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Social Stratification

Beat Mango

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What do you think of social stratification, ie, the divisions (express or implied) of people into various social classes?

In particular:

- why does it occur, and why is it so widespread?
- is it inevitable?
- is it beneficial for society? For example, is it more productive? More fair? (after all, why should lazy bludgers be rewarded with prosperity)
- how would you critique your own society's social stratification? Is there enough social mobility? Too much? Are people classified according to the correct values? (eg,in capitalism we reward merchants with top sitting, whereas in the past societies have rewarded warriors or scholars)

Look forward to discussion.
 

aaaw

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Big topic. Unfortunately I don't have much time to respond at the moment.

However, I believe there are solid ethical grounds for structuring society in a way that promotes reasonable (not absolute) equality.

I also think individual freedom is maximised in a society that ensures everyone has good access to education, healthcare, decent minimum wages and workers rights etc - because individual freedom ulitmately takes place in a social context.

As to why social stratification occurs, this is again a huge topic. Despite some obvious flaws in Marxism, Marx's historical materialism provides a useful analytical model for understanding how some of these occur at a macro level.

Perhaps I'll have time later to respond in more depth.

Beware. These questions lie at the crux of contemporary politcal discourse. In fact it is possible to argue that the distribution of resources is the eternal question of politics and economics. Any attempts to answer these questions typically split along fairly narrow ideological lines.

Should "the market" dictate human societies or should human societies dictate the market?
 

Words

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I am probably going to pollute my answers with subjective thoughts, contexts and premises. Bah, it doesn't matter.

Cultural Social Stratification is inevitable. I think socio-economic variation is slightly a different matter.

- why does it occur, and why is it so widespread?
Agriculture caused settlement which caused division of labor which caused social stratification. It's "widespread" or society is economically varied because of human nature and egocentricism.

- is it inevitable?
Culturally, yes. I don't see what's stopping equal(not to an exact "=" of course) economic or political power however.

- is it beneficial for society? For example, is it more productive? More fair? (after all, why should lazy bludgers be rewarded with prosperity)
I think it really depends on how "Capitalist" you're talking about.

If society functions for those in power, then unlimited social class is productive.

Personally, I prefer a little bit more of socialism. Just because someone doesn't have any of those "paper things", doesn't mean you shouldn't help them. The "bill-perspective" is immoral for me in the sense that it it ignores "empathetical value" and simply looks at the material.

Prosperity isn't the case, survival is.


- how would you critique your own society's social stratification? Is there enough social mobility? Too much? Are people classified according to the correct values? (eg,in capitalism we reward merchants with top sitting, whereas in the past societies have rewarded warriors or scholars)
I currently thrive in an "underdeveloped" country where children dying from starvation is a common celebration so yeah~
 
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