Bradford mvsu stratification and inequality 2013
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  • Source: World Bank (2002) from Kaplinsky (2002: 31)
  • How is ‘happiness’ measured? Life satisfaction is typically measured with the following question:All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?
  • In the image above, the black vertical lines represent the difference in actual ‘talent’ for each individual. The red lines represent the differences in talent as reflected by the amount of social ‘rewards’ each receives. ‘Talent’ here means any salient characteristics of an individual, i.e. anything that society deems to be important or valuable. The point is that small differences are amplified and made larger so that small differences among individuals become large differences in the social rewards each receives. The ‘rewards’ here could be money, power, prestige, etc.
  • (Note: this does not mean that all types of inequality are inevitable! We should expect this result in the absence of policies to counteract it.)

Bradford mvsu stratification and inequality 2013 Bradford mvsu stratification and inequality 2013 Presentation Transcript

  • Inequality and Stratification(Ch. 12-13)Dr. John Bradford
  • OutlineI. Inequality within the USII. Global InequalityIII. The importance of EqualityIV. Theories of Stratification
  • INEQUALITY IN THE US View slide
  • 30.032.935.738.641.444.347.150.01970 1980 1990 2000 2010Percentage of Total Income Earned by the Top 10 PercentUnited States (1970-2009)YearPercentageIncome Inequality within the US View slide
  • CEO and Worker PayCEOs pay as a multiple of the average workers pay, 1960-2007Source: Domhoff 2011
  • Wealth and Financial Wealth Distribution 2007Source: Domhoff 2011
  • Social Mobility
  • GLOBAL POVERTY AND INEQUALITY
  • Global Poverty• World Bank defines two distinct sub-categories:1. World poverty, in which people live on less than$365 per year2. Extreme poverty, in which individuals live on lessthan $275 per year.• 600 million people estimated to live in extremepoverty
  • Global Poverty: long-term trendsPeople living on less than $1 per day (millions)1820-2000
  • Distribution of Global Poverty: 1970http://www.gapminder.org/downloads/human-development-trends-2005/
  • Distribution of Global Poverty: 1970http://www.gapminder.org/downloads/human-development-trends-2005/
  • Distribution of Global Poverty: 2000http://www.gapminder.org/downloads/human-development-trends-2005/
  • Inequality within countries
  • Causes of Global Mortality2/6/11
  • Life expectancy vs. GDP per person2010
  • Map of World HappinessNote: The happiest country on earth is Denmark!
  • III. WHY EQUALITY MATTERS
  • Inequality and Health
  • Inequality and Mental Health
  • Inequality and Drug Abuse
  • Inequality and Education
  • Inequality and Imprisonment
  • Inequality and Obesity
  • Inequality and Social Mobility
  • Inequality and Trust and Community Life
  • Inequality and Violence
  • Inequality and Child Well-Being
  • IV. THEORIES OF STRATIFICATION
  • Social Stratification• Social Stratification = a socialhierarchy, or evaluation-ranking-reward system.– In a hierarchy, those at the topare not just different, they areconsidered better or superior.– The definition of ‘better’depends on the criterion ofevaluation:Braver, Smarter, Stronger, Purer…
  • Social Stratification• Social Stratification =– In nearly all societies, people areevaluated on the basis of somecharacteristic and placed intohigher or lower-ranking groups.– Actors are sorted into socialpositions that carry unequalrewards, obligations, andexpectations
  • How does inequality arise in class-based societies?Two possible explanations:1. Individualist, or Market framework– Hierarchies are emergent ( = unintended).– Inequality of individuals’ effort or talent lead to inequality ofstatus positions (income, power, prestige, etc.)– Higher ‘rewards’ for some individuals are both i) compensationfor their effort, and ii) incentives to elicit that effort2. ‘Structural’ framework = ‘Rich Get Richer’– Hierarchies are enacted (= imposed)– Differences in outcomes (status) not due to intrinsic individualattributes, but to the social positions they occupy.
  • How does inequality arise in class-based societies?Structural, or ‘Rich get richer’ framework:– Hierarchies are emergent, (i.e.unintended, spontaneous) but resulting inequalitiesdon’t reflect the efforts or talents of the individuals.– People in higher-ranking groups receivedisproportionally more rewards, and those in lower-ranking groups disproportionally fewer rewards,– In other words, differences in social rewards are fargreater than the differences in ‘talent’ upon whichthese rewards are ostensibly based.
  • ‘Rich get richer’• Even assuming perfect equality of opportunity, andassuming everyone desires to live in a society where socialrewards are based on one’s talents and/or hard work, weshould not expect that the differences in the social rewardsreceived will be proportional to the differences in thetalents/efforts of the individuals!• Those with a little more ‘talent’ get disproportionatelymore rewards, far more than they ‘deserve’, evenassuming perfect equality of opportunity!Lots of talentNo talentDifferences in talentDifferences in socialrewards
  • ‘Rich get richer’• Do these people have talent?(actingskill, charisma, beauty, etc.)• If so, is the above-averagewealth and fame they receiveproportional to their above-average talents?• Why are these people wealthyand famous and not you!?
  • ‘Rich get richer’How it works:• Our evaluations of others are socially influenced: People payattention to how everyone else is being evaluated by everyoneelse.• This amplifies underlying differences between individuals andmakes the rewards allotted to them disproportional to theirtalents and/or efforts.– Examples:i. People who are popular tend to attract more attention thannon-popular people. Why? Because they are already popular!ii. Children with a reputation for being ‘bad’ are more likely to getin trouble compared to a ‘good’ kid, for doing the same things.iii. Some journal articles get cited way more than others, simplybecause they are more frequently cited.
  • ‘Rich get richer’(Summary)• The ‘rich get richer’ effect is also known as:winner-take-all effects, cascadeeffects, popularity tournaments, theMatthew effect, and preferential attachment.• These are all examples of positive (reinforcing)feedback.• Conclusion: even if there was total equality ofopportunity, and everyone had identicaltalents, you should still expect hierarchies inclass-based societies!
  • Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy• German sociologist Robert Michelsclaimed in his 1911 book PoliticalParties that “rule by an elite or"oligarchy" is inevitable, an “ironlaw” within any organization.• Democracy is a façade legitimizingthe rule of a particular elite, andoligarchy is inevitable.• Why? Large organizations requirebureaucracies in order to functioneffectively; bureaucracy entailscentralization, and centralizationmeans that power will end up inthe hands of the few.