The social stratification is universal. The classical perspectives on social class focus on the ideas of Karl Marx and Max Weber. K. Marx argued that a person’s relationship to the means of production was the only factor determining social class. As capital becomes more concentrated, the capitalists and proletariat will become increasingly hostile to one another. He believed that the workers would revolt against the capitalists, take control of the means of production, and create a classless society.
Max Weber developed a multidimensional concept of stratification that focuses on the interplay of three elements – wealth, power and prestige. The wealth is essential, prestige may be derived from ownership of property/income but it also may be based on other factors. (Special skills) Power is the ability to control others, even over their objections.
The sociological models of the U.S. class structure show a disparity in wealth, income, power, prestige and access to available goods and services. Please review Figure 7.1 Class in the United States, (Gilbert-Kahl Model) page 158, (our textbook) the video below, (Joseph. E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic Sciences, 2001.) and consider:
What are equitable ways of increasing people’s life chances in the United States? Share your thoughts.
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