Inequality can be described as the uneven distribution of opportunities, prizes, and power between individuals, households, and groups (Turner, 2006). This division, based on differences between people, is the fundament of every modern and class-divided society.
Inequality has risen across the world for several decades; some countries have decreased the numbers of extremely poor people, but economic differences have increased as the most wealthy accumulate exceptional levels of riches. Among industrial nations, the United States is by far the top-heavy, with much greater contributions of national wealth and income going to the richest 1% than any other country.
We cannot think that the only element that defines inequality is economy; there are various types of it, such as social inequality, which is the difference about privileges, sources and rewards that a group of people consider uneven and damaging for the potentialities of individuals, it is an objectively measurable and subjectively perceived difference. One of the main indicators of social inequality is the distribution of income and wealth. From the late 1970s, the distribution of income and wealth has become more unequal than the previous decades in most avant-garde economies of the planet and the total income of the poorest 10% of the population actually fell between 1979 and 1992 (Abercrombie, Hill and Turner, 2006). The Guardian reported that the UK ranks among the most uneven nations in Europe, but is more equal than the US, the most separated wealthy country world widely (Partington, 2019).
Other than income and wealth, we need to consider different elements – for instance race, gender, education, class and much more – that is part of the uneven administration of opportunities and the division in classes.
First, class can appear as a subjective location, a social category used by people in an economically stratified system; or it can be defined objectively regarding material standards of living. It can be said that class inequality is linked to wealth and economy, whereas status inequality is linked to prestige and opportunities. Either way class is still the fundament of every modern stratified society.
There are theories of stratification, such as the functional theory of stratification, which argue that stratification is universal, because societies need the best-qualified people to undertake essential tasks, and they required to be rewarded appropriately. The main belief of the functionalist school is that we need stratification in order for a society to work. On the other hand the Conflict school argues that inequality is the result of a competition for scarce resources and that public institutions maintain social hierarchies through ideology.
Moreover, inequality concerns deprivation: the uneven access to social goods. This can be influenced by stratification, since people have different opportunities depending on their social class and their prestige, but also gender and race are causes of deprivation still in the twenty-first century.
Janet Chafetz, professor of sociology at the University of Huston in Texas, focused her studies on gender and sociology roles, trying to develop a scientific theory on gender dynamics. Chafetz assets that there are two kinds of forces sustaining gender inequality: coercive and voluntary. Coercive forces concern males having resource advantages above women at the macro-level of social structure and using this advantage to control micro-encounters among men and women. Voluntary forces chase from these previous forces because once a system favouring males exists, it restrains the options given to women (Turner, 2005).
Whether if it is based on economy, society or culture, inequality has consequences; while some stage of inequality cannot be avoid in a market- based organisation, drastic divisions might have widespread consequences. Brexit in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump in the US, likewise increasing support for new political movements in Europe from both edges of the political spectrum, have been associated with rising inequality. Ted Howard, co-creator of the Democracy Collaborative, a left wing research institute, claims that three people – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett – are more whealty than bottom 160 million people in the US. “It’s not just as an economic fairness issue but also a democratic issue” he says. Ahead political divisions the growth of inequality might appear in negative economic results. Right wing economists have explained that redistributing earnings is counter-productive, but the IMF (International Monetary Found) believes societal divisions can destabilise growth and build the circumstances for an immediate decreas. Economies can be suffocated when thousands of people are kept back from supporting to their full potentiality (Partington, 2019).
Furthermore, it is necessary to understand what people think about inequality. Marmot said that a common answer was to look at as discriminatory the fact that some parts of society have worse health. Some comparative searching projects (Aalberg, 2003) have tried to determine public point of view on inequality. UK public opinion appears more bothered about high incomes at the top than low incomes at the bottom. As with health inequality, studies have concentrated less on population endorsement of economic difference than on public views of the sources of inequality or poverty. Some studies are one country studies, especially of the USA (Alves and Rossi, 1978), where sustain for complete equality is absolutely little (around 5%) even though support for diminish inequality is higher (Miller, 1992). Support for who has a fair share of income and advantages (strongly agreeing plus agreeing) raged from 37% in Japan to 11% in Estonia. Sustenance for statements that income diversities are too great or much too great changed from 91% in Slovenia to 59% in East Germany. The datas for Britain were that 29% agreed or strongly agreed that everybody should have an even contribution and 75% said that income diversities were too great or much too great (cited in Howarth et al., 2019).
Finally, it is important to understand that inequality does not concern just one society or one country, but it is a global issue that must not be ignored. It could be possible, not to eliminate inequality, but to reduce the disparity among societies.