Social stratification is a categorized arrangement of large social groups based on their control over basic resources. Patterns of structural inequality, raises the main sociological issue which is, economic development that accompanies human development. Three major systems of social stratification:
1. Slavery - Has many meanings: wage slavery, marriage slavery, debt burden, crime oppression, war prisoner, child labor, and contract labor which is estimated at 27 million people today in some form of slave labor. (Phil Bartle, 1967, 1987, 2007) Harriet Martineau, the first female sociologist, was an abolitionist for slavery. She wrote a book called “Society in America”. She was one of the first people to identify that racism becomes one ideology of slavery. In 1835, while attending an anti-slavery meeting in Boston as an observer, Martineau was invited to make a statement in favor of abolition. In her statement, Martineau denounced slavery as "inconsistent with the law of God." Those that were in agreement accompanied her on her tour of the western states. She was determined to evaluate and criticize what she saw. She traveled widely, covering 10,000 miles, meeting people of all classes. Although she was generally impressed by American democracy, in “Society in America” Martineau expressed disappointment in the free enterprise system for the tendency to allow some, pursuing "a sordid love of gain," to trample the rights of others. She thought that democracy could only be preserved, in the long run, by the abolition of private property. She also expressed concern over the position of woman who ought to have been far better than it actually was; that the condition of American women differed from that of slaves only in that they were treated with more indulgence. "Is it to be understood that the principles of the Declaration of Independence bear no relation to half of the human race? If so, what is the ground of the limitation?" (Hughes, 1999-2009) 2. Caste system - Permanent inequality from birth. India is the most prominent example of castes that are defined by religions, and castes practice endogamy (marriage only within their own caste). Each caste is divided into occupational sets that include the “untouchables”. They were considered as people who were at the bottom of the caste system; who had no place within a stratification system In 1950, after gaining independence from Great Britain, India implemented a new structure that would officially outlaw the caste system. Over the last ten years or so, development and technology advances have brought more change to India’s caste system than the government or politics has in more than half a century. The secrecy of city life tends to distort caste boundaries, allowing the “untouchables” to pass unrecognized in temples, schools, and places of employment. (T.Schaefer, 2009) 3. Class system - Stratification based on control of resources. The issue of poverty is a social and sociological controversy. The problem of the world’s poor is really a problem of the world’s rich. Max Weber’s term “life chances” describe the access that individuals have to important social resources. The more affluent people are the better life chances they have. It can be between classes in a single county or between countries in this postmodern economy. Apparent scarcity of resources is really a product of private ownership. (Richard Swedberg) There is also what is referred to as the “Fourth World”. This world is composed of people, and territories, that have lost value for the dominant interests in informational capitalism. It is inhabited by millions of homeless, incarcerated, prostituted, criminalized, brutalized, stigmatized, sick, and illiterate persons. In the current historical context, “the rise of the fourth world is inseparable from the rise of international global capitalism.” (Castells, 1999) The way countries are classified is through “The World Bank”. The World Bank’s main...
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