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Intro9. Glob11.2: Economic (class) stratification


Piotr Konieczny

on 15 November 2016

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Transcript of Intro9. Glob11.2: Economic (class) stratification

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Karl Marx divide all of society into two hierarchical social classes: the PROLETARIAT and the BOURGEOISIE
Marx’s model of social stratification is based on control over the wealth, in particular, MEANS OF PRODUCTION (resources, capital).
Max Weber developed a refined model of stratification that went beyond wealth
Weber modeled stratification in three dimensions: economic, social and political
The graph shows that the Gini coefficient is equal to the area marked A divided by the sum of the areas marked A and B. that is, Gini = A / (A + B). It is also equal to 2*A due to fact that A + B = 0.5 (since the axes scale from 0 to 1).
The degree of income/wealth stratification in a society is measured using the GINI COEFFICIENT OF INEQUALITY
social stratification
into social classes
Statuses are elements of social structure at the micro level.
STRATIFICATION is the structuring of society by level of command over resources like wealth, power and prestige.
Class stratification
how society is divided into separate classes whose members have different access to resources and power
Your unique set of statuses defines who you are and what sets of roles you are expected to play in society.
Some statuses are purely NOMINAL, with no rank attached (for example, sociology major versus psychology major).
Many statuses, however, imply a ranking in larger society.
The status “lawyer” pays better than the statuses “paralegal” and “receptionist”.
The status “judge” confers more power than the status “lawyer”.
Wealth, power, and prestige systems of stratification overlap but are not identical.
All societies are stratified hierarchically by SOCIAL STATUS.

Status markers include

Income/wealth - but also

STATUS CONFLICT occurs when people’s statuses differ in their rankings in the usual status hierarchy of a society.
Stratification also occurs on a global level
There are rich countries and there are poor countries
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices to rank countries into four tiers of human development.
Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia
The BOURGEOISIE control the means of production. They have the power.
The PROLETARIAT work for the bourgeoisie.
Marx asked: there are so many more workers than employers, why don’t the workers just seize political control of the means of production?
FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS: the proletariat are not necessarily aware of their status as a disadvantaged group
Marx argued that if people would realize that a small group is manipulating them, they would rebel, overthrow the system and create a more just - classless - society.
CLASSES are economic (wealth based) and include Marx’s proletariat and bourgeoisie
PARTIES are political and include formal political parties as well as influence groups
IDENTITIES (status-groups) are social and cultural group memberships
In Weber’s model, gradual social change can be stifled when:
Classes, parties, and identities all stratify society the same way.
That stratification leads to massive inequality in resources.
There is little or no mobility between strata.
In these cases, a CHARISMATIC LEADER could bring about revolutionary change in society - but the emergence of such a leader is not guaranteed.

According to Marx, in societies with poor social mobility, internal conflict (revolution) is very likely, but he also accepted that false consciousness may prevent change from happening.
Weber also anticipated the terrible rise of the charismatic leaders of the twentieth century
Writing in 1922 (just after WWI) Weber outlined three conditions for the rise of leaders who could take advantage of divisions in society.
A unified elite across class, party, and identity based systems of stratification.

A large gap between this elite and others in society.

Low levels of social mobility.
CHARISMATIC LEADERS could, in these circumstances, spark a revolution.
This model has been highly influential in social science, but does not quite fit the facts.

Charismatic leaders like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini mobilized both rich and poor.
Weber’s theory of charismatic leaders did however fit events of the twentieth century better than Marx’s theory of proletarian revolution.
Gini-coefficient of national income distribution around the world (using 1989-2009 CIA estimates)
Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia
Source: Kim, Han (2012). Cities: Seoul
Inequality in Korea is rising
Poverty in South Korea
At the MICRO level, statuses and roles are the most important components of social structure

At the MESO level stratification is usually done with regards to groups, which are stratified by income, age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Stratified groups can include organizations and communities

At the MACRO level are societies and WORLD-SYSTEMS of societies
Stratification by level
World-system theory stratification into core and periphery is another international stratification ranking
Core countries focus on higher skill, capital-intensive production, and the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production and extraction of raw materials. This constantly reinforces the dominance of the core countries.
Is rising inequality something to be worried about?
Poverty worldwide
What's the function of poverty?
How should a just society be stratified – if at all?
What is the function of stratification?
Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia
Poverty in Korea is small in terms of people living under $1.25 a day (under 2% of Korean population is facing absolute poverty).
In South Korea, bout 15% of people live under the national poverty line (this similar to most of Europe and the USA).
OECD report for 2012 noted that "improving social cohesion by reducing inequality and relative poverty" is one of the key challenges facing South Korea. -- OECD Economic Surveys of Korea
Source: OECD Economic Surveys of Korea
RELATIVE POVERTY statistics measure inequality rather than material deprivation or hardship. The measurements are usually based on a person's yearly income and frequently take no account of total wealth.

RELATIVE POVERTY views poverty as socially defined and dependent on social context, hence relative poverty is a measure of income inequality. Usually, relative poverty is measured as the percentage of population with income less than some fixed proportion of median income.

RELATIVE POVERTY in South Korea is defined as the share of population that lives on less than half of the median income.
Poverty is usually measured as either ABSOLUTE or RELATIVE.
ABSOLUTE POVERTY refers to a set standard which is consistent over time and between countries.
The World Bank defines extreme absolute poverty as living on less than US$1.25 (PPP) per day.
Income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, has been on an upward trend until 2009 (Figure 13), when it reached the OECD average. Moreover, the ratio of the top quintile to the bottom is 5.7, above the OECD average of 5.4.
Median household income in South Korea in 2007 was $19,179 (W20m).
Source: Wikipedia
Public social spending was 7.6% of GDP in 2007, well below the OECD average of 19%, reflecting
Korea’s traditional reliance on family and firms to provide support, its low unemployment rate and its
relatively young population.
Social spending is not well targeted on low income
households: only a quarter of cash benefits from the government go to the poorest 20% of the
population. Consequently, Korea’s tax/benefit system is the least effective among OECD countries in promoting equality.
Should Korean government do more to reduce poverty and promote equality?
Poverty in Korea is affecting mostly the elderly
Why do you think this is the case?
Only one fifth of the elderly receive pensions. The National Pension Scheme (NPS) in Korea was introduced relatively recently, only in 1988.
nearly one-half of the elderly live in relative poverty, the highest proportion among OECD countries
OECD listed several factors among the reasons for poverty in Korea
Low social spending
Korea’s dualistic labour market
Korea’s dualistic labour market, in which a significant number of workers are hired only on temporary contacts with low wages and benefits, results in high inequality in wage income.
Non-regular workers, who account for one-third of employees, earned only 57% as much per hour as regular workers in 2010. That year only around 40% of non-regular workers were covered by the social security programs.
There is also inequality among regular workers: more than a quarter of full-time workers in Korea earn less than two-thirds of the median wage, the highest in the OECD area, thus fueling inequality.
OECD 2012 key policy recommendations to promote social cohesion for South Korea:
• Relax the conditions for receiving benefits under the Basic Livelihood Security Programme and expand the earned income tax credit to reduce poverty, while promoting work incentives.
• Lower the high rate of poverty among the elderly by expanding the Basic Old-Age Pension System and focusing it on low-income persons, improving the National Pension Scheme and promoting private savings for retirement by accelerating the introduction of company pensions.
• Ensure equitable access to health care by reducing out-of-pocket spending by broadening the coverage of the National Health Insurance and reducing co-payment ceilings, while offsetting the cost by improving the efficiency of health care.
• Gradually expand long-term care services by emphasizing home-based care to contain cost increases, while enhancing their quality.
• Break down labour market dualism by relaxing employment protection for regular workers, expanding the coverage of non-regular workers by the social safety net and increasing training opportunities for non-regular workers to enhance their employment prospects.
• Raise productivity and wages in the service sector by strengthening competition, while slowing the inflow of older employees into self-employment in services.
• Improve equity through education reforms, notably by increasing the access of disadvantaged children to high-quality youth education, reducing the role of private tutoring, including hagwons, while increasing access to low-cost after-school lessons, and expanding student loans, with repayment contingent on post-graduation income.
Do you agree with them?
Choo, Bark and Yoon summarizing the history of poverty in South Korea note that both absolute and relative poverty have been on decline in Korea in the period 1965-1990; concludng that "rapid economic growth during [the analyzed period of 1960s-1980s] in Korea has alleviated poverty to a great extent".

-- Korea: Poverty in a Tiger Country, Hakchung Choo, Soon-Il Bark, and Suk Bum Yoon, POVERTY: A GLOBAL REVIEW Handbook on International Poverty Research, 1996, UNESCO
Philips et al. praised South Korea, noting that "South Korea has experienced one of the most dramatic declines in absolute poverty that the world has seen". They note that while in mid-1950s over half of the Korean population was living in absolute poverty, by the mid-1990s, however, absolute poverty had dramatically declined to levels as low as 3.4 percent of the population.
-- Phillips, R., Hulme D, Kim E M, Henderson J. 2002. Economic Governance and Poverty Reduction in South Korea. Report to the DFI
Absolute poverty in South Korea as of 2001 was below 2%.
South Korea sets its own poverty line according to a minimum cost of living monitored under the National Basic Livelihood Security System by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. South Korea’s poverty rate was 3.2% in 2010, translating into about 1.5 million people. -- Source: Poverty Line http://thepovertyline.net/?p=1408
SOCIAL MOBILITY refers to how easy it is to advance from one social class to another.

If a system is based upon where one is born, it is known as the CASTE SYSTEM (the best known case is India). Caste systems have ex termly low mobility.

SOCIAL STATUS is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society.
SOCIAL CLASS refers to grouping people into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the wealth based division into upper, middle, and lower classes.
Class stratification exists when income, power, prestige and other valued resources are given to members of society unequally and when, on the basis of inequality, various subpopulations become culturally, behaviorally and organizationally distinctive.
There is a hierarchy between classes (low, middle, upper) but the boundaries can be often blurred.
The "nouveau riche" are people who have recently gained wealth, but do not have the usual education, family background, and cultural qualities that come with having been born into a wealthy family. They have thus changed their socia class within their lifetime. This creates a status conflict as they have wealth putting them in a new social class, but not the other status indicators common within it.
He answered: bourgeoisie manipulates cultural symbols, creating ideologies justifying their power and privileges.
Wealth is not everything.
Bourgeoisie exploits the workers, ensuring they never get enough power (wealth) to threaten them.
The status "employed" is ranked above that of an "unemployed".
Social class in Korea
Source: Cho, Surendra, and Cho (2012), Contemporary South Korean Society: A Critical Perspective, p.55
Social class is highly related to one's income
There are other ways in which social classes could be presented - this is just but one theory.
Source: Cho, Surendra, and Cho (2012), Contemporary South Korean Society: A Critical Perspective, p.56
In many places, including Korea, there is a strong relationship between education and social class.
Women are overrepresented in the less privileged classes.
Some class theories distinguish farmers as class. The proportion of farmers in the total workforce in South Korea diminished from over 60% in 1960 to about 10% in 2003.
How could we try to explain the gender inequality?
Which are more important?
Is there ranking in men vs. women?
Is there ranking in Korean vs foreigner?
Some theorists argue that the growing inequality in some countries could lead to emergence of charismatic leaders and revolutions.
Do you think this could happen?
Davis–Moore theory attempts to explain social stratification from the functionalist paradigm. It argues that if a position is a society is functionally important and/or difficult to fill because of the skills required it will receive greater resources (higher social status).
This explains why more education often translates into higher income.
However, education does not guarantee higher income. Recently in the USA unemployment with people with high degrees has been rising faster than among those with less schooling.
Inequality thus has the function of motivating people to improve their skills to fulfill more demanding tasks in the society.
Davis-Moore theory ignores gaining resources by luck, abuse of power, corruption, tradition, inheritance, and so on.
Gerhard Lenski's (1966) evolutionary theory of stratification argues that mobilization of people without privilege forces a more democratic distribution of power and resources primarily through progressive taxation (taxes on the rich).

However, Lenski argued that rich try to mislead the public opinion to convince them that higher taxes are not in their best interest.

The fight between proponents and opponents of taxation is very visible in many countries, including the USA.
Is such fight visible in your country?
In some countries, a construction worker can earn more money than a school teacher, but a school teacher has more prestige.
Higher = less equal
United States is among the most unequal countries in the developed world. A similar inequality can be seen in China.

Korea, on the other hand, has similar levels on inequality to most of Europe.
A video for discussion


We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.

In "The Spirit Level," Richard Wilkinson charts data that proves societies that are more equal are healthier, happier societies
What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading.
Benefits for families, such as child allowances and childcare support, amounted to only 0.5% of GDP, the lowest in the OECD and well below the OECD average of 2.2%. The main social welfare programme, the Basic Livelihood Security Programme (BLSP), covers only 3% of the population, far below the 15% living in relatively poverty.
However, public social spending increased at an 11% annual rate in real terms between 1990 and 2007, the fastest in the OECD area.
workers, laborers
business owners
As everywhere, there are few rich people and many more workers.
This level involves comparing people to others as individuals: "person A's job makes them more / less respected"
Here we think of groups: "people with black skin, women, or the very young/very old are discriminated against as a group"
Here we compare societies (countries). Core countries (ex. USA) have a higher status than periphery countries (Nigeria).
The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation's residents. It was developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912
Don't mistake the measurement of income distribution with the measurement of wealth. A wealthy country and a poor country can have the same Gini coefficient
In a fully egalitarian society, x % of the population would earn x % of income, so everyone would be on the "line of equality"
In an unequal society, this is different:
Source: http://content.answcdn.com/main/content/img/oxford/Oxford_Geography/0198606737.lorenz-curve.1.jpg
The Gini index for the entire world has been estimated by various parties to be between 0.61 and 0.68
(macro level stratification)
Human Development Index suggests that world is getting better
Nick Hanauer is a rich guy, an unrepentant capitalist — and he has something to say to his fellow plutocrats: Wake up! Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity ... and prevent a revolution.
Stratification - division by levels. Strata (stratum) - level
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