State policy aimed at controlling the standard of living of the population is the sphere that often raises questions, and especially it applies to countries with weak economics and an insufficiently high level of development. Social inequality can manifest itself in various aspects of people’s lives, including incomes, education, medical services, etc. According to Krugman, one of the clear examples of shifting policy interests to the rich can be seen in attempts to repeal the estate tax (139). Despite rather substantial cash accounts, many well-off people can avoid having to pay significant funds for their property. Poorer people, on the other hand, are forced to regularly pay for their property without any privileges and benefits.
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One of the issues that deserve special attention is the division of political parties by interests. Krugman suggests the sphere of economics as the basic criterion according to which the subjects of the Congress adhere to certain points of view regarding social inequality (137). However, it is essential to not only indicate the central positions of the Republicans and Democrats but also to understand why there is a fundamental division of interests and which points of contact are the acutest. Therefore, the question can sound as follows: why do the main American parties have different views on such problems as poverty and social inequality?
When comparing the ideas of two separate authors regarding the issue of inequality in society, it can be noted that opinions are similar. For example, Murray claims that the basis for dividing people into classes is not the level of education or another factor but namely the level of income (24). According to it, it can be concluded that financial relations among people still play a key role and should be considered as the main factor determining the level of this or that country’s development.
Representation and the Roots of Inequality
Inequality and the division of the society into corresponding strata are not unusual phenomena for the United States of America. As Caliendo notes, the US is characterized with a class system in which the predominance of certain representatives of society over others is inevitable (22). This factor can be called one of the most obvious when it is about the economic development of the country and the basics of its structure. If America’s system of the organization were different, the level of poverty would be significantly lower, and the level of discontent of some people with the policy of open inequality would not be so high.
Perhaps, one of the questions that should be disclosed more thoroughly is the government’s role in controlling the activities of various financial organizations and their influence on the state’s economics. For instance, Starr et al. remark that special surveillance on people who open new businesses, create financial schemes, and perform other similar manipulations can help assess the country’s development state and track the roots of inequality (252). In order to elucidate this issue, it is possible to ask the following question: how can the government control the financial activities of all social subjects?
The roots of inequality can relate to both welfare and some other factors, for example, the judiciary. According to Wacquant, there is some connection between the standard of living and penal policies (xvi). Such a statement confirms the fact that people with lower social status are subject to closer scrutiny by the government and cannot expect an utterly equal attitude compared with more privileged sections of the population. Therefore, the principle of equality is violated, and social norms cannot be considered to be respected.
Krugman, Paul. “For Richer: How the Permissive Capitalism of the Boom Destroyed American Equality.” New York Times Magazine, 2002, pp. 62-142.
Murray, Charles. “Poverty and Marriage, Income Inequality and Brains.” Pathways, winter 2008, pp. 21-24.
Caliendo, Stephen M. Inequality in America: Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise. 2nd ed., Westview Press, 2017.
Starr, Amory, et al. “The Impacts of State Surveillance on Political Assembly and Association: A Socio-Legal Analysis.” Qualitative Sociology, vol. 31, no. 3, 2008, pp. 251-270.
Wacquant, Loïc. Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity. Oxford University Press, 1990.