12 Angry Men 4

12 Angry Men 4The common belief about socioeconomic status comes from the categorization of classes such as the upper, middle, and lower class. However, in many cases there is limited vertical social mobility between the classes due to economic inequality. With the rise of economic inequality in America, the belief about social class has been generalized to the individual person by whatever social class he or she is in. Simply put, it is common belief that either the poor have put themselves in the position of poverty, or that the rich have worked their way up the corporate ladder using good morals and a winning smile. Both of these common assumptions are utterly wrong.
In reality, America is a class system economy. Although there are many definitions of what class means, in this context class refers to the amount of wealth an individual possesses. In many cases the individual is born into the class they are categorized in. From birth, an upper class child may be put into more prestigious school that could potentially give a better education because their guardians have the expendable income required for tuition. Tutoring lessons in whatever subject could also be more prevalent due to the child’s guardian’s wealth. While the upper class children receive more education from birth, lower class children could receive little to no education. Not only could the lower class children be distracted by gnawing hunger pains, they could also have less time to study based on how much the child needs to contribute to the household. If a child is too busy to study because their mother or father is working multiple jobs that leave little time for caring for other siblings, it is then the responsibility of the older children to care for younger siblings. The aspect of the child working should be taken into consideration as well. The child could be working to support the household by him or herself.
The difference in preparation for education past high school, the ability to pay for college, and the potential job skills that were never learned prevent the child from growing into an adult that could have specialized skills needed for a better (higher paying) job. This is because the rich want the poor to remain poor so they can keep power within the hands of the economically privileged. Choi, the author of On The Rich Getting Richer And The Poor Getting Poorer states the idea clearly, “The poor may attempt to improve his lot by acquiring skills or education, but the rich can do better, given his ability to finance. Only luck could bring about a change in one’s relative standing on the income ladder” (3)
The primary aim for this research is to find if the rich are getting richer and if the poor are getting poorer. When figuring out whether the rich are getting richer or the poor have gotten poorer, there must be a distinction between the two. The division between the rich and the poor has grown dramatically within the years.
Today, unemployment rates are at its highest; Americans have been forced out of their homes because of foreclosure, and the people who are able to get jobs are being offered lower wages than expected (Lieberman). Whereas the service economy is rewarding the educated with high-paying wages and professional jobs, the people without the education are being stuck with the retail sales and the fast-food industries where salaries are low and work is hard. “25 million workers are either unemployed or underemployed, 50 million lives without health insurance” (Martin). Some would call this a “winner-take-all economy” and some would call it economic inequality.
The increase of economic inequality has a lot to do with how an individual may shape his or herself. Economic inequalities are the distinction between the poor and the rich. The view of inequalities as a positive and/or negative in our country depend on the individual’s opinion. “A lot of researches are focused on studying the evolution of inequality in incomes distribution and others have attempted to explore the relationship between income inequality and economic growth” (Burz). Economic inequality limits the opportunities for the people that suffer from the financial problems that our economy is facing today.
The wealth of America has had more concentration because of the rich seemingly claiming a fatter share than before. Despite today’s economy, the wealthiest of Americans are only getting richer. “In 2009, the average income of the top five percent of earners went up, while on average everyone else’s income went down” (Lieberman). Therefore, the total income going to one percent has gone up to about eight percent in the 1960s to more than 20 percent today (Lieberman).
Inequalities between the rich and the poor have been going on since ancient times. Throughout history, the inequalities that lead to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer often times have involved the government. The government is for the people, equally. The fact is that the rich have tremendous influential power over the government. They can persuade government to accept policies that tend to rule in their favor, “policies that radically increase inequality” to “maximize their economic advantage” (McCormick 892). Robert Wade discusses this by saying, “the rich have vastly disproportionate influences in politics” (26). According to Nathan J. Kelly and Peter K Enns, “Understanding income inequality also holds a central place in the study of politics” (885), and that “it seems quite clear that government can affect distributional outcomes” (856).
Knowing that the rich are the ones with the “power” over government, it seems as though the inequalities in financial distribution are here to stay. The rich keep getting richer by “pay(ing) little by payroll taxes or state and local taxes, which are major burdens for the middle-income families,” making the poor poorer. (Wade 26). The rich not only influence government policies, but they also convince the lower classes that this is what society needs and this is good for them. The “already-rich defend inequality… to limit downward redistribution and expand upward redistribution” (Wade 27). Wade continues by stating “inequality defenders [say it] is necessary to the innovation, corporate management, and productivity from which the whole population benefits” (41). “Inequality is kept in the background” (Wade 44). The government also tends to shape the way the poor think about wealth distribution, or lack thereof. “Economic and political elites… shape the opinions of the poor through distraction and/or misinformation” (Kelly 869).
Since the rich are getting richer through their own policies and rules, is there anything that can be done to redistribute wealth in such a way that the poor stop getting poorer? John McCormick writes that even in ancient times, “none of [the] republics efforts to block, mitigate, or forestall the corrosive influence of economic inequality upon civic liberty worked very well… or worked effectively for very long” (883). So what are the solutions? What can be done?
According to a Harvard school survey, a Harvard business professor and economist, Michael Norton, asked 5,000 Americans what they thought was the ideal distribution of wealth in the United States, then what they thought the actual distribution of wealth was in the United States. In reality, the actual distribution of wealth in the United States was unexpected and inaccurate. The Harvard school survey made a chart as a visual to see their hypothesis of the distribution of wealth, then what they thought was ideal and also the reality by dividing the country into the top 20 percent, bottom 20 percent, and the four middle class 20 percent’s.
92 percent of them said they think the ideal distribution of wealth in the United States should be more equitable then what their hypothesis. Therefore, nine out of ten of them knew the system was twisted unfairly. However, that’s not even comparable according to reality. In reality, the bottom 40 percent barely share any of the wealth. In other word, 20 percent shares more of the country’s wealth in the United States then the nine out of ten Americans think the top 20 percent of American should have. (Norton 11)
In conclusion, the division between the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer has grown dramatically within the years according to very distinctive forces. (I took this sentence from Shelby page just a part of the summary and wrap up of the paper, im not really sure how many years in the research she did) These forces such as the high unemployment rates of today’s economy, the increase of economic inequalities, and the diversity of an individual’s opinion all add to the gap between the divisions of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. In addition, to all those forces and the effects along with the pressure it puts on the gap between the rich and poor; the way the Unites States deal with the greater inequalities has the biggest force on the gap between the rich and the poor. Overall, many factors contribute to the economies wealth distribution gap whether it has to do with the system or negative and or positive individual opinions.


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239-258. Social Sciences Citation Index. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.

Burz, Răzvan-Dorin, and Bogdan Ion Boldea. "Sustainability Of Economic Growth And

Inequality In Incomes Distribution." Annals Of The University Of Oradea, Economic

Science Series 21.1 (2012): 249-254. Business Source Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

Lieberman, Robert C. “Why the Rich are Getting Richer: American Politics and the Second Gilded Age.” Foreign Affairs 90.1 (2011): 154. Opposing viewpoints In Context. Web. 1April 2013.

Kelly, Nathan J., and Peter K. Enns. “Inequality and the Dynamics of Public Opinion: The Self- Reinforcing Link Between Economic Inequality and Mass Preferences.” American Journal of Political Science 54.4 (2010): 855-870. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Martin, Patrick. "The US Population Is Increasingly Divided By Wealth." What Is the Future of the US Economy? Ed. Ronald D. Lankford, Jr. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. At Issue. Rpt. from "Christmas of Crisis in America." http://wsws.org. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 1 Apr. 2013

McCormick, John P. “Keep the Public Rich, But the Citizens Poor”: Economic and Political Inequality in Constitutions, Ancient and Modern.” Cardozo Law Review 34.3 (2013): 879-892. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

Norton, Michael. “Building a Better America--One Wealth Quintile at a Time”. Sage, 3 February 2011.

Wade, Robert. “Why Has Income Inequality Remained in the Sidelines of Public Policy For So Long?.” Challenge (05775132) 55.3 (2012): 21-50. Business Source Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

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