Benefits and Drawbacks of Social Inequality

Social inequality is represented by unequal rewards and opportunities for different social statuses and positions within a society or a group. One can state that the United States of America differs, to a certain extent, from most European countries which have titled dignity. However, the society in the United States still remains highly stratified. Indeed, American society is a so-called stratification system that is based on privilege, including respect and honor, a hierarchy of power, comprising the ability to control someone´s behavior, and, of course, prestige, including wealth, income and property. In fact, every individual plays a particular role in the social stratification and reproduction of social inequality. Though, it remains a great question whether such stratification and reproduction of social inequality is beneficial for an individual and the society as a whole.

The patterns of social inequality in the US are the following: ethnic and racial inequality, age inequality, gender inequality, and inequalities in health (Durkheim, 2007). Scientists differentiate two main types of social inequality: inequality of opportunities and inequality of conditions (Durkheim, 2007). For instance, inequality of conditions means the uneven distribution of material goods, wealth, and income. Regarding inequality of opportunities, one can state that it refers to the uneven distribution of chances in life (Durkheim, 2007). One can see the unequal distribution in such measures as health status, the criminal justice system treatment, and level of education. For instance, the employees of a criminal justice system are more likely to ignore cases of people who are of different race, which privileges the criminal justice outcomes of people who are of the same race.


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Discrimination at community, individual, and various institutional levels is a main part of the progression of reproducing social inequalities of sexuality, race, gender, and class (Sernau, 2014). As an example, one can see the fact that women usually receive less money for conducting the same work that men do. Another example is racism that is present in all of American social institutions and lies in the foundation of American society.

Gender inequality is widely spread across the United States of America (Gans, 2007). The main principle of gender discrimination lies in limiting women in their abilities and opportunities to make serious decisions, receiving the same salary as men do for the same work, and, of course, taking part in political issues (Gans, 2007). Such inequality is not beneficial both for women and the society because the society loses potential leaders who may be very useful for some institutions. Ethnic and racial discrimination are often reflected at workplaces where employees prefer not to hire people of another race or pay them less for the same work (Gans, 2007). As a result, employers may lose a good specialist who is qualified, experienced, and skillful simply because he or she is of another racial or ethnic origin. Inequality in health is probably the most severe kind of discrimination since having inequalities of opportunities or life chances, an individual cannot access health care and has to suffer from diseases, etc. (Wilson, 2009). In the United States, the health care system is privatized. Consequently, if a person can access health care depends on his or her financial state. In the American society, health care is not free; moreover, it costs much money, and many people simply cannot afford it even if they extremely need it (Wilson, 2009). Such type of inequality is not beneficial and may lead to the collapse of the society because many people suffer from chronic diseases and have no opportunity to achieve treatment. As a result, there are numerous deaths which lead to the downfall of population.

However, social inequalities do not represent only the bad side of the phenomenon. Undoubtedly, racial and ethnical inequality, health inequality, and gender inequality do not benefit the society. Nevertheless, age inequality cannot be avoided since it helps control order in the country. Obviously, children, teenagers, and adults cannot have equal rights in the society. For instance, if a child had right to work, too many children would choose such path instead of studying and having normal childhood. Another terrible example of non-existence of age inequality is if teenagers had right to buy and drink alcohol beverages. Besides, it would be a horrible practice if children had an opportunity to enter various night clubs and similar establishments that are the sources of lust, chaos, rebellion, alcohol, drugs, and pathos. In fact, it is even hard to imagine how ruined the generation would be without any age inequalities. Of course, there are people who believe that age inequality is as bad as any other. In fact, most children and teenagers may be of the same opinion. However, in their age, they do not always know what they really need and what will make their lives better.

Concerning my own role in social inequality of the United States´ society, I can state that I experience age inequality. I am only a student, therefore, I have to face all the bans that are typical for people of my age and to take them as a matter of course. I do not consider it to be bad; in contrast, I realize that it is good to limit children and teenagers with certain rules and laws because, in their age, they often do not understand what is good and what is bad for them and for the society. I believe that such limitations make me a more responsible and moral person who understands that an individual cannot do everything he or she wants if it is against the law or brings harm to other people. Fortunately, I do not experience ethnic or racial, gender or health inequality. However, I see how my grandmother experiences health inequality. She is retired and suffers from a chronic disease, while all her income is her pension. Though her disease is not very serious, she has to pay money in order to receive health care and treatment. Surely, my parents help her and support both morally and financial. Nevertheless, when I think about elderly people who do not have children and are not cared about by anyone, I realize how unfair health inequality is.

Taking into consideration the information about how the United States of America is stratified, one may state that the USA is not divided into social casts. One differentiates four main types of social inequalities in the United States of America: inequalities in health, age inequalities, ethnic and racial inequality, and gender inequality. By analyzing the above-mentioned inequalities, one can see that social inequalities may have both advantages and disadvantages. While some of the inequalities, such as age inequality, bring benefits to the society, the others bring only harm and seriously ruin the society system of the country. In order to create a healthy and happy nation, one should remember that all people are equal and have the same rights, though there are moral and ethical rules and obligations that must be followed and conducted.

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