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Unformatted text preview: Urban Poverty
Social Relations and Economic Strategies for Survival What we seek to understand What are the ways of surviving in poor conditions? To what are these social forms due? Is What are the kinds of jobs available? What are the various ways to survive in those conditions? Is survival only economic? it cultural or economic? Week 05 05/12/09 2 Urban Life Is stratified, economically and socially What's the nature of economic stratification? How does it affect social relations and cultural meaning? 05/12/09 Week 05 3 Understanding Stratification and Poverty
Background and Facts Common Features of Poor CrossCulturally Types of jobs: "Shadow economies" These are significant parts of our economies and rarely counted (thus devalued)
Week 05 Legal household labor, a stayathome man Semilegal house cleaners, babysitters, off the books, seasonal construction labor, side businesses Illegal drugs, smuggling 05/12/09 5 Shadow Economies Semilegal garbage collection and street cleaning are common in the "shadow economies" of cities in the Third World
Week 05 6 05/12/09 Shadow Economies Garbage collection, garbage picking 05/12/09 Week 05 7 Shadow Economies Illegal: Smuggling, drug dealing, gambling, numbers running http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/economics/faculty/jpalmer/cr 05/12/09 Week 05 8 Shadow Economies Can be essential to survival in conditions where there are no economic opportunities available Many economists argue that this shows entrepreneurial skill and creativity given institutional limits Can be key to accumulation of capital to start `legitimate' business More philosophical drug dealers see it as redistribution of wealth
Week 05 9 05/12/09 Shadow Economies UN 1994: illegal businesses worldwide generated US $600 billion; drug trafficking contributes US $400 billion 05/12/09 Week 05 10 Shadow Economies Illegal businesses give superprofits, untaxed In Thailand, shadow economy drugs, gambling, tax evasion, income from corruption, informal sector activities such as household industries, and household work carried out by family members is 813% of the GNP. Drug trafficking alone is about US$85 billion a year in 1994. The valueadded profit is about US$ 1 billion for Thailand (this means the estimated value added to the product in each stage of processing, it's enhancement). This is from a book called Guns, Girls, Gambling, Ganja: Thailand's Illegal Economy and Public Policy. 05/12/09 Week 05 11 Class in America Definitions Class socioeconomic dissimilarities between groups of people that create differences in their possession and control of material resources and access to educational and occupational opportunities. Basic dimensions of classes Income, wealth, educational attainment, and occupational status. Income: Wages and salaries earned from paid occupations, plus unearned money from investments. Wealth: All assets individuals own. Education: The number of years of schooling a person has completed. Occupation: Occupational status is highly dependent on one's level of educational attainment.
Week 05 13 05/12/09 Class and Economy in America
Upper middle class about 14% Lower middle class about 30% Business, professional, high pay, shaped by education especially college, modest amounts of overall wealth Hardworking, modest income, small entrepreneurs, teachers, nurses, lowerlevel managers, some security but threatened by inflation, taxes, layoffs.
Week 05 14 05/12/09 Class and Economy in America Working Classes 30% of the population Jobs routine, closely supervised, tend not to have higher education, and this limits their social mobility; subject to layoffs with globalization, takeovers, corporate fraud; many manufacturing jobs that once provided secure income are now gone (Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh)
Week 05 15 05/12/09 Class and Economy in America Working Poor 20% of US population (probably more in the last 10 years) Unskilled, low paying jobs with little or no job security (often temporary, seasonal), less well educated, live from paycheck to paycheck, may depend on government services to survive; no savings as a safety net; layoffs and illness and make them homeless. 05/12/09 Week 05 16 Class and Economy in America "Underclass" what we think of as the poor. Supposedly 1% of US population, but clearly much higher now and in cities.
Absolutely no chance of making it out of this class Their children are also very constrained from social mobility Week 05 05/12/09 17 Class and Economy in America The Upper Classes We all know them at least from the media! They own things, they have power because they control jobs, and often control the media About 3% of the US population
Week 05 18 05/12/09 Changes in Socioeconomic Classes In the 1990s, only the upper 5% of American households experienced a net gain in the economic boom of the 1990s. That same upper 5% of American households now controls approximately 60% of all household wealth. The distribution of wealth has become more unequal in the last 25 years. The rich got richer, but almost everyone else became relatively worse off than they were. The United States has the most unequal distribution of household income among the industrialized countries.
Week 05 19 05/12/09 Class is Persistent Over national mythology is that the US has social mobility But most people remain in the class into Anyone can make it! If you don't, you're weak! which they were born. Why? How?
05/12/09 Week 05 20 How is Class Membership Maintained? How do the poor remain poor? Physical and social environment socialization, cultural reproduction Share experiences, education, memberships in organizations, values, so associate more with each other Economic opportunity or not
05/12/09 Week 05 21 Ethnicity and Class America's not a melting pot The exception: But there are high levels of assimilation Migrants are our evidence of the possibility of social mobility AfricanAmericans America's caste system 05/12/09 Week 05 22 Race and Class Race has been maintained as a key social division in America Migrants become American by "becoming white" They "become white" by defining themselves as "not black," I.e., through continued prejudice and discrimination
05/12/09 Week 05 23 ...
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- Fall '07