As the information explosion service economy

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as the information explosion, service economy, consumerism, and globalization affect class. These structures tend to be controlled by the elites and the poor are often left out or negatively affected by these changes (globalization example). IV. Class Determination How does one determine social class? Often social class is thought of in terms of money and/or wealth. It's important to note, however, that social class does not have to refer to money and/or wealth exclusively. Drug dealers may have a lot of money, but they are not members of an upper class. A. Socioeconomic Status (SES) Differences 1. Objective measures Researchers can assign people to various social classes based on objective criteria involving wealth, power, and prestige. Some objective indicators can include occupation, educational level, number of dependents, type of residence, infant mortality, and life expectancy rates. 2. Subjective measures Typically, determining class from a subjective point of view involves asking someone how they perceive their class position. 3. Reputational measures People identify an individual's social class based on their expert knowledge of their individual's circumstances. The reputational method is limited to smaller communities, where people are familiar with one another’s reputation. People at each class level see class differently. People see finer divisions at their own class level, but tend to lump together people who occupy other class levels. (note textbook page 100) 5
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ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Social Class B. Max Weber Weber offers a multidimensional class model that incorporates three distinct entities: Economic status (wealth), political status (power), and social status (prestige). 1. Wealth Wealth consists of income and assets. Assets can be described as consisting of all forms of "financial wealth such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, life insurance savings, mutual fund shares and unincorporated business; consumer durables like cars and major appliances; and the value of pension rights." From these sources, one should subtract liabilities such as "consumer debt, mortgage balances, and other outstanding debt." The upper classes control a much greater percentage of valuable assets than income. Further, the assets controlled by the poor tend to depreciate (household items) over time while those of the rich tend to appreciate (real estate and stocks). The top 1% of Americans hold about 33% of all assets while the bottom 50% of all Americans hold about 2.8% of all assets. Income is "the amount of money a person or household earns in a given period of time (usually a year)." The gap between rich and poor is also very unequal and it is increasing. 2. Power Power is the ability to see that one's will is acted upon. Powerful people are able to mobilize resources to achieve their goals despite resistance from others. The sociologist Henslin argues that it is an inevitable part of everyday life. Like wealth, power is concentrated in the hands of a few. Political scientist Robertson argues that just as
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