Discovering Sociology: Class & Inequality

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    • 00:01

      [Chapter 7: Class & Inequality]

    • 00:04

      DAINA EGLITIS: In the United States,income inequality, that is, the total share of income goingto the top group of earners compared to that goingto the earners in the middle and lower rungs of the incomeladder has grown since the 1970s.We can imagine the total legal reported incomegenerated in the US like a pie.The US Census Bureau divides earners

    • 00:26

      DAINA EGLITIS [continued]: into quintiles or fifths, and then calculatesthe share of this pie that is earnedby each quintile of earners.Take a moment before we look at the chartto make an estimate about the proportion of the incomepie that goes to the top and bottom and middle quintiles.

    • 00:49

      WILLIAM CHAMBLISS: The graphic shows ushow the total income in the US was distributed in 2011.While the top quintile of earners got about halfof the total, the bottom earned less than 4%.In fact, the bottom 80% of earners

    • 01:10

      WILLIAM CHAMBLISS [continued]: got less than the share claimed by the top quintile of earners.

    • 01:15

      DAINA EGLITIS: As sociologists, there'sa lot we want to know about this piece of income data.For example, what is the trend in income inequality?As we noted at the beginning of the video,income inequality has been rising.For example, in 1970, the top quintile earned about 43%of the total income.In 1990, it rose to 46%.

    • 01:38

      DAINA EGLITIS [continued]: In the early 2000s, it passed 50%.

    • 01:42

      WILLIAM CHAMBLISS: Sociologists are alsointerested in the why question.Why does economic inequality, like that we see in these data,exist and persist?

    • 01:54

      DAINA EGLITIS: Sociological theoristsoffer some perspectives on social stratification,which is the ranking of groups in a hierarchy of inequality.For example, as we'll see in chapter 7,functionalists have approached the questionby asking what function does social stratification servein society?They assume that if it did not serve a function,it would not exist and persist.

    • 02:16

      WILLIAM CHAMBLISS: Conflict theoriststake a different view.They want to know who benefits from inequalityand how it is reproduced over time.

    • 02:27

      DAINA EGLITIS: Sociologists also examine the economic changesthat have fostered the rise of income inequality.As we'll see in this chapter and in some of our later chapters,the US economy has undergone profound changessince the 1970s, including the decline of the manufacturingsector.The automation of manufacturing tasks, as well as

    • 02:47

      DAINA EGLITIS [continued]: the outsourcing of jobs to lower cost parts of the globe,has translated into the loss of jobsthat used to offer a solid route to the middle classfor many high school educated Americans.

    • 02:58

      WILLIAM CHAMBLISS: Today, workers without a collegeeducation have lost economic ground,and their incomes have stagnated or even dropped.Meanwhile, college educated professionalshave claimed a greater share of the economic pieas the value of education in the labor market has grown.

    • 03:20

      DAINA EGLITIS: Professional opportunities have opened upfor the college educated.But jobs have also expanded rapidlyin the service sector of the economy.Here, we find jobs like home health aides, retail workers,and restaurant workers.So while these jobs offer work opportunitiesto those with less education, they alsohave a lower wage scale than did manufacturing jobs.

    • 03:42

      DAINA EGLITIS [continued]: We'll talk about this more in this chapter,as well as chapter 14, which focuses on work,the economy, and consumption.

    • 03:50

      WILLIAM CHAMBLISS: Chapter 7 will alsoexamine the distribution of wealth in the United States.Is the distribution of wealth more or lessunequal than the distribution of income?What do you think?

    • 04:04

      DAINA EGLITIS: The final section of chapter 7introduces you to the important issue of global inequalityand explores what sociologists haveto say about why there are dramatic economic differencesbetween countries.Let's get started.

Discovering Sociology: Class & Inequality

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Abstract

Professors William Chambliss and Daina Eglitis discuss income inequality and how economic changes have increased income inequality.

Discovering Sociology: Class & Inequality

Professors William Chambliss and Daina Eglitis discuss income inequality and how economic changes have increased income inequality.

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