Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System by Douglas S. Massey

By Douglas S. Massey

The usa holds the doubtful contrast of getting the main unequal source of revenue distribution of any complex industrialized state. whereas different built international locations face related demanding situations from globalization and technological swap, none opponents America’s singularly bad checklist for equitably dispensing the advantages and burdens of contemporary monetary shifts. In Categorically Unequal, Douglas Massey weaves jointly historical past, political economic climate, or even neuropsychology to supply a accomplished clarification of the way America’s tradition and political process perpetuates inequalities among assorted segments of the population.

Categorically Unequal is remarkable either for its theoretical originality and for the breadth of issues it covers. Massey argues that social inequalities come up from the common human tendency to put others into social different types. In the US, ethnic minorities, ladies, and the terrible have always been the pursuits of stereotyping, and hence, they've been exploited and discriminated opposed to in the course of the nation’s historical past. African-Americans proceed to stand discrimination in markets for jobs, housing, and credits. in the meantime, the militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border has discouraged Mexican migrants from leaving the USA, making a pool of exploitable employees who lack the felony rights of electorate. Massey additionally exhibits that women’s advances within the exertions industry were centred one of the prosperous and well-educated, whereas low-skilled girl employees were relegated to occupations that provide few percentages for gains mobility. while, because the wages of low-income males have fallen, extra working-class girls are final single and elevating young children on their lonesome. while minorities and girls proceed to stand those stumbling blocks, the innovative legacy of the recent Deal has come lower than frontal attack. the govt. has handed anti-union laws, made taxes extra regressive, allowed the genuine price of the federal minimal salary to say no, and enormously reduce social welfare spending. hence, the source of revenue hole among the richest and poorest has dramatically widened in view that 1980. Massey attributes those anti-poor guidelines partly to the expanding segregation of neighborhoods by means of source of revenue, which has insulated the prosperous from the social results of poverty, and to the disenfranchisement of the negative, because the inhabitants of immigrants, prisoners, and ex-felons swells.

America’s unmatched disparities aren't easily the inevitable results of globalization and technological switch. As Massey indicates, privileged teams have systematically exploited and excluded lots of their fellow americans. by means of delving into the basis reasons of inequality in the United States, Categorically Unequal presents a compelling argument for the production of a extra equitable society.

A quantity within the Russell Sage Foundation's Centennial Series

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Sociologists have broadened the concept of capital to embrace re­ sources derived from social ties to people and institutions (Bour­ dieu 1986; Coleman 1988) . Social capital comes into existence when­ ever a social connection to another person ,or membership in a social organization yields tangible benefits with respect to material, symbolic, or emotional resources, such as getting a job that offers higher income, greater prestige, and more access to attractive sex­ ual partners. Most " good" jobs are not found through formal mech­ anisms such as paid advertisements but through informal connec­ tions with other social actors who provide information and leads (Granovetter 1974) .

Because mem­ bers of an elite tend to 'go to the same schools1 read the same books1 peruse the same periodicals/ learn the same stylized manners1 fol­ low the same fashions1 and develop the same accents and speech patterns1 they are easily able to acquire a common set of socially de­ fined markers that designate "good taste" and "high class/' so that elite members are quickly recognizable to one another and to the masses. The possession of cultural capital makes an individual more productive not because he or she can perform a given operation better or faster1 but because he or she can navigate structures of power with greater ease1 feeling relaxed and comfortable in the so­ cial settings they define and thus interacting with other persons of influence to get things done.

Year Source: Piketty and Saez (2003). Roosevelt and his New Deal and then under Harry S. Truman and his Fair Deal. The economic policies of both "Deals," in combination with strong deflationary pressures during the 1930s and the Second World War, led to a remarkable compression of the income distribu� tion and a sharp decline of inequality during the 1940s (Goldin and Margo 1992) . By 1952, when Republicans finally reoccupied the White House, the share of income going to the top 10 percent of tax­ payers had fallen from 45 percent to 32 percent; that going to the top 5 percent had dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent; and that accruing to the top 1 percent had declined from 20 percent to 10 percent.

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