Social Inequality and Egalitarianism in Australia

Term Paper, 2011

6 Pages, Grade: B


Social inequality and Egalitarianism in Australia


In simple terms, social inequality is the lack of equal social status among individuals. There are several ways in which inequality is practiced, for instance, unequal income, access to education, health care, sexism and property rights among others. Types of social disparities include; racism, sexism and class inequalities. Social inequality has existed from the start of civilization, up today. In today’s societies, sociologists have examined disparities in dimensions of life, which include income, gender, life quality and race.

Explaining social class

Many sociologists, particularly those who view class in a capitalist way, will define social class in terms of income received by a person, as a way of grouping people. However, a Marxist explanation examines class in a more fundamental way. In defining class, Marxist basis on the amount of control a person has over the tools of production, and not the amount of income received (Kelly, 30). Just like other countries, Australia is dominated by capitalist way of production. The capitalists are control or own productive means, those employed in these production places are the (workers) working class. Majority of Australians fall under the working class, this group comprises about two thirds of the total population (Kelly, 31).

Social class in Australia: Class and Economic disparities

The amount of money we earn has a huge influence on the kind of lives we lead. Those who own big companies and enormous properties live a different life from those who are employed. Workers only do what they are instructed to do, and they earn little income. Employees working as clerks, on construction sites or taxi drivers, cannot afford to be billionaires (Kuhn, 57).

In a study carried out by Kelly, he found out that, the wealthiest 10% of Australians own about 45% of the wealthy in that country as at in 2000 (30). Accordingly, 86% of shares as well as other investments, 62% of rental houses and 60% of bank deports only belonged to a small group of people. According to data from Australian Bureau of Statistics Income Distribution, of 2001, 5% of the richest held 59% of wealthy, which can be invested (Kelly, 30). This lead Kelly to conclude that inequality in terms of wealth or income was increasing. The amount of money we have highly determines what kind food, clothes, health care and homes we have (31). Income also determine the type of education we get, and if we end up in prison or not.

Our type of occupation has a direct effect on how healthy, not just by the type of medical care we receive, but also by the control we have over our time and lives. Jobs with less stress mean that a person will be healthier. Level of education, type of food and other aspects that affect people at the lower class make they likely o suffer diseases like heart attack.

Examined individually, social aspects of wealth, education income inequality, health as well as housing explain critical issues of our society. These inequalities do not explain a lot, as they are only symptoms. Some people argue that inequality only indicates the reality that some individuals work harder than others. However, this common reason assertion makes huge postulations. One, this reasoning is not based on concrete evidence. Two, it is normal to have differences in our intelligent and “small brains” to result in high social inequality.

But, as explained by Ollman, inequality is a complex social issue and it cannot be explained in simply by looking at individual characters and conduct (134). Thus the issue of social power is discredited. To explain the way and why inequality occurs, and how it impacts the society, it is important to look at the issue using social structures. The way Marxist does approach the issue.


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Social Inequality and Egalitarianism in Australia
University of Manchester
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social, inequality, egalitarianism, australia
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Kathy Ndinda (Author), 2011, Social Inequality and Egalitarianism in Australia, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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