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Question on Social Inequalities - Term Paper Example

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Warren Buffet as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway argues that the government should impose higher taxation on the rich capital owners and leaders. Buffet says that while the middle class and the poor are taxed, the mega-rich are mollycoddled with tax breaks and that this should not be the case. …
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Question on Social Inequalities
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Social Inequalities Number: Question Warren Buffet as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway argues that the government should impose higher taxation on the rich capital owners and leaders. Buffet says that while the middle class and the poor are taxed, the mega-rich are mollycoddled with tax breaks and that this should not be the case. Buffet charges that taxing the rich should be done proportionately to the amount of wealth owned, so that equitability is maintained. To underscore this, he says that the fact that he pays 6,938,744 dollars annually in taxation should not be judged at face value as stringent taxing, since it is an insignificant fraction of what he annually makes. It is most probable that Karl H. Marx (1818 –1883) would have thought little of Buffet’s proposition. This is because, Marx saw the disproportionate acquisition of wealth and the controlling of state apparatuses (such as the monopoly of legitimate use of force and violence and the media) by the ruling class as what kept the oppression of the working class thriving. Marx saw the way of solving the problem of class consciousness and conflict as coming through a very radical institutional change- a revolution. Marx may gainsay Buffet’s proposition as cosmetic surgery since even the face of equitable taxation, the rich capital will still continue to enrich themselves by controlling the tools of production (Marx, 1968). Marx Weber (1864 –1920) on the other hand may consent to Buffet’s proposal since Webber was an unrelenting anti-capitalist critique who believed in the universal values of liberty, justice, equality, autonomy and self-accomplishment. It is because of the latter (self-accomplishment) that Weber argued in favor of private capital. Weber (Weber, 2004) would have bought Buffet’s idea as its ratification would have brought equality in the society while maintaining the capitalist’s need to proceed with the cause of self-accomplishment (by leaving labor relations intact). Question 2 Different scholars have seen race relations underpin socioeconomic relations. Conley in In Being Black, Living in the Red states that it is impossible to grasp the persistence of racial inequality in America without considering the asset gap between blacks and whites. Conley states that it is not enough to consider the traditional SES indicators (income, education and occupation) when studying the inequality. To Conley (2009), socioeconomic values such as income, family size, assets and education are a direct and indirect effect of race and race relations. Conley explains that it is not race in itself that causes the disparity in value distribution, but how class positions and the wealth levels are underpinned by race relations in America. The import of this is that the concept of class should be re-conceptualized by relating wealth ownership with inheritance. This will help establish the extent to which life’s chances are causally underpinned by a parent generation’s class position. Conley recounts how slavery and racial discrimination in the distribution of socioeconomic values locked out the African American, to underscore the aforementioned standpoint (Conley, 2009). Portes and Rumbaut (1996) maintain that race relations play an important role in the concentration of wealth, particularly through immigration. Portes and Rumbaut wax poignant that immigration is not one-dimensional, so that it is inaccurate to lump immigrants into one category. This is to the effect that contemporary immigration patterns reflect different points of origin and socio-economic backgrounds. Despite this fact, unequal laws are effected in the US to discriminate against the immigrant. Because of these unequal laws, immigrants settle in less decent conditions and are not able to access social amenities and services. Portes and Rumbaut suggest that legislations are made to accord temporary (immigrant) workers with a capped 1,000,000 jobs per year program. Likewise, legislations should be made to safeguard these jobs. This is the most tenable way race relations will be made socioeconomically equitable, according to Portes and Rumbaut (1996). Question 3 Wilson (2009) and Newman (1999) argue that jobs are more important than the remunerations they offer since jobs extend more opportunities and incentives such as loans, ability to invest and plan and a means to make a living. The difference between money emanating from a job and the job itself is that the latter guarantees financial security. At the same time, jobs help sharpen skills that are needed to get and secure jobs. Wilson and Newman use examples of the inner-city ghetto to explain how chronic joblessness deprives an entire city of skills that are necessary for the securing of jobs. The import of this is that no inner-city residents have an affinity to damaged personalities or a culture of poverty. While stating that disappearance of inner-city jobs is caused by industrial restructuring, foreign competition, racism and suburbanization, Wilson argues cogently that addressing the problem of joblessness is the centerpiece of seeking the solution to inner-city problems (Wilson, 1997). Question 4 Segmented labor market refers to acknowledging the notion that various subgroups in the market have very little crossover characteristics, if at all. In this case, the labor market may be bifurcated into the primary and secondary sectors. The latter contains higher status, higher grade, more lucrative pay, male domination and the best terms and conditions. The secondary sector is unattractive, lowly paying, female-dominated, replete with poor terms and conditions and marked with employees moving outwards in search for greener pastures. In the readings, Conley’s example fits this segmentation of labor market. This is seen in the instance where Conley goes back to history to show how after slavery was abolished, poorly paying factory jobs though hard to come by, were extended to African Americans while white Americans were extended office jobs. Unlike their white counterparts, these African Americans worked with no insurance cover, physical protection, decent housing (allowance), decent wages and access to healthcare services (Conley, 2009). References Conley, D. (2009). Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth and Social Policy in America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Marx, K. 1968 (1848). “Manifesto of the Communist Party”. In The Marx-Engels Reader, Second Edition, Ed. Robert C. Tucker. Pp. 473-486. New York: Norton Newman, K. (1999). No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, Vintage. Portes, A. & Rumbaut, R. (1996). Immigrant America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Weber, M. in The Essential Weber, a Reader. Ed. Sam Whimster. (2004). “Status Groups and Classes” and “The distribution of power in society: classes, status groups and parties.” Pp.176-194. Wilson, W.J. (1997). When Work Disappears. New York: Vintage Books. Read More
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