Theories of Social Inequality

Topics: Sociology, Max Weber, Social class Pages: 2 (592 words) Published: December 5, 2013

Karl Marx’s theory to explain social inequality is based on the unequal division of resources between two groups: bourgeoisie and the proletariat, or the wealthy/business owners and the laborers. According to Marx, the bourgeoisie have the monetary power to gain economical resources, as they own the businesses where the proletariat must work to gain money to survive. The bourgeoisie maintains this position by paying the proletariat just enough to provide for his or her basic needs of survival. Marx states that the bourgeoisie create the social rules, cultural values and norms, and the proletariat goes along with it. This idea is the basis for what Marx calls, “false consciousness,” which is the idea that the” system” is working and there is no reason to change it because the proletariat hopes that one day he will become the bourgeoisie; this false hope is what keeps social inequality in a perpetual cycle. Marx believed that social inequality can be resolved through the abolishment of capitalism altogether. He suggested that this could be made possible if the proletariat would stand up and revolt, and rise up against capitalism by refusing to work and sell their very valuable labor, which the bourgeoisie needs in order to survive. Marx did not see social inequality as inevitable, unlike Max Weber. The basis for Weber’s theory can be found in Karl Marx’s theory, but takes it a step further and breaks the social structure up even more. According to Max Weber’s theory behind social inequality, there are three major components that play into creating an unequal division in society: social class, status in society, and political parties. Each group directly relates to one another, although they are not all the same thing. Weber contends that social classes are divided because of certain lifestyles or opportunities that are given to a person. If a person is born into a wealthy family, he or she is automatically provided with a lifestyle that will...
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