Income Wealth Gap as a Form of Social Inequality in America

Wealth inequality is a common form of social inequality in the modern world. Wealth distribution in America has been a debatable topic for many years. Economic gaps continues to widen despite implementing various economic strategies. Unequal distribution of wealth in America has restricted the country from achieving its full economic potential. In America, wealth is unequally distributed among people of different social classes, races, and gender. Due to wealth inequality, the American economy is controlled by a few powerful individuals. The need to maintain the status quo is a major cause of wealth disparity between the rich and the poor. Rich people use their already accumulated resources to undermine the poor. According to Karl Marx theorist, the domination of the rich over the poor results in wealth inequality. The negative impacts of racism widen the wealth gaps in America as per the racism theory. In America, men have a much higher control over the economy as compared to women. Although policies have been implemented to increase women's participation in economic activities, various forms of women discrimination in the workplace still exist. According to the feminism theory, discrimination against women widens the wealth gap between men and women in America. Karl Marx’s theory, racism theory, and feminism theory are three outstanding philosophies that explain how status quo, racism, and gender inequality contributes to wealth inequality in America.

The idea of capitalism in America continues to create a disparity between the capitalists and laborers. Through capitalism, the government provides favorable conditions for private investors to own large organizations with a significant influence on the country’s economy. As a result, few capitalists with vast resources have emerged in America. Most of the billionaires in America have invested in different industries. Casual and skilled American laborers work in these industries to earn a living. At work, the employees work under the control and supervision of the capitalists. Each employees’ input in the production of a certain commodity is essential. However, most of the employees do not understand how significant their input is in the production process. As a result, the employees end up being compensated on a monthly basis instead of being compensated based on the significance of their input to the final product. This kind of interaction between employers and employees tends to benefit the employers while undermining the employees, which widens the wealth gap between the employers and the employees. The few capitalists manipulate nature to ensure that they dominate the American market. All the important resources and means of production are owned by the capitalists because of their huge wealth. Since the American rich capitalists own a large portion of the American market, Americans employees are left with no chance rather than working for the capitalists for small wages and being exploited. Hence, the desire of the few capitalists in America to maintain their status quo restricts other Americans from accumulating wealth.

Karl Marx is a great social and economic philosopher. According to Marx, labor allows human beings to interact with nature. Through labor, human beings can manipulate nature, materials, and other commodities. Hence, Karl Marx acknowledges the necessity of labor in achieving economic progress. Raw materials are transformed from their natural existence to finished goods through labor. In the process of converting raw materials to products through human labor, human beings are also transformed. In a capitalist society, human labor is alienated to the few capitalists. According to Marx, laborers are forced by their employees to work. When employees are not at work, they are normally at home as per Marx. Therefore, employees are forced by external needs to work. In a capitalist society, workers do not own a proportionate share of their labor. Marx provides an example of a worker who services a production line in a company. The worker cannot translate his/her services to the final product because he/she does not own the production line. In addition, if the worker intends to possess the final product, he/she has to buy the product as other consumers. Hence, Marx viewed capitalism as an idea that benefits the capitalists while oppressing the employees. Capitalists manipulate the existing systems to ensure their domination, as per Karl Marx.

The ideas of Karl Marx explain how capitalism and the need to maintain the status quo contributes to wealth inequality in America. In America, capitalism is a common concept in the country’s economy. The market is controlled by a few capitalists who own almost all the raw materials and means of production. Marx’s theories state that human beings have to work for the few capitalists to satisfy their needs. The capitalists in America have manipulated policies that favor their domination in the market. For example, influential entrepreneurs in America have proposed a bill that restricts employers from publicizing employees’ wages. The bill encourages the oppression of the employees since the concerned bodies cannot establish employers who are underpaying their workers. In America, workers who complain of being paid small wages are fired from a job and replaced. This action is in line with Marx’s theories since the theorist viewed unemployment as a factor that contributes to low wages. Paying employees less wages continues to widen the gap between the workers and their employers. The few rich investors in America have changed the market system to prevent new investors from entering the market, which results in unequal wealth distribution. Although Karl Marx explains the issue of unequal wealth distribution in America, the theorist failed to incorporate the issue of gender inequality in his framework. Labor is very sensitive to gender. In my view, Karl Marx would have incorporated how rich capitalists treat their male and female employees in their effort to maintaining their dominance.

The current trend on wealth accumulation has radically improved the economic growth of individuals’ especially those with leadership positions. In America and across the world, women have less representation in highly paid positions and more representation in low paying jobs. Women of a certain color of transgender go through high levels of unemployment, leading to economic challenges. Economic divides in America are mainly caused by gender inequality and sexual harassment in places of work. Minimal support is experienced by businesses owned by women in U.S. wage ranking. Since the year 2009, about sixty-three percent of women have been classified as the only workers earning minimum wages. In the category of five hundred most successful companies In America, women own only five percent of them. Among all full-time based workers, unequal payment is experienced where women make only eighty-one cent for every dollar a man makes. On average, American women earn less than men in all industries. A large pay gap is experienced in managerial positions with men earning about eighty-eight thousand dollars and women earning only fifty-five thousand dollars. The smallest payment gap is experienced in the construction sector, but the number of women working in the industry is only nine percent of the workers in the industry. Therefore, women in America are generally underpaid compared to men regardless of race, which creates wealth disparity.

Generally, feminist theory refers to a wide range of systems of ideas concerning social life and human experience created with consideration to women. The theory is focused on women in two ways. The first way is by investigating women's social life and experiences in society. Secondly, it aims at describing the social world from a unique view of women in society. The theory is different from most sociological theories because it is developed from the work of specified scholars, artists, and activists in society. The feminist theory has described further gender difference, inequality, and oppression. Gender difference refers to behavioral and experience differences between women and men. According to the feminism theory, gender difference is used against women indicating they are inferior to men. Women and men are assigned different duties in institutions as a result of sexual division of labor terming women as household workers. Society has labeled men and women differently. In the allocation of resources, power, and employment opportunities, women get less. Feminist theory illustrates women's oppression as a result of the relationship between men and women, where men have a fundamental right in controlling women. Women are subject to sexual harassment in workplaces as a requirement to be employed as per the feminism theory. Feminist theory focuses in structural oppression, which arises from a group of people benefiting from using or controlling other people. The current wealth disparity between men and women in America can be described by the feminism theory.

Inequality in wealth distribution has been greatly experienced in America. In America, women are experiencing sexual harassment in workplaces, which is in accordance with feminism theory. However, Feminist theory only focused on societal attitudes and values that support sexual harassment. Feminist theorists never considered that some offenders are ignorant about the harm they cause to women, and sexual harassment is not meant to intimidate women. In America, women color is a factor considered during employment with white and Asians being employed more than blacks and Latinos. The feminist theory eliminated discrimination by color in workplaces, politics, and allocation of wealth. Women in America are given different roles as compared to men. Feminist theory focuses on eliminating discrimination during the assignment of duties in workplaces between men and women. Women and men who are in the same job position are paid differently, where women are paid less than men. Feminist theory aims to enhance gender equality, where men and women in the same job positions will be paid the same salary. In America, gender oppression is evident where only five percent of women own the most successful companies. Feminist theory eliminates gender oppression by stating that women should not be treated dismally based on traditional knowledge of women being controlled by men.

Racism is a common phenomenon in America that creates a wealth disparity between people of different races. A wealthy gap exists between the black and the white Americans. In recent years, America has made significant steps towards achieving an equal opportunity state. However, judging people on the basis of their races still hunts American society. Most of the world-class companies in America are owned and run by white Americans. American society Has advanced to a level where almost everyone is employed. Although America is approaching a full-employment economy, enormous racial wealth gaps exist. Currently, white American families are almost seven times richer than the black American households. In America, it is not a surprise to a black American being paid smaller wages than a white American counterpart after performing the same task. Also, in most of the American organization, the black American wages are increased at a lower rate as compared to white Americans. Cases have also been reported where black Americans have been dismissed from job interviews despite being qualified than their white Americans counterparts. These factors that normally occur at the workplace creates a racial wealth gap between black and white Americans.

Racism theories expound on how discriminating people based on their races contributes to the widening wealth gap between people of different races. Critical Race Theory uses a social scientific approach to study society, race, and racism. As a social science, Critical Race Theory encourages scholars to appreciate how races are constructed and how societal resources are unequally distributed among the races. The Critical Race Theory acknowledges the ordinary nature of racism, and the theory challenges the dominant ideology of interpreting the world. According to the theory, race maintains the interests of the constructors because of its social nature. Relating this to the current situation in America, white Americans forms a large portion of the American population. Historically, black Americans used to work in the white American farms. Since white Americans are the majority, they have constructed a culture in America that favors the white Americans in the workplace. The white Americans have established policies that favor the growth of their businesses and other economic activities over those of the other races since they are the constructors of the general American culture. In this regard, the racism theory explains the economic dominance of white Americans over black Americans, which creates wealth disparity. The racism theory advocates for social justice to create an equal opportunity society with equal wealth distribution. The theory states that people may be mistreated because of their race, but it falls short in explaining the cultural reasons behind mistreating people based on their race. In my view, a new racism theory should be developed that explains why people are judged based on their races. Understanding the cultural reasons driving racism will help the new racism theory to bridge the wealth gap between people of different races in America.

In conclusion, Karl Marx's theories describe capitalism as the reason behind unequal wealth distribution among Americans. On the other hand, racism theory views the adverse effects of racism as the main cause of unequal wealth distribution in America. The feminism theory states that, by ending the discrimination against women in society, the wealth gap between men and women in America will be bridged. In my view, the unequal distribution of wealth is a major challenge in the American economy that requires close attention. Understanding the causes and mitigation measures of unequal wealth distribution will steer America to economic success. Capitalism is the major cause of wealth gaps in America. Very few private investors control the American economy. The few private investors have employed almost the entire American population, and the workers are paid unproportionally to the products they produce. The capitalists gain huge profits from the products they produce, while the workers are oppressed and paid dismally, which widens the wealth gap between the employers and employees. Effective policies that encourage black Americans, women, and small-scale business entrepreneurs in the workplace should be implemented to bridge the wealth gaps in America. 

07 July 2022
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