"A system in which groups of people are divided into layers according to their relative power, property and prestige."
"Unequal distribution of resources awarded to varying groups based on their social status"
The study of social inequality.
A group of people with common income, education, occupation, and lifestyle.
Class is culture; class is your understanding of the world and where you fit in; it's composed of ideas, behavior, attitudes, values and language; class is how you think, feel, act, look, dress, talk, move, walk; class is what stores you shop at, restaurants you eat in; class is the schools you attend, the education you attain; class is the very jobs you will work at throughout your adult life. (Langston)
Karl Marx: The Means of Production
Bourgeoisie: The owners of the means of production; the haves
Proletariat: The workers, the masses, the have-nots
Class Consciousness: Awareness of one's social class position which Marx determined would ultimately lead to a class unity and revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie.
Property - Wealth
Prestige - Often Derived from Property
Power - Ability to Control Others (Both personal & structural)
The Upper Middle Class
The Lower Middle Class
The Working Class
The Working Poor
Social Class in the Automobile Industry
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders have the highest graduation rates from university, as 49% of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders have earned at least a Bachelor's Degree
Euro Americans are next at 30%
African Americans are next at 17%
Native Americans are next at 14%
Latinos are next at 11%
Source: U.S. Census, 2000.
Choice of Husband or Wife
Housing: Rent, own, location?
Mental Illness and Inequality in Health Care
Langston (article #15 in Andersen & Hill Collins text, p. 140-141) provide at least 3 reasons why we do not see class in the U.S. What are those reasons?
Jennings & Kushnick (article #17 in Andersen & Hill, p. 155) provide at least 3 other reasons why we do not see class in the U.S. What are their reasons?
Do you agree these are the reason we do not see class....or do you think we do see class in the U.S. society?
Most Industrialized Nations/1st World/Most Economically Developed/Post Modern Nations
Newly Industrializing Countries/Economically Developing Countries/2nd World
Least Industrialized Nations, Least Economically Developed Countries/3rd World
Neocolonialism/Neoliberalism: Supported by World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, NAFTA, FTAA, GATT
Multinational Corporations (TNCs): Shell, GM, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Coca-cola, etc.
Technology and Global Domination
Marketing and Global Capitalism: Michael Jordan & the New Global Capitalism (Reading #27)
Wealth is accumulation of assets.
Wealth can be measured by Net worth = assets - liabilities
Assets: home ownership/equity, car ownership, land/property/business ownership, stocks/bonds, inheritance
Liabilities: mortgage owed, car payments owed, credit card debt
In "Wealth Matters," in the Andersen text, Conley defines wealth as _______________. Why does Conley state that wealth matters more than income?
Consider the similarities of the Jones' and Smith families. Then, examine how wealth & race delineate the differences.
According to the book Black Wealth, White Wealth: On average, Euro Americans or White Americans have more than $40,000 in assets vs.. African Americans or Black Americans who have on average approximately $3,000 in assets (1995 data). Why would the assets be so very different?
Income = Money earned from labor
Income can be hourly or salary, depending on the prestige/class of the job/occupation
Income can be paid daily, weekly, monthly, depending on the prestige/class of the job/occupation
Household Income vs. Individual Income: See also p. 87 in Andersen & Hill Collins book
Income Distribution (U.S.)
In U.S.: The highest 5% of income earners hold almost 22% of household income; the highest 20% of income earners hold almost 50%; the next 20% hold 23%; the next 20% hold almost 15%; the next 20% hold almost 9%; the bottom 20% hold less than 4% (Source: U.S. Census)
Wealth Distribution (U.S.)
10% of the population controls 70% of the wealth; 90% battle for the other 30% (Source: World Bank)
In U.S.: The wealthiest 1% own 33% of all wealth (net worth); the wealthiest 20% own 84% of all wealth; the next 20% own 11%; the next 20% own 4%; the bottom 40% own less than 1% (Source: Wolff, Edward, 2004).
In the last 20 years, virtually all new growth in wealth has gone to the richest 1% of the population (Collins & Veskel, 2000).
CEO vs.. Worker Gap (U.S.): In 1980, the average CEO earned 42 times the average worker; in 2001 the average CEO earned 411 times the average worker. (Source: Harvard Business School Journal)
Is this the image you have of poor people in the U.S.? Photo taken in Appalachia (West Virginia)
One of poorest regions in the U.S.: Shannon County, South Dakota, Pine Ridge Reservation
Poverty is more than economics.
Absolute poverty level is determined by the government to be the minimum amount necessary to live on for one year
Poverty line in 2006: $20,000 for a family of 4.
Who are the Poor?
Geography: Inner city and rural United States.
Race-Ethnicity: Euro-Americans or White Americans comprise the largest group of those living in poverty; however, African American, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders exhibit disproportionately higher rates of poverty. Long Beach statistics for those in the following groups living in poverty: Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders: 38%; Latinos: 31%; African American: 30%; American Indian: 28%; Asian American: 25%; Euro or White Americans: 15%; those with 2 or more racial backgrounds: 25%; those of "other" race: 33%. (U.S. Census)
Education: Those with a high school education or less are much more likely to live in poverty...those imprisoned are much more likely to be illiterate. In the U.S., 21% of those without a high school diploma or GED live in poverty vs. 7% of those with 1-4 years of college.
Age: The very young and the very old. In Long Beach, 38% of all children under the age of 18 live in a house where the income is below the poverty level. The poverty rate of all California children: 19%; children in the U.S.: 18%.
Gender: Feminization of Poverty: Increasing representation of women and children living in poverty. See also Lillian Rubin: Women and Children Last.
Those individuals living below the poverty level may apply for but not necessarily receive welfare.
Welfare usually takes the form of any of the following: government grants to attend college; food stamps; monthly checks (TANF); medical health care.
Welfare Restructured in 1996: Personal Responsibility & Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act passed by Congress & ratified by President Clinton
The legislation led to fewer people living off of welfare, but it did not reduce the number of poor people in the U.S.
Wealth fare: Government subsidies and tax breaks given to wealthy people, especially wealthy corporations
Wealth fare has taken the form of businesses, such as Boeing, who do not have to pay federal taxes; tax breaks to the very wealthy (capital gains relief, estate tax relief); see also "TAKING THE RICH OFF OF WEALTHFARE."
You may be surprised to learn that welfare makes up a much smaller portion than wealth fare. Do we have wealth fare reform??? NO!
Culture of Poverty (Gans): The mindset, beliefs, values and norms of people living in poverty create their poverty.
Blame the Victim (Ryan): Similar to culture of poverty but instead of blaming an entire culture, "blame the victim" focuses the root of the problem on the individual.
Structural explanations 1. Increasing imbalance in distribution of wealth. 2. Geographic and international mobility of capital. 3. Wage gap between the average worker & highest paid workers. 4. Political-corporate alliance which values profits without the
consideration of social costs of profit margin and wage gap.
5. Militarization, or escalation of tax dollars which funds military
operations at the expense of domestic affairs.
A doctrine or ideology that one social class is superior (i.e. upper class), thus other social classes (i.e. working class, poor) are deemed inferior.
Can you find examples of classism in your readings for this week?
Can you think of examples of the intersection of racism & classism?