Social stratification is a categorized arrangement of large social groups based on their control over basic resources. Patterns of structural inequality, raises the main sociological issue which is, economic development that accompanies human development. Three major systems of social stratification: 1. Slavery – Has many meanings: wage slavery, marriage slavery, debt burden, crime oppression, war prisoner, child labor, and contract labor which is estimated at 27 million people today in some form of slave labor. (Phil Bartle, 1967, 1987, 2007) Harriet Martineau, the first female sociologist, was an abolitionist for slavery.
She wrote a book called “Society in America”. She was one of the first people to identify that racism becomes one ideology of slavery. In 1835, while attending an anti-slavery meeting in Boston as an observer, Martineau was invited to make a statement in favor of abolition. In her statement, Martineau denounced slavery as “inconsistent with the law of God. ” Those that were in agreement accompanied her on her tour of the western states. She was determined to evaluate and criticize what she saw.
She traveled widely, covering 10,000 miles, meeting people of all classes.
Although she was generally impressed by American democracy, in “Society in America” Martineau expressed disappointment in the free enterprise system for the tendency to allow some, pursuing “a sordid love of gain,” to trample the rights of others. She thought that democracy could only be preserved, in the long run, by the abolition of private property. She also expressed concern over the position of woman who ought to have been far better than it actually was; that the condition of American women differed from that of slaves only in that they were treated with more indulgence. Is it to be understood that the principles of the Declaration of Independence bear no relation to half of the human race? If so, what is the ground of the limitation? ” (Hughes, 1999-2009) 2. Caste system – Permanent inequality from birth. India is the most prominent example of castes that are defined by religions, and castes practice endogamy (marriage only within their own caste). Each caste is divided into occupational sets that include the “untouchables”. They were considered as people who were at the bottom of the caste system; who had no place within a stratification system In 1950, fter gaining independence from Great Britain, India implemented a new structure that would officially outlaw the caste system. Over the last ten years or so, development and technology advances have brought more change to India’s caste system than the government or politics has in more than half a century. The secrecy of city life tends to distort caste boundaries, allowing the “untouchables” to pass unrecognized in temples, schools, and places of employment. (T. Schaefer, 2009) 3. Class system – Stratification based on control of resources. The issue of poverty is a social and sociological controversy.
The problem of the world’s poor is really a problem of the world’s rich. Max Weber’s term “life chances” describe the access that individuals have to important social resources. The more affluent people are the better life chances they have. It can be between classes in a single county or between countries in this postmodern economy. Apparent scarcity of resources is really a product of private ownership. (Richard Swedberg) There is also what is referred to as the “Fourth World”. This world is composed of people, and territories, that have lost value for the dominant interests in informational capitalism.
It is inhabited by millions of homeless, incarcerated, prostituted, criminalized, brutalized, stigmatized, sick, and illiterate persons. In the current historical context, “the rise of the fourth world is inseparable from the rise of international global capitalism. ” (Castells, 1999) The way countries are classified is through “The World Bank”. The World Bank’s main criterion for categorizing economies is gross national income (GNI) per capita. Based on its GNI per capita, every economy is classified as low income, middle income, (subdivided into lower middle and upper middle), or high income.
Other investigative groups based on geographic regions are also used. These tables below show all World Bank member countries (187), and all other economies with populations of more than 30,000 (213 total). Geographic region: Classifications and data reported for geographic regions are for low-income and middle-income economies only. Low-income and middle-income economies are sometimes referred to as developing economies. The use of the term is convenient; it is not intended to imply that all economies in the group are experiencing similar development or that other economies have reached a preferred or final stage of development.
Classification by income does not necessarily reflect development status. Income group: Economies are divided according to 2009 GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method. The groups are: low income, $995 or less; lower middle income, $996 – $3,945; upper middle income, $3,946 – $12,195; and high income, $12,196 or more. (Bank, 2010) Obviously this is a very different way of looking at the economy and the class structure, since most economists simply measure total wealth and not how it is distributed. Global poverty issues: * Income in real money Work and working conditions (hours of work, dangerous conditions, etc. ) * Life expectancy * Health and health care * Education * Literacy * Gaps in human development * Per capita income * Infant mortality * Calories daily Four Theories of Global Inequality: Development and modernization – The development of industrialization brings poverty or does it bring generally higher standards of living? Walt W. Rostow believed that removing psychological barriers to development and social inequality were crucial. He felt that people are resigned to poverty, accepting extreme hardship as inevitable. Professors Douglas C. Dacy (Chair), 2004) 1. Traditional stage – Very little social change 2. Take-off stage – Growth and competition, individual achievement 3. Technological maturity 4. High mass consumption Is development just imperialism? Is it authority and domination, as we see in Iraq? Dependency theory – Underdevelopment, in itself, does not cause global inequality; rather it is the exploitation of one country by another or by a global corporation. This potentially retards both economic and human development.
World systems theory – Global capitalism is a series of interdependencies so that industrialized nations benefits from other countries. Sociologist, Immanuel Wallerstein (1979) looked at how a country is incorporated into the world economy. His claims were that there was only one world connected by a complex network of economic exchange relationships, i. e. , a “world-economy” or “world-system”, in which the separation of “capital” and “labor”, and the endless accumulation of “capital” by competing agents (historically including, but not limited to nation-states) account for frictions.
This approach is known as the World Systems Theory. (Lechner, 2000-2001) Wallerstein looks at a three-world outline, which duplicate the sociological theory of inequality: * Core nations – Dominant capitalist centers with high levels of industrialization and urbanization * Semi peripheral nations – More developed that peripheral and less than core nations often provide raw materials or labor to core nations. * Peripheral nations – Have no capital or development; uneven patterns of urbanization. Is it an accident that most of the peripheral countries are in tropical areas (Africa, South America, and Caribbean) and are non-white?
The New International Division of Labor – Global capitalism, with low-income countries accepting certain kinds of work, based on labor-intensity. The whole structure is changing almost daily due to the advances in technology. You can now place your McDonald’s drive-through order via India which offers great efficiency and worker exploitation. The global assembly line! Workers in the US have for centuries (at least since 1900) have been the beneficiaries of the global economy, selling “valued” and buying “cheap,” and now the situation is reversed and we are threatened by the global economy.
In addition to the global economy, sociologists now look at the global environment: the destruction of forests in Asia, for example, can affect the climate of Dundalk; acid rain can fall anywhere in the world. All of these patterns assume continued inequality. A conflict occurs when a country (like Venezuela, Iraq or Bolivia) wants to move up and is nationally disobedient as Wallerstein put it, in “The Modern World-System” (vol. I, p 233): “The mark of the modern world is the imagination of its profiteers and the counter-assertiveness of the oppressed.
Exploitation and the refusal to accept exploitation as either inevitable or just constitute the continuing antinomy of the modern era, joined together in a dialectic which has far from reached its climax in the twentieth century. ” All of the sociological perspectives can be applied to the global economy. What is the future for the global economy? While the dominant culture is to praise individual social mobility, what about national social mobility? Is charity the answer, leaving the global system of inequality untouched but simply asking the wealthy to voluntarily share some of their wealth?
The Four Perspectives look at Global Stratification: Functionalist Perspective – Since inequality helps society survive, then inequality is a positive function. Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore (1945) concluded that the stratification of society is not only desirable, but inevitable. Conflict Perspective – Global inequality is a global source of conflict which will be resolved only when global equality appears. The usual conflicts put on to the world stage. Interactionist Perspective – We respond to the global economy by ignorance and discrimination, accept either the sense of superiority or inferiority.
Cite this Global Stratification
Global Stratification. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/global-stratification/