Inegalitarian Systems in Society Term Paper

Pages: 9 (2784 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The U.S. has been built on equality but there have been times in its evolvement and development that it toyed with the idea of an inegalitarian society (A STRANGE STATE OF AFFAIRS (http://lpa.igc.org/lpv32/strange.htm).

Throughout U.S. history, there have been several long waves of increasing and then decreasing income inequality. In early America, slaves constituted 15-20% of the population, which made for a highly inegalitarian society. Among whites, however, income was much more evenly distributed than in Europe. But even this was not to last. Right-wingers who like to quote French statesman Alexis de Tocqueville on the wonders of the American way of life rarely include this observation from his mid-19th century visit to America (A STRANGE STATE OF AFFAIRS (http://lpa.igc.org/lpv32/strange.htm):"I am of the opinion...that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest that ever existed... The friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction; for if a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy...penetrates into [America], it may be predicted that this is the gate by which they will enter."

There have been many eras in the United States in which inegalitarian society has tried to gain a strong hold but there have been historical events that have crushed the attempt. The abolishment of slavery, the World Wars, the Great Depression have all worked to crush the beginning of inegalitarian society in America (A STRANGE STATE OF AFFAIRS (http://lpa.igc.org/lpv32/strange.htm)."The crash, depression, and World War 2 changed that. Fortunes were destroyed, and in the postwar boom, incomes at the bottom and middle of U.S. society rose strongly, bringing about a significant compression in the distribution of material goods and money. Of course, even at its most egalitarian moment, the U.S. remained a polarized society, but it was still widely thought that something had changed to make the new arrangements permanent.

In 1955, economist Simon Kuznets published his famous "inverted U" theory: that in a capitalist economy, income inequality rises in the early stages of development, and falls as the economy matures (A STRANGE STATE OF AFFAIRS (http://lpa.igc.org/lpv32/strange.htm)."

Whne a society is run through an inegalitarian system it hurts those who are ruled. They are oppressed and they are not encouraged to reach for the stars. There are many things that they are kept from doing due to the societal expectations of their community. The ability to attain a higher education, the ability to advance in a career and other things are withheld from certain classes in an inegalitarian society. This hurts the entire class because it produces a stagnant population.

The inegalitarian society also hurts those who rule them. Any time an entire population is held back due to a class distinction, the rulers of that population are also damged. The class may contain people who could go on to do great things. The population might contain gifted scholars who could go on to cure cancer, and may be able to find a cure for AIDs, if they were given the chance to do so. The inability to purpose careers outside of their social class and the inability to find an avenue for a higher education robs the ruler of being able to have the society that leads in medical sciences. Any time a nation is a leading medical field nation the nation is admired and looked to as a leader and this in turn assists the ruler gain power and world wide respect. When the potential catalyst for such events is thwarted by belonging to a class that is oppressed the ruler never gets the chance to shine. There is another more obvious downturn to ruling an inegalitarian society. The society loses out on many prosperous ventures. In an inegalitarian society those who are oppressed cannot fulfill their ability to succeed financially. The ability to own and operate prosperous businesses is lost as is the ability to make expendable income. If the class is not held back the members of that population will be able to succeed in several ways. The members will be able to explore various capitalist ventures therefore contribute to the total success of the nation. This in turn helps the ruler gain world acknowledgment and power. The second way it helps is because those who are not oppressed and held back have the ability to make a more substantial income and they would otherwise have. This ability allows them to have more expendable income and that allows them to invest in the local economy. This keeps the fluid movement of the nation more solid. In the end this allows the ruler to have more power because there can be more taxes collected, a higher export and import business and other things.

Without these abilities the rulers of inegalitarian societies will eventually be ruined. The lack of fluid movement in the society because of the inability of entire populations to contribute cause the nation to become stagnates. The stagnation is something that will hurt the ruler as the nation becomes backward in the world's technological and economic abilities. In addition the long-term effects of an inegalitarian society are an entire portion of society that is depressed and has not been validated. This causes the apathy that was eventually seen in the former Soviet Union which caused the inability for the ruler to roust individuals to help repair the economy and the societal and political issues that would have made the nation strong.

An inegalitarian society creates entire societies in which the upper class feels a sense of entitlement without having to earn it, and the lower class knows it doesn't matter what they do, they will not be allowed to move ahead. The entire society under such a system comes to a halt and any time a society is stagnate and does not move forward the society fails. This causes the ruler to become damaged because he or she is viewed as someone who cannot lead and encourage their people. They are also viewed as the ruler of a failed society which removed any hope of power, and respect that they may want. The best thing to do for a ruler of any society is to encourage the success and recognition of each member, for it is through the successes of those individual members that the ruler will be recognized worldwide.

References

Lindblom, Charles. The Market System: What It Is, How It Works, and What to Make of It

Yale Univ Pr; (September 1, 2002)

Israeli society divided (Accessed, 4-10-2003)

http://mondediplo.com/focus/mideast/israel-5-1-en

Corruption as empowerment (Accessed, 4-10-2003)

http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm

STRANGE STATE OF AFFAIRS (Accessed, 4-10-2003)

http://lpa.igc.org/lpv32/strange.htm

Absolute poverty, relative deprivation and social exclusion (Accessed, 4-10-2003) by Franaois Bourgignon http://www.dse.de/ef/poverty/bourgign.htm

Bardhan, P., S. Bowles and H. Gintis (1999), Wealth Inequality, Wealth Constraints and Economic Performances, in A. Atkinson and F. Bourguignon (eds), Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier

Piketty, T. (1999) Theories of Persistent Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility, in A. Atkinson and F. Bourguignon (eds), Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier

Sen, A. (1983), Poor, relatively speaking, Oxford Economic Papers, 35, 153-69 [END OF PREVIEW]

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