Wealth and Income


How would you define wealth?

Wealth is based on a certain persons carrer and the amount of money you recieve. The ownership of a property etc...

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What are the two types of wealth?

Marketable wealth 

  • Any asset can be sold.

Non-marketable wealth

  • Something you own but can't sell e.g. a pension.
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How would you define income?

A flow of payment in cash or in kind e.g. free meals at work.

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What are the four different types of income?

Gross income

  • All sources of income before deductions.

Earned income

  • A persons salary.

Unearned income

  • Tax credits etc...

Disposable income

  • Gross income minus tax and national insurance deductions.
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What are problems of measuring wealth?

  • If using a social survey, respondents may lie about how wealthy they are.
  • Respondents may be suspcious that the sociologist may be working for the government.
  • Assets may be concealed in off-share bank accounts.
  • Bank accounts can be opened in someone elses name. 
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Why are rich individuals often able to maintain th

  • Governments can be biased towards rich people because they have been brought up in private education. They decide what the minimum wage is.
  • The UK tax system allows wealth to be passed down by down from one generation to the other through inheritance.
  • Many rich people recieved a high level education, as they attended private schools and therefore they result in having a high skilled job with high pay. 
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Explain the term 'Globalization'

Most economies in the world are now linked in global economies.

If the government were to try and take wealth away from the richest, then they are likely to move their money out of the country.

This would impact the British economy. 

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Explain why there are increases in income inequali

Lone parent families

  • Nine out of ten lone parents are women and women who are single parents recieve £194.40 a week, whereas men recieve £346.00 a week.

Tax system

  • Many rich people try and avoid tax by putting in off shore acounts.
  • The UK tax system allows a wealth to be passed from one generation to the next through inheritance. This maintains wealth in smaller groups.

Job security 

  • People are expected to have a range of jobs in their lifetime.
  • JRF survey found 40% of people who had lost their jobs in previous six months had also been unemployed in previous two years.
  • Unemployment is now a normal expectation for some employees, as employers demand more 'flexible' labour.
  • This results in peaks and troughs in a person's income.
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Explain the two theoretical explanations for incom


  • Capitalism is based upon inequality with the rich actively seeking to exploit the rest of soicety. Inequality is inevitable in capitalism.


  • Society is best seen as various interest groups competing among themselves to ensure that they benefit the most.
  • Weber argues that this results in more powerful groups finding ways to obtain the highest income and maintain thier wealth.


  • Society needs inequality in order to reward the more able, who undertake the most important social and economic positions.
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