a203-11f-14-Hierarchies

a203-11f-14-Hierarchies - Introduction to Cultural...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology: Class 14 Social and economic hierarchies Copyright Bruce Owen 2011 - Inequality - We live in an unequal society, stratified by wealth - a few people get a lot of the total income, a lot of people split up the remainder - Graph of US wealth distribution in 2005: - The richest 20% of the population owns about 85% of all the wealth in the country - The next-richest 20% owns about 10% of all the wealth - Leaving less than 5% of the wealth of the country to be divided among the remaining 60% of the population - The poorest 40% (not far from half of the population!) owns so little of the national wealth that it is not even visible on the graph. - Some estimates as of 2009 suggest that the richest 1% of Americans hold almost 50% of all American wealth - Source: Norton and Ariely, Building a Better America One Quintile at a Time http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf- This is from the Harvard Business School, not known for loopy liberal claims - Or consider pay: in 2005, US CEOs in major corporations earned 262 times the average pay of US full-time workers - That is, a major CEO earns as much in ONE DAY as the average American employee earns in one YEAR - (2080 working hours in a year / 262 = 7.9 hours = 1 working day) - Source: Economic Policy Institute, a progressive but legitimate research organization, http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20060621/- in 2005, US CEOs in major corporations earned 821 times the minimum wage - A person earning minimum wage has to work a full year to earn as much as an average major CEO earns in 152 minutes. (about 2.5 hours) - Source:Economic Policy Institute, a progressive but legitimate research organization, http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20060627/- This is extreme inequality. The rich in our society are very, very much richer than the poor, or even than the average - compare our stratification to that of Egypt under Khufu (Cheops), the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid at Giza - Khufus Great Pyramid at Giza - 230 m square (756 feet) - if built on this campus, it would cover Stevenson, Darwin, Salazar hall, the Student Union, the Commons, and most of the main quad - 146 meters tall (475 feet) - 2.3 million cut sandstone interior blocks, 2.5 tons each - estimated 84,000 laborers working 80 days/year for 20 years (~ 370,000 person-years!) - outside cased in limestone blocks, 16 tons each - cost in modern terms: Intro to Cultural Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Social and economic hierarchies p. 2 - the low-skilled labor alone at California minimum wage ($8.00/hr since 2008) would total 8.6 billion dollars - enough sandstone for the interior blocks would cost almost 0.6 billion dollars (5.75 million tons at $100/ton) - plus all the skilled labor, limestone, granite, etc. which today would be very expensive - not to mention all the gold and expensive goods placed in it - all told, equivalent to perhaps ten billion dollars...
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This note was uploaded on 03/02/2012 for the course ANTHRO 203.1 taught by Professor Owen during the Fall '11 term at Sonoma.

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a203-11f-14-Hierarchies - Introduction to Cultural...

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