Social class inequalities

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Life chances

Weber; life chances-

How some members of society have better it better than others to achieve desirable things e.g.;

Long, happy life

Good education

Fullfulling well-paid job

Own a home

Enjoy paid holidays & leisure time 

Weber linked these desires to social class

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Social mobility

  • Intergenerated mobility (absolute); moblity between generations
  • Intragenerated mobility (relative) between classes by indiv. in life 
  • Oxford Mobility study Goldthorpe; 10,000 fathers and sons, conducted after WW2- upward absolute mobility for everyone due to free education. Less manual work- more service sector- increase in absolute social mobility. However, relative mobility- 3 social classes- hardly changed. 1:2:4 Rule of relative Hope. Whatever chance wc. boy had of reaching service class- intermediate class boy- 2x more likely to, and boy starting off in service class- 4x chance.
  • Essex Uni. mobility study; relative mobility still very unequal. Someone starting off in service class= 7x more likely to end up in service class then someone starting off in WC. background
  • Savage & Egerton; longitudinal study (1958)- 53% wc. sons stayed in wc. Service class sons= 2x more likely to end up in service class jobs than wc boys. Women=different; wc. women more likely to move into intermediate classes + more service class women compated to men.
  • Social mob. internationally- UK unequal compared to EU
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Weber; most privilaged workers= most skilled & higer status- thus command higher wages

Workers with lower skills- poor market situation- less bargaining power

Marxism; inequal. at work due to capitalist owners keeping wages low to keep profits high.

Workplace inequalities; financial rewards at work; senior job roles often have better pensions, longer holidays & bonus opportunities.

Status; difference in work income= diff. status- uniforms, office spaces etc.. heirarchy

Job security- manual workers/routine workers= more likely to face redundancy than skilled workers

7% pop. privatly educated; make up or 71% senior jobs; e.g. 33% MPs

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  • Britain= one of the most unequal societies- income in EU 
  • 50's-90's- slight narrowing of income inequality- tho due to Thatcher,  income inequalities rose sharply. Gov.- cut rates of income tax for very rich and cut many state benefits. 
  • Income ineq. slowed down in 90's, but is now increasing due to conservative gov.- tax and benefit reforms
  • Benefits; makes up for 56% of gross income of poorest 5th households compared to 3.2% of riches-2012.
  • Tax; poorest 5th paid 37.1% of their incomes compared to 35.1% of the richest 5th- due to direct taxes e.g. income tax fall most heavily on the rich, indirect taxes e.g. VAT fall most heavily on the poor
  • High pay centre- total pay for cheif ex. of top 100 companies- risen by 49% compared to 3% of employees.
  • CE earns 162 x more than average UK salery 
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  • 3.5 M. chiildren in poverty in UK
  • Labour gov.; child pov.= anyone below 60% of median income
  • Conservatives removed target set by Labour to eradicate child pov.  New factors- exam results, family breakdown & dept
  • Lansley; developed focus groups asking people necessities- 50 items included- useed to list living standards survey on population. Households that lacked 3+ living necessities- concidered as poor. 5+= concidered in poverty
  • PSE  study 2012- majority- increase in povery since 1985. 85- 14%, 2012- 33%. 
  • Food poverty- Trussle Trust (2014)- 4.7M. people in food poverty due to insufficient income to afford healthy diet compared to 26,000 in 2008/9.
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  • Linked to age. Older= more wealthy via buying their own home & pension fund
  • Birmingham commission report; those who were 55-64 years old- largest amounts of wealth. Inequality- poorest 10th- less than 28,000 pounds of wealth- top 10th=+1.3 M
  • Wealth based on meritocracy e.g. Sir Sugar
  • Atkinson; importance of inheritance on wealth. An increasing proportion of national wealth- based on inheritance (since 70's
  • Richest 62 people= as wealthy as half world's population- Oxfam 2011
  • Least wealthy half of all households own just 9% of all wealth. Top 5th own 62%. 
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