Theories Of Social Stratification

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Every societal group holds variances between its members. Social stratification is a system in which people are divided into separate groups based on their socio-economic status. Rankings come from different categories including ethnic status, age, gender, occupation, education level, and property. Different systems of social stratification include class, caste, and slavery. Due to wealth and poverty, there is an unequal distribution of means between the separate groups, which creates social inequality. Karl Marx believed modern society consisted of two classes of people: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie ruled production; meaning they owned the companies and the equipment to produce capital. The proletariat are the laborers. Max Weber took Marx’s theory and formed his own theory consisting of three components comprising of class, status, and power. Social stratification is a part of all societies, and according to Elwell (n.d.), Gerhard Lenski said, “human societies are part of the global ecosystem and cannot be understood unless this factor is taken fully into account.” Lenski holds the belief that power determines the sharing of goods and services. According to Emile Durkheim, within a society, there are two types of inequalities – external and internal. External can be described as inequalities due to attributed status such as conditions of birth. Internal are described as inequalities based on the individuals talent or successes. Social stratification is an acceptable form of patterned social inequality. Class based systems of stratification are the most common today. The elements of social class include income, prestige, occupation, and educational achievement. Class systems are open, and because the c... ... middle of paper ..., more resources needed to be owned, and more power was needed. Western civilizations are running out of these resources, and this is causing the middle class to disappear. As the resources stopped providing, those living in the middle class began to live on credit. According to Marshall (2010), there is an estimated $1.5 trillion in credit card debt, predominately being carried by 115 million Americans who have monthly credit card debts. As the cost of expensive items such as vehicles, houses, medical insurance, and college education have rapidly increased; the income for the middle class has not improved. America is not the only place this is happening. Countries such as Canada, Greece, Portugal, Britain, and other European nations are experiencing the same debt crises. Rising inflation and increased costs of living are contributing to this debt crisis.
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