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Wealth Disparity in America

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Wealth Disparity in America

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  • November 6, 2010
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Wealth Disparity in America

Social class describes the different "layers" that exist in society. These "layers," or classes in society, are divisions on which civilization has been running since its onset. In the early 19th century, racial grouping was the structure used in the American South. America was divided into distinct social classes with the African Americans at the bottom of the social ladder, whereas the plantation owners who controlled them were at the top of the social ladder. The present American system of social class, based on a capitalistic economy, arguably consists of three basic "layers": The Upper Class, The Middle Class and the Lower Class. The social class of an individual is most commonly based on income or level of wealth and background, while other factors such as education, literacy, race and individual tendencies also affect identification within a certain class. Historically, it has always been difficult to move from a lower class into the upper echelons of a societal system. Also, the global financial crisis accelerated disparity of wealth between the rich and the middle-income citizens made the U.S. economy even more unstable. Poverty in wealthy capitalist societies has always existed and it will continue to exist unless a fundamental change in economic philosophy proceeds to balance the system from top to bottom.

The United States has the greatest economic inequality of any developed nation. The gap between the rich and poor in America is the largest it has ever been in nation's history. The United States has developed into the rich few and the many poor. The concept of mine supersedes the concept of sharing. The wealthy do everything to stay rich and powerful. The wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small number of families. For example, in 2004, the wealthiest 1% of families owned more than 30% of total net wealth, the top 10% of families owned over 70% and the bottom 90% of the population owned less than 30% (1). The...