also attributed to unregulated market forces, inadequate laws and the tax structure (redistribution of wealth) that favours the rich, powerful people who rely on politicians to serve their interests. In order for an revolution to happen, workers had to adopt the following views (class consciousness): a. Identifying themselves as members of an exploited class b. Seeing that the owners of the means of production are their enemy c. Realizing that every thing is at stake in the battle of equality d. Recognizing that societal change is possible through conflict www.notesolution.com
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