The income gap between the rich and poor has widened during the last few years. Poverty, hunger, and homelessness have remained unresolved.
This paper focuses on Karl Marx’s Theory of class-based society.
Bridging the Income Gap Between The Rich and The Poor
Despite the later portion of the 20th century being the most economically sound period in the history of the United States, the income gap between the rich and poor class is getting wider (Randall, 2007).
Although the rate of economic growth has been steady for 118 months during the end of 2000, vital issues such as poverty, homelessness, and hunger have remained difficult to solve. The income gap between the rich and poor in the United States increased at a similar pace as the economy. According to latest figures, the wealthiest 1 percent of US citizens own 40 percent of the country’s entire property while 80 percent owns only 16 percent (Randall, 2007).
Since 1990, 40 percent of the of the increased wealth were pocketed by the rich minority with only 1 percent going to the pocket of the poor majority. It can be noted that from 1997 to 1999, the after-tax income of the wealthiest 20 percent of American families went up by 43 percent with the poorest 20 percent decreasing by 9 percent paving the way for inflation (Randall, 2007).
In the February 2000 issue of US News and World Report, it was revealed that in 1979 the average income of the wealthiest 5 percent of families was 10 times that of families belonging to the poorest 20 percent. Twenty years later, the income gap has climbed to 19 times, which tops among the developed countries. Likewise, the figure established a record since the Bureau of Census started studying the income gap situation in 1947 (Randall, 2007).
In addition, the income of executives of the biggest American companies in 1992 was a 100 times greater than regular workers and climbed to 475 times higher in the year 2000. In the assessment of Business Week in August 2000, the income of CEOs was 84 times higher than that of their rank and file in 1990, 140 and 416 times in 1995 and 1999, respectively (Randall, 2007).
According to recent estimates released by the US government, more than 32 million Americans or 12.7 percent of the entire population suffer from poverty and hunger. The prevalence of poverty is higher in the 1970s which is higher than other developed nations. Aside from that, the US Department of Agriculture revealed that 9.7 percent of American families had insufficient food with at least 10 percent of families in eighteen states as well as Washington D.C. suffering from hunger and malnutrition (Randall, 2007).
Karl-Marx And The Class-Based Society
Karl Marx was considered as one of the greatest economists. His economic theories espoused a capitalist society based on class. For him, classes are the most vital social group. In a normal society, different classes always antagonize each other because they have their own personal interests to promote.
In a capitalist society, the ultimate aim of each class is to become the most dominant group in society particularly when it comes to wealth accumulation. This would bring about a class struggle wherein there will be conflict between two classes. Eventually, one class will prevail while the other would lose.
In addition, the dominant class takes control of the government while the inferior class would be the ones to be governed by the government. In capitalism, the ruling class controls both the production and economy. The subordinate class, on the other hand, carries out the production and usually are the ones exploited by the ruling class.
Moreover, the ruling class are usually the owners of lands, properties, tools and equipments, raw materials, and finished product. As non-owners, the subordinate class perform the actual work. In this scenario, it is the ruling class who reaps the benefits of the economy and the subordinate class is placed on the losing end.
The Marxist theory is still very much alive today. The world is divided into developed and developing countries, which represents rich and poor societies. Developed countries are the ones who chart the fate of world economy. For example, oil-rich countries in the Middle East dominate and control world fuel prices because they have the resources. The currency of other nations is dependent on the US dollar because the United States is the most stable economy in the world, even though it is suffering from a financial, crisis right now.
Social inequality is very much evident in modern society. The African continent is suffering from famine and poverty. Malnutrition is being experienced by poor countries while the rich nations have more than enough to feed all of their citizens.
Within these countries, social inequality is likewise prominent. Today, this is a case of the powerful getting more power and the powerless becoming even more exploited. The world is always at odds with each other in order to become the most powerful force in the world.
The militarily powerful countries invade inferior countries in order to show the world that they are the superior when it comes to weapons and technology. It is therefore safe to say that capitalism is still very much alive even though its founder, Karl Marx, has died many years ago.
This I believe is the reason why the world will never be united or live in peace because countries are still ruled by their own interests and that is to dominate the less powerful nations, accumulate wealth, and establish themselves as the ruling class.
Randall, V (2007 December 25). Widening Gap Between Rich and Poor. University of Dayton. Retrieved October 22 2008 from http://academic.udayton.edu/Race/06hrights/GeoRegions/NorthAmerica/china03.htm
Karl Marx- Historical Materialism. University of Aberdeen. Retrieved October 22 2008 from http://www.abdn.ac.uk