Presentation on theme: "Chapter 8: Global Inequality"— Presentation transcript:
1Chapter 8: Global Inequality We’ve spent some time now thinking about inequality and systems of stratification. Today we’ll widen our view a bit, and I will talk about what inequality looks like on a global scale.Chapter 8: Global Inequality
2The big issues Inequality between and within countries Theories of global inequalityWhat inequality looks like around the worldHow global inequality affects usLet’s start with some of the big questions that we’ll address:We’ll begin by thinking about inequality both between and within countries. In other words, we need to explore the idea that there is a kind of global hierarchy of countries, but that within every one of those countries there is also a local hierarchy to consider.Next I’ll address the question of how, as sociologists, we can better understand what causes global inequality, what reproduces the status quo, and what might lead to shifts.Once we have a sense of how we might explain inequality on a global level, we should consider what it actually looks like. As such I will spend a bit of time outlining some of the characteristics of the poorest people and countries, which we can, implicitly at least, compare to our own existence here in the United States.Finally, we need to consider how global inequality affects us. As citizens of the wealthiest country on earth, it might be easy to say that poverty elsewhere is not our problem. But as the world is becoming increasingly global, this simply is not the case.
3GlobalizationGlobalization is a process of increased interconnectedness, especially in terms of economics, politics, and culture.Globalization has led to massive wealth for some, while others are left further and further behind.Before getting into global inequality, it seems important to give a nod to a concept that now drives much of the research in this area: globalization. Globalization is actually an ongoing process of interconnectedness between nations, multinational corporations (MNCs), international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and individuals. Globalization is organized both formally (through organizations like the United Nations) and informally (through, for example, pirated Hollywood movies sold around the world), and is taking place particularly as concerns economics, politics, and culture.Globalization has led to a growing gap between those who have access and opportunities by which to thrive and those who do not. There are now 793 billionaires (as of 2009)—representing an essentially unimaginable amount of wealth. At the same time, there are millions of workers laboring in conditions we would likely consider inhumane, and doing so for starvation level wages. And still, there are those who do not even have access to jobs whose conditions are even worse.3
4Global inequalitySystematic differences in wealth and power between countries; significant systems of stratification exist within countries as well.Per person gross national income (GNI) ) is used as a measure of global inequality.High: $11,906+Middle: $976–11,905Low: $975 or lessNow, it’s important to point out that globalization does not need to be synonymous with global inequality. So far the two have been closely interrelated, but that does not have to be the case.Let me take a moment and describe our current system of global stratification. Just as in our own society, we have higher and lower classes, in the world, there are countries that are higher and lower in the rankings. One measure of global inequality used by INGOs like the World Bank is called per person gross national income (GNI). The scale for considering global inequality is broken down into high, middle, and low per person GNI, as you can see here:High -- $11,906+Middle -- $976-11,905Low -- <$976In 2006 the United States had a per person GNI of $44,710 (per the World Bank).
8Explaining global inequality Four primary approaches:Market theoriesDependency theoriesWorld System AnalysisState-centered theoriesWhat explains the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots? Sociologists have four basic approaches to explaining different aspects of global inequality, and I’ll talk about each in turn:Market-based theoriesDependency theoriesWorld System AnalysisState-centered theories
9Market theoriesFree markets are seen as the best path for optimal global development.Low government intervention should be coupled with “free,” unconstrained individual action.Example: Rostow’s modernization theoryWe’ll start with market-based theories. Those working within this tradition are mostly interested in explaining how to optimize growth; there is less attention paid to explaining current inequality, except for a constant refrain of the necessity of freeing the markets. Market theories tend to be argued mostly by economists, with some sociologists accompanying them.Let me briefly walk you through an example from your textbook: W. W. Rostow’s modernization theory. (Just as an aside, you should know that there are many versions of modernization theory, so it’s important to be clear whose work you’re discussing.) Essentially, Rostow made the case, in the 1960s, that economic growth requires the adoption of “modern” culture and values. Countries that hold on to tribal or localistic cultures—which he claimed are more fatalistic and less aligned with values connected with market growth—will not develop sophisticated industries or markets and will not become consumer societies. He saw their governments as interventionist and constraining; an impediment to development. As a result, these countries will not grow. Rostow outlined a path to growth, via modernization, that would counter these barriers.This basic approach continues to dominate in economics today, but most sociologists resist the strongly ethnocentric approach, which puts much faith in “markets” and little faith in people, social institutions, or social structures.
10Dependency theoriesThe theories are a rejection of market theories, built on Marxian ideas.Global inequality is seen as the result of exploitation by wealthy countries and other international players (INGOs and MNCs).Global inequality stemmed from colonialism and has been reinforced by global trade and finance.Dependency theories are, in a sense, a reaction to, and rejection of ,market-based theories. Those doing work in this vein begin with a different host of assumptions—namely, that markets are not free and that they do not fix inequality. Additionally, the questions answered by dependency theory are a bit different. In this approach, a great deal of attention is paid to explaining why global inequality looks the way it does.The answer goes back to the development of a colonial system that profited home countries at the expense of the colonies. Colonizers were able to obtain cheap raw materials while, in effect, forcing colonies to purchase expensive manufactured goods. Once the colonies were freed, industries (“the market”) moved in and carried on this arrangement for their own benefit.Dependency theorists believe that the only way to alter this arrangement is a revolutionary overthrow of the system of industry and finance that has lower-income countries locked into their current situation of dependence on outside resources for assistance.
11World System AnalysisDeveloped in 1970s by Immanuel Wallerstein, World System Analysis (WSA) sees the entire world economy as one system.There are core, peripheral, and semi-peripheral nations whose uneven balance of wealth and power defines the current order.Without debt relief, the system will be nearly impossible to change.World System Analysis, a newer response to market theories, begins with the same history but maintains its emphasis on states, as opposed to shifting focus to MNCs.Immanuel Wallerstein, who was one of the most important thinkers in this approach, wanted to be clear that global inequality was not due to defects in local culture, but rather to the unequal relations between core, peripheral, and semi-peripheral nations. The perspective’s name—World Systems Analysis—comes from the insistence that we must look beyond just markets or just states, and see that these are not separable but rather part of a single world system.Core nations are virtually the same countries as the colonizers described in dependency theory; they established themselves early on as the masters of the capitalist system. Peripheral nations, again, lining up with the formerly colonized, are left in a situation of dependency that will be nearly impossible to change without a radical solution, such as debt relief. Without debt relief, the cycle of need for cash, offering incentives to industries, and failing to develop continues. There are occasional examples of countries climbing out of this situation, but in general, the pattern holds.
12State-centered theories This approach emphasizes the necessary and constructive role of government intervention in economic development and global markets.This is in stark contrast to market theories.It developed in large part from studies of the rapid development of East Asian economies at the end of the twentieth century.Once again, we’re looking at a perspective that takes issue with the market-based approach. State-centered theories take the position—a more overtly political one—that states are needed to regulate markets and to assist in mediating, if not ending, inequality. Proponents of state-centered theories of global inequality, like market-based theorists, are interested in what will change the current pattern. This time, the answer is diametrically opposed, insisting on the importance of government intervention instead of free markets.Much of the work in this field looks at the rapid development and economic growth that took place in the newly industrializing economies (NIEs) of East Asia. A critique of this approach is that it tends to ignore the intense social regulations that have come with much of this growth.For your notes: there is a very helpful one page wrap-up of these four theoretical perspectives I’ve been talking about in your textbook. Looking at all four together and thinking about how each contributes something may be a useful way of understanding each.
13Where does change lead? In both positive and negative directions: ProsperityConsumptionExploitation (and further inequality)RepressionEnhanced role in new global orderOne of the interesting questions that has been asked in the wake of the emergence of several East Asian nations out of the lowest tier of countries is where all that change may lead. In other words, what happens in countries that experience rapid economic growth?The value of some of these things is debatable, but most of us would likely agree that prosperity and greater status in the global system are good things. It’s what comes with a new, fast-growing economy that worries some. There is concern about exploitation and internal inequality, along with increased government repression to maintain these new advantages. The development of increased consumerism certainly has both plusses and minuses, which perhaps we can talk about for a few minutes. What do you think the benefits of higher consumption might be? What problems might be association with it?
14Basic markers of inequality The majority of the world’s poor are illiterate.One-third are undernourished.More than 40 percent of all urban-dwellers in developing countries live in slums.The poor have worse health, die younger, and have significantly higher rates of infant and child mortality.All right, let’s shift gears a bit. I’ve been talking for a while now about inequality, but from a fairly abstract, macro-level point of view. Let’s think for just a few minutes about some of the ways we typically think about inequality and actual people.[Walk through these facts and get responses.]Now let’s think back for just a moment to questions about the downsides of, for example, consumerism: I suspect if the only alternative to abject, absolute poverty was consumerism, we would choose it. But why limit our imaginations in that way? One of the joys of sociology is to attempt to identify other possible outcomes and imagine what they might be like. Do these outcomes exist anywhere? Explain your answer.
15What will globalization bring? There are many potential scenarios:Ever-increasing polarization between haves and have-notsNew opportunities for everyoneEntrenched technological divideThere is room for optimism and pessimism; change will certainly affect us all.This brings us to this question of what globalization will bring. Current predictions range from increased inequality to new opportunities for everyone. To really think about what globalization will offer, we must also think about how all levels of actors—from individuals to businesses to states to INGOs—will participate. Will those of us in higher-income nations seek to include those in lower tiers in the wealth and resources we take for granted? Some fear that if we do not, we create a potentially revolutionary class in a world that contains powerful weapons—literal and figurative—that could change everything. Others see benefits in maintaining a stratified world.Whatever happens, it will be happening to all of us. Globalization has changed the world in ways that we, as members currently at the top of the heap, may not see. The next time you hear about the rise of China, think back to some of these questions.
16Chapter 8: Global Inequality That’s it for our discussion on global inequality. Our next chapter examines a different kind of inequality, but one that you’ve all thought about at least a bit: gender inequality.
17Clicker Questions1. What is the trend of global inequality? a. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. b. The rich get poorer, the poor get richer. c. The gap between rich and poor countries has remained the same. d. There is no clear trend of global inequality.Answer: ARef: What Is Global Inequality?, pp. 218–21917
18Clicker Questions2. According to state-centered development theory, why have some regions of the world been so successful in developing their economies in recent years? a. The political and military power of rich nations has contributed to the repression of opposition and the promotion of business interests in these regions because there is a direct benefit to them. b. Appropriate government policies are the key because they ensure political stability, lower labor costs, and provide social services that promote economic development. c. People in these regions have begun to lose their traditional orientation to life and adopted a way of life that is more consistent with economic development. d. Global commodity chains have helped to upgrade the economies of these regions, thereby making them more competitive.Answer: BRef: How Do Sociological Theories Explain Global Inequality?, p State-centered theories argue that appropriate government policies do not interfere with economic development but rather can play a key role in bringing it about. The World Bank concludes that without an effective state, “sustainable development, both economic and social, is impossible.”
19Clicker Questions3. According to world-systems theory, why are core nations wealthy? a. They possess the richest natural resources. b. Their cultures are characterized by the optimal set of attitudes and values. c. They have been able to control the economies of peripheral and semi-peripheral countries for their own economic advantage. d. They are technology innovators rather than technology adopters.Answer: CRef: How Do Sociological Theories Explain Global Inequality?, p Core countries are the most advanced industrial countries, and they take the lion’s share of profits in the world economic system and manipulating peripheral and semi-peripheral countries to their economic advantage.
20Clicker Questions4. What is the trend of global inequality? a. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. b. The rich get poorer, the poor get richer. c. The gap between rich and poor countries has remained the same. d. There is no clear trend of global inequality.Answer: ARef: What Is Global Inequality?, pp. 218–219
21Clicker Questions5. The political economic system by which more powerful nations take possession of less powerful ones in order to gain control of both natural resources and local markets is called: a. domination. b. colonialism. c. co-dependency. d. modernization.Answer: BRef: How Do Sociological Theories Explain Global Inequality?, p. 228
36Essentials Of Sociology W.W. Norton & Company Independent and Employee-OwnedThis concludes the Art Presentation SlidesSlide Set for Chapter 8Essentials Of SociologyTHIRD EDITIONbyAnthony GiddensMitchell DuneierRichard P. AppelbaumDeborah Carr