Iinequality in the Labor System in the United States
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One of the most common aspects of modern work that has continue to stand its ground with little change is inequality. The high-ranking pedestal that it holds in the concept of professionism and working labor has continuously denied the opportunities for many trying to achieve the goals of moving up in the system but as well allowing the process of the “American Dream” to constantly be rejected. Inequality is most commonly seen is social standing( class) and race being the most affected with inequalities when it comes to the labor system. Not only this, but there is a definitely a line in the sand when it comes to whom is affected less than others. The revolving door of inequalities is non-avoidable and has continue to take its place in society, as it has been said previously by the many famous forefathers of Sociology.
The aspect of inequalities is a controversial modern topic of conversation that has had little change throughout the years. It is something that is always around and can’t be avoided. When it comes to the division of classes there is a clear understanding on who benefits the most and who has to continue struggling. Firstly, when it comes to inequalities there has to be basic process of labeling, this is where we start to see key terms such as the rich and the poor being integrated. These key terms are what separates everyone in to their own sections while at the same time leading to segregating and discriminatory actions taking place. The “working poor” is a result of this current labeling system created by higher officials to categorize everyone. The U.S Census defines “ the working poor” as individuals or families that fall under these, “Working poor are part of these three categories: a) people who work, but who nevertheless fall under the official definition of poverty; (b) people who are in poverty and have at least one working family member; (c) people who may not necessarily be “in poverty,” according to the official measure of poverty, but who fall below some percentage of the poverty level (200%)” ( Parrilla 2).
The working poor want to work but they lack the resources to fully commit to the working environment. And when lacking these resources, they must adapt to what they can get. Even if they work part time, or even fill in into what is considered the undesirable jobs such as the service industry it is still very troubling to move up. With this continuously occurring there is still a large percentage of suppression being added on to this class. Firstly, being set up in this category of the working poor has allowed the creation a negative attitudes and ideas that there are no options for anyone of this class to move up, only to stay in your place or move down. With these negative attitudes being set up, it is only natural for these individuals to focus their energy unto something that is easily adaptable and relatable to their environment, because in a way we are forced to enable the idea that “someone has to do it”. This way of thinking has been established through the division of classes and excretes itself onto the division of labor. These assumptions have lighted further the fire of inequalities.
One strong aspect that ties hand in hand with inequalities is race. This has been a clear differentiation since the beginning of history. We have seen the lows but commonly now we have seen the slow rise of race and inequalities starting to make a ripple in the water for change. It has resulted in many disadvantages in the labor field for minorities. This is seen through clearly in the deindustrialization era where many major factories were closed, leaving many working-class individuals without jobs and forced to face other alternatives options. But to the surprise of many there weren’t a lot of options for these people because since many of them were minorities they lacked the skills and education due to previous discrimination. This officially kicked them out of an actual chance of being able to work in these new advancing jobs. From this, we focus our attention to “From Institutional to Jobless Ghettos” which provides a more personal input of how race along with high rates of joblessness has created walls in many neighborhoods that once used to strive in business. But now due to the lack of jobs in the specific south side city in Chicago, there has been an increase in criminality rates. As mentioned previously adapting to the current environment has become a basic norm in many of these low-income communities in order to survive. But the way of survival falls into anti- norm actions such as committing criminal acts in order for individuals to provide for themselves and their families. These anti-norm acts of adaption or “work” as it could be described are continuously being seen as negative from everyone looking from the outside. But it has become the way of life for many and has become a part of as a norm in many of these neighborhoods. The lack of jobs in many neighborhoods to have large amount of poverty is because there aren’t as much jobs as there used to be before, which was expressed by many of the residence of the neighborhood and the result of previous incarceration or lack of education for example has put to halt any chance of relief.
Another example of how race and inequality have a strong relationship is described by Julius. He emphasis more on the idea by explaining the topic of selective recruitment practices that are more common and still influence the labor statistic when it comes job applicant selection. He includes “Selective recruitment practices do represent what economists call statistical discrimination: employers make assumptions about the inner-city black workers in general and reach decisions based on those assumptions before they have had a chance to review systematically the qualifications of an individual applicant” (Julius 137) This assumption about inner city black workers is being set up by society and does not apply to a majority of individuals. But it continues to be the reasoning of why many minorities along with black have persisted an ongoing battle throughout the years with not a lot of change. Again, this brings up a statement mentioned previously, how are individuals supposed to move up if these walls are being built completely excluding anyone and anything from achieving higher than they have. From setting these limits it only pushes segregation and discrimination to a higher scale. This constant escalation only increases the numbers of people being added to this label. This backs up the concept of how race has continued to become one the major factors that defines inequalities. But as well it puts in to perspective that there isn’t advancement when it comes to societal attributes. Even though that this is from a more modern point of view, race is still a medieval topic that divides society when it comes to the job field, while still going a firm grip on society.
The forefathers of Sociology had their ideas of what makes up the division of labor. Their ideas and theories varied in many ways, but they all still got to the point of what makes up the divisions of labor. Firstly, Karl Marx’s main focus was on the two major groups the bourgeois and the worker. Throughout his writing he makes it quite clear that these two group are not equal at all. The bourgeois hold capital as the major focus point and see the worker as a source of income. He emphasized that this is a historical fact and not a natural evolution. But this is something that is very debatable because there is still competition, something that is of human nature. This natural competition between men leads to the division of social classes resulting in unforeseen inequalities because someone is always going to achieve higher than the other. But one point that Marx included in his writing of Alienation that this is the goal of the capitalist in order to gain leverage over the worker. The capitalist wants the worker to become so involved with the product that they lose sight of themselves. This allows the worker to become the product of use, while the capitalist still hold control over them. This idea is also explained in the book reading of Burawoy, “ Labor becomes “voluntary servitude”: “As long as workers are engaged in a game involving their relations to a machine, their subordination to the process of production becomes an object of acquiescence” ( Burawoy 82) But from this, we can tie this together with what Marx said. The worker becomes the object losing the sight that eventually the could easily be replaceable. The idea of both these sociologists brings out the main focus on inequality which is that the worker is being pushed to its limits and they don’t gain the whole wage profit from the product. This is the point of inequality that is being raised. The capitalist will always gain the most at the expense of the worker.
On the other hand, Durkheim explains that the division of labor is a like the human body. Everyone has distinguished specialized jobs, but they are still working for the same goal. From this, Durkheim makes it seem that inequality is completely natural but that it makes the world go around. The dependability of others bounces back to others again. This is where we see the idea mentioned previously that someone has to do it more specifically a certain job. But as well it leads to believe what is not being said per se which is that someone is always going to above you.
To prove this point even further, we are going to set our focus to the upper classes. As it has been made clear, there is a clear division when it comes to social classes. The main point that I gathered from the, “Who rules America” is that power is given to those that hold a high standing place. The best way to describe this is focusing on the golden rule, those who have the gold make the rules. From this, the rules can be changed an altered in many ways to be convenient. This allows the release of power to be established. Breaking down what power really means is harder than it looks because there are so many different ways of analyzing it. Some of the attributes that are used for break down the idea of power are, “(1) who benefits? (2) who governs? and (3) who wins? ( Domhoff 3)
The inequality that comes from social classes and the results that come forward are set in stone from the way it seems. There is always going to be someone ahead and someone behind. But as it was said by Marx the two-group division are part of human nature. In a way, there is always going to be a prey and predator. Someone is always going to receive more than the other in most cases including the labor force. This initially resulting to inequalities to be more exposed in modern society. But what we have learned from these sociologists has influenced what we see today and has initially proved the fact that this inequality is a part of a nature. But as well it will continue to be part of human nature. The adaptations to work and what can be provided in these aspects truly express that there is a relative connection to inequality and what was said previously in these theories about the division of labor.
Overall, inequalities play a large role in our current society as it was empathized prior to its expansion. Many Sociologist have said that its part of nature to be unequal and it’s something that makes the world go around. But inequality has taken on a larger role than before. It has become a large form of oppression leading to results in negative effects to the parties involved. Initiatives have been taken currently to change these idealistic views, slowly but surely changes are being made for the better when it comes to the labor system in the United States. These changes don’t unfold themselves too often, but in reality, there has definitely been improvements in the labor fields when it comes to both social class and race. With this being said, could society as whole handle no inequalities if more changes and improvement were made?