Business Impact Technology and Inequality The disparity between the rich and everyone else is larger than ever in the United States and increasing in much of Europe. October 21, Income inequality hinders economic opportunity and innovation. The signs of the gap—really, a chasm—between the poor and the super-rich are hard to miss in Silicon Valley.
Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, rev. For more information click here. Government programs come and go as political parties swing us back and forth between stock answers whose only effect seems to be who gets elected.
But on a deeper level, we tend to think about them in ways that keep us from getting at their complexity in the first place. It is a basic tenet of sociological practice that to solve a social problem we have to begin by seeing it as social.
Without this, we look in the wrong place for explanations and in the wrong direction for visions of change. Consider, for example, poverty, which is arguably the most far-reaching, long-standing cause of chronic suffering there is.
The magnitude of poverty is especially ironic in a country like the United States whose enormous wealth dwarfs that of entire continents. More than one out of every six people in the United States lives in poverty or near-poverty.
For children, the rate is even higher. Even in the middle class there is a great deal of anxiety about the possibility of falling into poverty or something close to it — through divorce, for example, or simply being laid off as companies try to improve their competitive advantage, profit margins, and stock prices by transferring jobs overseas.
How can there be so much misery and insecurity in the midst of such abundance? It is simply one end of an overall distribution of income and wealth in society as a whole.
As such, poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and an ongoing consequence of how the system is organized and the paths of least resistance that shape how people participate in it. The system we have for producing and distributing wealth is capitalist.
It is organized in ways that allow a small elite to control most of the capital — factories, machinery, tools — used to produce wealth.
It also leaves a relatively small portion of the total of income and wealth to be divided among the rest of the population. In part, then, poverty exists because the economic system is organized in ways that encourage the accumulation of wealth at one end and creates conditions of scarcity that make poverty inevitable at the other.
But the capitalist system generates poverty in other ways as well. In the drive for profit, for example, capitalism places a high value on competition and efficiency. This motivates companies and their managers to control costs by keeping wages as low as possible and replacing people with machines or replacing full-time workers with part-time workers.
It makes it a rational choice to move jobs to regions or countries where labor is cheaper and workers are less likely to complain about poor working conditions, or where laws protecting the natural environment from industrial pollution or workers from injuries on the job are weak or unenforced.
Capitalism also encourages owners to shut down factories and invest money elsewhere in enterprises that offer a higher rate of return. These kinds of decisions are a normal consequence of how capitalism operates as a system, paths of least resistance that managers and investors are rewarded for following.
But the decisions also have terrible effects on tens of millions of people and their families and communities. Even having a full-time job is no guarantee of a decent living, which is why so many families depend on the earnings of two or more adults just to make ends meet.
All of this is made possible by the simple fact that in a capitalist system most people neither own nor control any means of producing a living without working for someone else.
To these social factors we can add others. A high divorce rate, for example, results in large numbers of single-parent families who have a hard time depending on a single adult for both childcare and a living income.
The centuries-old legacy of racism in the United States continues to hobble millions of people through poor education, isolation in urban ghettos, prejudice, discrimination, and the disappearance of industrial jobs that, while requiring relatively little formal education, nonetheless once paid a decent wage.
These were the jobs that enabled many generations of white European immigrants to climb out of poverty, but which are now unavailable to the masses of urban poor.
Clearly, patterns of widespread poverty are inevitable in an economic system that sets the terms for how wealth is produced and distributed. But public debate about poverty and policies to deal with it focus almost entirely on the latter with almost nothing to say about the former.
Murray sees the world as a merry-go-round. Instead, Murray argues, poverty is caused by failures of individual initiative and effort.
It would leave the working-aged person with no recourse whatsoever except the job market, family members, friends, and public or private locally funded services. The confusion lies in how we think about individuals and society, and about poverty as an individual condition and as a social problem.
On the one hand, we can ask how individuals are sorted into different social class categories, what characteristics best predict who will get the best jobs and earn the most. There is certainly a lot of truth in this advice, and it gets to the issue of how people choose to participate in the system as it is.
Sociologically, however, it focuses on only one part of the equation by leaving out the system itself. In other words, it ignores the fact that social life is shaped both by the nature of systems and how people participate, by the forest and the trees.While there is countless advice online on how to make an essay stand out, some of the best perspective may come from reading an essay that impressed experts.
The New York Times puts out a call for. Poverty essay Poverty essays – find seven interesting topics to write about. When you are trying to work on a good poverty essay, the first thing that poses a challenge is the selection of a topic. Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays.
We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the newest additions. Over the past 20 years or so India, China, and the rest of East Asia, experienced fast economic growth and falls in the poverty rate, Latin America stagnated, the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa regressed.
May When people care enough about something to do it well, those who do it best tend to be far better than everyone else.
There's a huge gap between . January Since the s, economic inequality in the US has increased dramatically. And in particular, the rich have gotten a lot richer. Nearly everyone who writes about economic inequality says that it should be decreased.