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Kendall defines the definition of the class system as follows (219): The class system is a stratification based on the ownership and control of resources and on the type of work they do (qtd. in Rothman). Classical Perspectives on Social Class Karl Marx and Max Weber viewed class as an important factor in determining social change. According to Karl Marx, class is defined as a relationship to the means of production. In his opinion, a class can be capitalistic or it can be a working class. A capitalistic class consists of those who own the means of production. Workers in a working class are those who need to sell their labor in order to earn money. Major factor described by Marx’s theory involved in distinction between the two classes is power and authority (Kendall, 221). Weber came up with another theory as he was living in an era in which capitalism changed over time. He came up with a multidimensional approach to social stratification. He suggested there are three main factors wealth, power and prestige, out of which no single factor can determine the class level. Individuals can rank high in one factor and low in the other (Kendall, 221). Combining the Weberian and Marxian approaches to social class, research Dennis Gilbert (2003) developed a model of social class based on three factors: education, occupation, family income (Kendall, 223). Stratification based on education, occupation and income (Kendall, 224). ...
duced that education is not a direct factor contributing in the status level, but it indirectly influences the two other dimensions, that is, occupation and income. Education also shapes cultural behavior. Statistics of 1993 confirms that education the role of education in generating America’s social division. It shows that among individuals earning more than $100,000 per year, 49 percent had postgraduate degrees (Fleishman, 57). Sajjadi in her article discusses about social class system as a description of how scarce resources are distributed in a society. Those scarce resources are wealth, income, education and occupation. She further writes that income is an important scarce resource. But, it is occupation that provides income, and it is education that determines the type of occupation. Income is also related to other life consequences such as the quality of education obtained, health care, and housing (Sajjadi, Social Stratification in United States). As mentioned above, US individual income depends on education. In 2005, the top 15 percent of income earners were actually the ones with doctorate and professional degrees. Those who had bachelor’s degree had incomes above the national median and people with college degree had less income (Sajjadi, Social Stratification in United States). Education serves as one of the most essential class feature in US, which is directly linked in income and occupation. Level of Disparity Let us see how rich the riches are in US: (Durden, A Visual Reminder of US Social Stratification). A Harvard professor and behavioral economist asked more than 5000 Americans on their opinion on wealth distribution in US. Most of them thought its more balanced than it actually is (Durden, A Visual Reminder of US Social Stratification). (Durden,
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