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Is social inequality meritocratic - Essay Example

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One motive for the incredible persistence of social hierarchies is that they are reinforced by ideology, cultural viewpoints that cause and maintain the interest of definite categories of people and justify stratification. Naturally, ideology takes the structure of developing cultural patterns that are confirmed directly and indirectly in accordance with a disproportionate distribution of resources and rights to definite categories of people. Melvin M. Tumin studied social stratification and inequality and summarized: functional justification is similar to class system; we act according to certain patterns or sets of ideas. Social stratification can in fact cause demotivation of people, those who are deprived of their rights might also be demotivated. Also Tumin states that social stratification depends on relations of power and distribution of power in society. "The main functional necessity explaining the universal presence of stratification is precisely the requirement faced by any society of placing and motivating individuals in the social structure. As a functioning mechanism a society must somehow distribute its members in social positions and induce them to perform the duties of these positions. It must thus concern itself with motivation at two different levels: to instill in the proper individuals the desire to fill certain positions, and, once in these positions, the desire to perform the duties attached to them" (Tumin, 1953, socserv2.mcmaster.ca, par. 5). Social inequality systems' purpose is to provide the privileged classes with the political power needed to obtain recognition and supremacy of an ideology which rationalizes the status quo, whatever it may be, as "logical," "natural" and "morally right. This way, social inequality systems are those of fundamentally conservative influences in the societies in which they are established. So Tumin states that meritocracy is based on the importance of one's status and occupation.
Social-conflict perspective shows that, rather than benefiting society as a whole, social stratification guarantees that some people get advantage at the expense of others. Karl Marx states that the two main social classes match to the two basic relationships people have to the resources of production. People can own property or they can work for others. In industrialized class models, the capitalists (or the) manage plants, which use the manual labor of workers (the proletariat). Work that consists mostly of manual labor is known as "blue-collar" work whereas work that contains middle-management office jobs is known as "white-collar" jobs. Marx believed that social disparity was dangerous for society. Marx gives a vivid contraposition of those two classes and suggests that social inequality is exactly meritocratic, since 'white-collar' class is more privileged and comprises elite, which exploits proletarians, or people who have no own property. The inner merit of person from higher class is that he or she was born in such family and belongs to bourgeoisie.
Marx's and Weber's concepts are similar in many aspects, so the author decided to compare them. The idea of class and class struggle does not occupy as significant a role in Weber as in Marx. In Weber's opinion, the rising speed of bureaucracy in all organizations is an unavoidable of the ...Show more
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Summary

It is difficult to say whether social inequality is meritocratic or not without any base of knowledge, i.e. without any information about the issue. In this work I'm going to present points of view of three outstanding scholars: Melvin Tumin, Karl Marx and Max Weber and produce my own vision of the subject.
Is social inequality meritocratic
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