Economic Inequality Analysis

2067 Words 9 Pages
Inequality refers to the existence of unequal access to opportunities and availability of wealth within a society. Unemployment is both a cause and symptom of this problem in the sense that individuals who are unemployed are inherently disadvantaged in their place within a society whilst economic inequality also produces the inability to find work. Economic inequality should be viewed under the scope of class, the implicit (or sometimes overt) hierarchies or social forces in societies that dictate the manner of work an individual has access to or may engage in. What these hierarchies or social forces are established on and what differentiates them can be viewed firstly through the Marx perspective which states that class is based on one’s connection …show more content…
In a meritocratic, knowledge oriented workforce, one’s education is directly linked with access to privileged rewards. Thus lower educational attainment would in turn mean that individuals would be in risk of economic marginalisation, specifically that of workforce access. The main divide occurs between secondary and tertiary studies as 85% of individuals remain in secondary education until Year 12 whilst only 67% continue to tertiary or vocational education (ABS 2013a, ‘Learning and knowledge’). Early school leavers would be more likely to face prolonged periods of unemployment and if they were to find work, it would likely be in low-paid and casual positions (Parliament of Australia, Senate Community Affairs References Committee 2004). Furthermore whilst the unemployment rate for individuals with degrees is 3.3%, those with certificates or those who leave school are 5.8% and 7.8% respectively (ABS 2013b, ‘Participation’). Essentially, individuals with the opportunity to attend schooling derived the abilities and resources that enable them to engage in greater rates of workforce employment, creating a disparity between people based on the life chances and circumstances available to …show more content…
Rather than class or status as purported by Marx and Weber, Bourdieu asserts that individuals are grouped based on their habitus or the ‘set of beliefs, attitudes, skills and practises possessed and applied’ in everyday life (Habibis & Walter 2015, p. 53). Similar capital leads to similar experiences that in turn mean that individuals tend to develop in shared habituses that shape their lifestyles. Individuals also have both economic, cultural and social ‘capital’, referring to income, wealth and property, to the ability to employ culture in a socially beneficial manner, and to utilize social networks respectively. Essentially each aspect of capital is a resource that may be exercised to manoeuvre and better one’s position in the ‘field’, the social landscape of competition that people attempt to be elevated up the structural hierarchy. It is both on the basis people’s habitus and their capital that inequality arises as in order to advance up the hierarchy, certain skills or capital is valued to a greater extent, giving preference to those of more socially acceptable attributes such as their race, gender, nationality and other forms of

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