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Global Stratification: An Excuse For Poverty

Updated on March 19, 2014

Global stratification, a very common term heard often by political figures comparing our economy to others. While this term is so widely used, few really know what it really means or why it exists. Global stratification can be defined in many ways. Some definitions use very large words meant to confuse us so we won’t question those who understand what it means. Others define it as the unjust distribution of money, power, and opportunities throughout the many societies of the world.

2011 Wealth Distribution in the US

Global stratification has been around for a very long time. It has ensured that the poor stay poor and the wealthy stay wealthy. Page 245, tells us that the richest 20% of the world receive around 77% of the world’s income. How on earth is that fair at all? Many lower income families work harder that many wealthy families, but yet they bring home less income. In the US alone we are driving our own country into debt by purchasing things made in other countries rather than our own.

Excuse 1: Cultural Patterns

Cultural patterns are one of the excuses made up for why this problem exists. Cultural patterns are when people, usually from poorer countries, stick to their traditional methods. Sometimes people fear change. For example there are many elderly people I have met, who are still very racist. Their parents were raised to be racist, they were raised to be that way, so they may still have it in their heads that if they change then society will look down upon them. They could even believe that they would disappoint their families.

Then you have the other hand of this excuse, as stated above the poorer countries are the ones likely not to change their ways. Here in America, one of the wealthier nations, I know that even buying a lawnmower is over $200. Which is an entire week’s paycheck for many of our citizens. If something like that is that expensive here, who is to say that these poorer countries can even afford to switch to a newer, less traditional, way? I grew up knowing people, in America, who could not afford a clothes dryer so they had to hang dry their clothes the “traditional” way. Sometimes it may not be a country’s ignorance as to why they use traditional methods, sometimes that’s their only option.

More Excuses: Technology, Gender Inequality, and Population

Another excuse is technology. In relation to the previous excuse, it takes money to have the latest technology. It costs even more money to keep that technology running smoothly. It’s a vicious cycle of needing money to produce money. So yes, poorer countries use manpower instead of technology for many things, but at least their people can find jobs. Our technology here is costing our country just as many jobs as sending them to other countries is doing.

A third excuse is gender inequality. This idea is that in poorer countries the females stay home with their kids and are not given the right to work. In exchange more kids are produced. The idea here is that if females in these countries were given the opportunity to work then their country could make more money. This also relates to the fourth excuse population growth. The idea here is a smaller population means less mouths to feed and less costs the country incurs.

However what people do not realize with these excuses is that if females left their homes to go work, who would be with the kids? Who would teach their kids to be good people? I have met a great deal more people here who have “issues” such as are rude, immature, bipolar, crave attention, abusive, the list goes on. Their excuses are normally the same, my parents weren’t there for me growing up, or they didn’t give me enough attention. Do we really need more people like that in the world? Furthermore yes a smaller population means less mouths to feed, but it also means less workers, and less people making an income in the future.

The Real Cause

These were just some of the excuses used by many as to why we have global stratification. People believe these excuses take the blame for why the world is the way that it is. Why things can’t be changed. Those who came up with these excuses were wrong. Things are like this for two reasons. Greediness and cowards.

On one hand you have those who are greedy. Those who would rather give their scraps of food to their dog than their starving neighbor. You have those who would rather live their life with more than enough money to survive on, so that they can just sit back and do nothing. Those who would rather watch kids line up outside a shelter waiting for warm food than to spare a few dollars to get them food.

On the other hand you have those who are cowards. They are so used to how life is, that they willingly accept that they will spend their entire life wondering if they can feed their child by night, and if they will ever find a decently paying job by day. Those who stay up until the sun rises applying to every job within driving distance, only to have no one call them for an interview. Many people are too scared to take a stand and say hey, this isn’t right. Why is it that some people get to do next to nothing, or things that are unimportant, while I work endlessly and make nothing? When someone takes a stand and asks why is it that a football player makes over four times in one season than a police officer will make in a year? Why a singer makes ten times more than a paramedic? Until that day, nothing will change. Global stratification has been around for a very long time, and it will remain until more knowledge is spread.


Page 245, Macionis, John J. Society: The Basics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. Print.

Chapter 9, Macionis, John J. Society: The Basics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. Print.


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    • New Strength profile image

      Lorri Tanner 3 years ago

      Very true, HSchneider. I was just hitting the main points, though I do plan on coming back and adding more to it. You made very great points that I will work on adding into it. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great Hub, New Strength. I would add that governments also institute policies that perpetuate stratification. Tax policies are created to serve their donors. Education is more readily available to the rich than the poor because they are most often linked to property taxes. Politicians react to the complaints and requests of the wealthy not the poor. Money talks.