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In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By wabwiregeoffrey
Words 5484
Pages 22
The Arithmetic of Inequality
Jimmy is a second grader. He pays attention in school, and he enjoys it. School records show that he is reading slightly above grade level and has a slightly better than average IQ.
Bobby is a second grader across town. He also pays attention in class and enjoys school, and his test scores are similar to Jimmy's.
Bobby is a safe bet to enter college (more than four times as likely as Jimmy) and a good bet to complete it -- at least twelve times as likely as Jimmy. Bobby will probably have at least four years more schooling than Jimmy. He is twenty seven times as likely as Jimmy to land a job which by his late forties will pay him an income in the top tenth of all incomes. Jimmy has about one chance in eight of earning a median income (Bassis, 1991:216).

I. Basic Definitions
A. Life Chances
Life chances refer to one's access to resources. Life chances can refer to one's ability to get food and shelter. It also refers to access to social institution such as health care, education, the government, and the law (to mention a few). Social class affects one's life chances across a broad spectrum of social phenomenon from health care, to educational attainment, to participation in the political process, to contact with the criminal justice system.
B. What is Social Stratification?
Social stratification refers to the division of a society into layers (or strata) whose occupants have unequal access to social opportunities and rewards. People in the top strata enjoy power, prosperity, and prestige that are not available to other members of society; people in the bottom strata endure penalties that other members of society escape. In a stratified society, inequality is part of the social structure and passes from one generation to the next.
C. What is a Class?
People who occupy the same layer of the socioeconomic hierarchy are known as a social…...

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