This UNICEF poster reminds affluent Western consumers that the

Document Sample
This UNICEF poster reminds affluent Western consumers that the Powered By Docstoc
					      This UNICEF poster reminds affluent Western consumers that the brand-
      name jeans they wear may be produced by exploited workers in developing
      countries. In sweatshops throughout the developing world, nonunion
      garment workers—some of them still children—labor long hours for
      extremely low wages.

                                   Global Inequality

                                                       “   Amit is a
                                                        member of
                                                    India’s rising
                                              middle class. The
                                     22-year-old left his village to
                                   study at an urban university and
                                   considers himself a connoisseur
                                   of Western fashions. He enjoys
                                   watching Arnold Schwarzeneg-
                                   ger films and National Basketball

The Global Divide
Stratification in the World
                                   Association games beamed to
                                   India from the United States. The foreign media reaffirm his self-image as a
                                   citizen of the world. Yet at the same time Amit complains that the media
                                   threaten Indian family arrangements. “I want an arranged marriage,” Amit says,
Stratification within Nations:      “but I fear that Fashion Television, MTV, and [music] channel V are distorting
   A Comparative Perspective
                                   the desires of the younger generation.”
Case Study: Stratification in
  Mexico                             India, with a population now in excess of 1 billion, is a massive experiment
Social Policy and Global           in “globalization”—the emergence of worldwide markets and communications
  Inequality: Universal Human
  Rights                           that increasingly ignore national boundaries. People, jobs, goods, and media
                                   move to and from India at unprecedented speed and volume. Global con-
Boxes                              sumer products entice Indians. And Indians, in turn, produce for the global
Sociology in the Global
  Community: The Global
                                   market. Cable and satellite television broadcasts from around the world
  Disconnect                       reach Indian homes and Hollywood has grabbed a significant        > > >
Social Inequality: Stratification
  in Japan

                                                              > > > share of the movie audience (India’s huge “Bollywood” film industry notwithstanding). There
                                                                         is a fear that Western images and ideas will undermine traditional Indian culture. . . .
                                                                             Over the last two decades, more of what people around the world buy and watch is pro-
                                                                         duced elsewhere; more of what they produce is made for a global market; and more local
                                                                         policies are shaped by outside decision makers. In India, a foreign-exchange crisis in 1991
                                                                         gave the International Monetary Fund leverage to demand the removal of restrictions on for-
                                                                         eign investment and trade. With that economic liberalization, once scarce goods rapidly
                                                                         flowed into the Indian market. Taking advantage of cheap, well-trained labor, computer
                                                                         programming jobs appeared. International financiers arrived. Within five years, imports
                                                                         more than doubled, exports more than tripled and foreign capital investment more than

                             Amit is a member of India’s rising middle class. The 22-year-old left his
                             village to study at an urban university and considers himself a
                             connoisseur of Western fashions.
                                                                             Cultural globalization—international media—quickly followed as global advertisers tried to
                                                                         reach the new Indian market and government restrictions eased. In 1991, cable television in
                                                                         India reached 300,000 homes; in 1999, it reached 24 million. In 1991, only a few foreign
                                                                         films showed in the biggest cities, but by 2001 foreign films were dubbed into Hindi and
                                                                         screened throughout the country.
                                                                             Given new opportunities for employment, consumption, and entertainment, affluent urban
                                                                         Indian men aspired to new goods and experimented with changes in family life. In contrast,
                                                                         studies show that the lives of middle-class Indian men have not been significantly trans-
                                                                         formed and while the research is less conclusive, the contrast seems to apply to women as
                                                                         well. (Unfortunately, the effects of globalization on poor urban and rural Indians have not
                                                                         been sufficiently studied—although we do know that rural and urban poverty have increased

                                                                         slightly since 1991.)

                                                                         (Derné 2003:12–13) Additional information about this excerpt can be found on the Online Learning Center at

                             In this excerpt sociologist Steve Derné describes the effects of            been questioning the labor conditions in the foreign factories
                             globalization on Indian society. Derné conducted observation re-            that produce their college-logo-embroidered sweatshirts. Their
                             search in India in 1991 and again in 2001. He found that through            concerns have given rise to a nationwide coalition called United
                             Western media, Indians like Amit were being exposed to more                 Students Against Sweatshops, based on college campuses across
                             and more consumer products, most of which they could not af-                the country. Because this issue combines women’s rights, immi-
                             ford to purchase. Indians are considered affluent if their incomes           grant rights, environmental concerns, and human rights, it has
                             top $2,150 a year; only about 3 percent of the population fits that          linked diverse groups on campus. Nike is not their only target.
                             description. These high-income consumers can afford some for-               Many apparel manufacturers contract out their production to
                             eign goods, as well as an occasional visit to Pizza Hut, where they         take advantage of cheap labor and overhead costs. The student
                             spend about $6 per person. (In comparison, a full dinner at an              movement—ranging from sit-ins and “knit-ins” to demonstra-
                             Indian restaurant costs about $1.) Even in the United States, most          tions and building occupation—has been aimed at ridding cam-
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             people cannot afford the lifestyle portrayed in movies and on tel-          pus stores of all products made in sweatshops, both at home and
                             evision. But the disconnect between desire and reality is much              abroad. Pressed by their students, many colleges and universities
                             greater in India and most other countries around the globe                  have agreed to adopt antisweatshop codes governing the prod-
                             (Derné 2003).                                                               ucts they stock on campus. Nike and Reebok, partly in response
                                At the same time that Western media have been flooding In-                to student protests, have raised the wages of some 100,000 work-
                             dia with images of material wealth, U.S. college students have              ers in their Indonesian factories to about 20 cents an hour—still
                                                                                                         Classroom Tip See “Stimulating Classroom Discussion about Derné’s Research”
                                                                                                         (Class Discussion Topics).

far below what is needed to raise a fam-
ily (Appelbaum and Dreier 1999; Rivoli
    Together, the apparel industry and
the global consumer goods culture fo-
cus our attention on worldwide social
stratification—on the enormous gap
between wealthy nations and poorer na-
tions. In many respects, the wealth of
rich nations depends on the poverty of
poor nations. People in industrialized
societies benefit when they buy con-
sumer goods made by low-wage work-
ers in developing countries. Yet the low
wages workers earn in multinational
factories are comparatively high for
those countries.
    What economic and political condi-
tions explain the divide between rich
nations and poor? Within developing                 {
                                                  Students protesting sweatshop labor in developing countries mock Nike with its own slogan:
                                                  “Just do it.”                                                                                                }
nations, how are wealth and income dis-
tributed, and how much opportunity does the average worker                cation within nations, in terms of the distribution of wealth and
have to move up the social ladder? How do race and gender af-             income and social mobility. In a special case study, we will look
fect social mobility in these countries? In this chapter we will fo-      closely at social stratification in Mexico, including the social im-
cus on global inequality, beginning with the global divide. We            pact of race and gender and the economic effects of industrial-
will consider the impact of colonialism and neocolonialism, of            ization. The chapter closes with a Social Policy section on
globalization, of the rise of multinational corporations, and of          universal human rights.
the trend toward modernization. Then we will focus on stratifi-

The Global Divide                                                                 aware of them. Western media images may have circled the
In some parts of the world, the people who have dedicated their                   globe, but in extremely depressed rural areas, those at the bot-
lives to fighting starvation refer to what they call “coping mech-                 tom of society are not likely to see them.
anisms”—ways in which the desperately poor attempt to control                        A few centuries ago, such vast divides in global wealth did not
their hunger. Eritrean women will strap flat stones to their stom-                 exist. Except for a very few rulers and landowners, everyone in
achs to lessen their hunger pangs. In Mozambique, people eat                      the world was poor. In much of Europe, life was as difficult as it
the grasshoppers that have destroyed their crops, calling them                    was in Asia or South America. This was true until the Industrial
“flying shrimp.” Though dirt eating is considered a pathological                   Revolution and rising agricultural productivity produced explo-
condition (called pica) among the well-fed, the world’s poor eat                  sive economic growth. The resulting rise in living standards was
dirt to add minerals to their diet. And in many countries, moth-
                                                                                                                                                                     Chapter 10 / Global Inequality
                                                                                  not evenly distributed across the world.
ers have been known to boil stones in water, to convince their                       Figure 10-1(page 208) compares the industrial nations of the
hungry children that supper is almost ready. As they hover over                   world to the developing nations. Using total population as a
the pot, these women hope that their malnourished children will                   yardstick, we see that the developing countries have more than
fall asleep (McNeil 2004).                                                        their fair share of rural population, as well as of total births, dis-
    Around the world, inequality is a significant determinant of                   ease, and childhood deaths. At the same time, the industrial na-
human behavior, opening doors of opportunity to some and                          tions of the world, with a much smaller share of total
closing them to others. Indeed, disparities in life chances are so                population, have much more income and exports than the de-
extreme that in some places, the poorest of the poor may not be                   veloping nations. Industrial nations also spend more on health
Student Alert See “Using E-Mail to Promote Cross-Cultural Understanding” (Class   Student Alert Review the concepts presented in Chapter 9, “Stratification and So-
Discussion Topics).                                                               cial Mobility in the United States.”

                             FIGURE 10–1                                                                           2002, the average value of goods and services produced per citi-
                             Fundamental Global Inequality                                                         zen (or per capita gross national income) in the industrialized
                                                                                                                   countries of the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, and
                             Deaths of children                                                                    Norway was more than $25,000. In at least 13 poorer countries,
                                                                                                                   the value was just $800 or less. But most countries fell some-
                               Rural population                                                                    where between those extremes, as Figure 10-2 (page 209) shows.
                                     Total births                                                                     Still, the contrasts are stark. Three forces discussed here are
                                  The burden of                                                                    particularly responsible for the domination of the world mar-
                                       disease                                                                     ketplace by a few nations: the legacy of colonialism, the advent
                               Total population                                                                    of multinational corporations, and modernization.
                                Cultivated land
                                                                                                                   The Legacy of Colonialism
                              Urban population                                                                     Colonialism occurs when a foreign power maintains political,
                                         Income                                                                    social, economic, and cultural domination over a people for an
                                                                                                                   extended period. In simple terms, it is rule by outsiders. The
                                CO2 emissions
                                                                                                                   long reign of the British Empire over much of North America,
                               Health spending                                                                     parts of Africa, and India is an example of colonial domination.
                                                                                                                   The same can be said of French rule over Algeria, Tunisia, and
                                                                                                                   other parts of North Africa. Relations between the colonial na-
                              Military spending                                                                    tion and colonized people are similar to those between the dom-
                                                                                                                   inant capitalist class and the proletariat, as described by Karl
                                                    0         20         40         60            80         100   Marx.
                                                                        Percent of Total                               By the 1980s, colonialism had largely disappeared. Most of the
                                                               Developing nations             Industrial nations   nations that were colonies before World War I had achieved po-
                                                                                                                   litical independence and established their own governments.
                             Note: In this comparison, industrial nations include the United States and Canada,
                                                                                                                   However, for many of these countries, the transition to genuine
                             Japan, Western Europe, and Australasia. Developing nations include Africa, Asia
                             (except for Japan), Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.     self-rule was not yet complete. Colonial domination had estab-
                             Source: Adapted fom Sutcliffe 2002:18.                                                lished patterns of economic exploitation that continued even af-
                                                                                                                   ter nationhood was achieved—in part because former colonies
                              Think About It                                                                       were unable to develop their own industry and technology. Their
                              What is the relationship between health spending, disease, and                       dependence on more industrialized nations, including their for-
                              deaths of children? Between CO2 emissions, income, and exports?                      mer colonial masters, for managerial and technical expertise, in-
                                                                                                                   vestment capital, and manufactured goods kept former colonies
                                                                                                                   in a subservient position. Such continuing dependence and for-
                             and the military than other nations, and they emit more carbon                        eign domination are referred to as neocolonialism.
                             dioxide (CO2) (Sachs 2005, Sutcliffe 2002).                                               The economic and political consequences of colonialism and
                                                                                                                   neocolonialism are readily apparent. Drawing on the conflict
                             Stratification in the World System                                                     perspective, sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein (1974, 1979a,
                                                                                                                   2000) views the global economic system as being divided
                             In 2005 the United Nations launched the Millennium Project,                           between nations that control wealth and nations from which
                             whose objective is to eliminate extreme poverty by the year 2015.                     resources are taken. Through his world systems analysis, Waller-
                             While 10 years is a long time, the challenge is great. Today, al-                     stein has described the unequal economic and political relation-
                             most 3 billion people are living on $2 a day or less. To accom-                       ships in which certain industrialized nations (among them the
                             plish the project’s goal, planners estimate that industrial nations                   United States, Japan, and Germany) and their global corpora-
                             must set aside 0.7 percent of their gross national product (the                       tions dominate the core of this system (see Figure 10-3, page
                             value of a nation’s goods and services) for aid to developing na-                     210). At the semiperiphery of the system are countries with mar-
                             tions. At the time the Millennium Project was launched, only                          ginal economic status, such as Israel, Ireland, and South Korea.
                             five countries were giving at this target rate: Denmark, Luxem-                        Wallerstein suggests that the poor developing countries of Asia,
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             bourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. To match their                            Africa, and Latin America are on the periphery of the world eco-
                             contribution proportionally, the United States would need to                          nomic system. The key to Wallerstein’s analysis is the exploitative
                             multiply its present level of aid by 45 (Sachs 2005; United Na-                       relationship of core nations toward noncore nations. Core na-
                             tions 2005a).                                                                         tions and their corporations control and exploit noncore na-
                                 While the divide between industrial and developing nations                        tions’ economies. Unlike other nations, they are relatively
                             is sharp, sociologists recognize a continuum of nations, from the                     independent of outside control (Chase-Dunn and Grimes
                             richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor. For example, in                       1995).
                             Classroom Tip See “Inequality in Reforming State Socialism” (Additional Lecture       Global View Average value of goods and services produced per citizen in Japan,
                             Ideas).                                                                               Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, and the United States
                             Classroom Tip See “Study Abroad” (Class Discussion Topics).                           Theory Conflict view of colonialism and neocolonialism in terms of foreign domina-
                                                                                                                   tion; conflict view of colonized people as equivalent to Marx’s proletariat
                                                                                                                   Key Person Immanuel Wallerstein
      the student center of the Online Learning Center (
      Web Resource Remind students that there is an interactive map for this chapter in
      Student Alert GDP is now referred to as gross national income in UN publications.
                                                                                          FIGURE 10–2
                                                                                          Gross National Income per Capita

                                                                                          MAPPING LIFE

                                                                                          WORLDWIDE                                                                               www.
                                                                                                                                                           IRELAND                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   NORTH
                                                                                                                 CANADA                                                           NETHERLANDS                                                  ESTONIA                                                                                                                                               KOREA
                                                                                                                                                                 UNITED KINGDOM                                                                                                                                                                                                                          SOUTH
                                                                                              UNITED STATES                                                                                                                    POLAND                                                                                                          NEPAL                                                     KOREA
                                                                                                                                                                                     BELGIUM                                                             BELARUS                   TURKMENISTAN                      KRYGYZSTAN
                                                                                                                                                                                    FRANCE                 AUSTRIA                                                                                    KAZAKHSTAN                                                                                                               JAPAN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CZECH                                 UKRAINE          ARMENIA                                  TAJIKISTAN
                                                                                                                                                                                            SWITZ                                                     SLOV
                                                                                                                                                                                                   ITALY      SLOVENIA HUNGARY
                                                                                                                                                                         SPAIN                                CROATIA          ROMANIA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         GEORGIA                                                      UZBEKISTAN
                                                                                                                              HAITI         DOMINICAN REPUBLIC                                                         B-H                                                                AZER
                                                                                                  MEXICO                                                                                                            YUGOSLAVIA

                                                                                                                      CUBA                                                                                                      BULGARIA
                                                                                                                                                                  PORTUGAL                                                                TURKEY                                                                                                                                                     HONG KONG
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     MACEDONIA                                                               IRAN
                                                                                           GUATEMALA                                             PUERTO RICO
                                                                                                                                 JAMAICA                                                                               ALBANIA GREECE SYRIA    IRAQ                                                                                    INDIA
                                                                                             HONDURAS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           THAILAND
                                                                                                EL SALVADOR                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BANGLADESH                             CAMBODIA
                                                                                                                                 VENEZUELA                                                                                       LEBANON

                                                                                                      COSTA RICA                                                                                                                                                                         KUWAIT


                                                                                                            PANAMA                                                                                                                                    ISRAEL                                                   PAKISTAN
                                                                                                                ECUADOR                                                           MAURITANIA                                                              WEST                                                                                                                        VIETNAM
                                                                                                                                                                                                      MOROCCO                                                                          SAUDI ARABIA                                                                                                                 PHILIPPINES

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         NIGER CHAD
                                                                                                                                              BRAZIL                                SENEGAL                                                               BANK
                                                                                                                                                                                    GAMBIA                MALI                                                 JORDAN                  UAE
                                                                                                                     PERU     BOLIVIA                                        GUINEA-BISSAU                                                            EGYPT
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           OMAN                                                                                     MAYALSIA
                                                                                                                                                                                                              BURKINA                                  SUDAN                                                                                                                             SINGAPORE
                                                                                                                                PARAGUAY                                         SIERRA LEONE                 FASO                                                ERITREA                                                                                                                               MAYALSIA
                                                                                                                                                                                       LIBERIA                                                        CAR
                                                                                                                                                                                  COTE d'IVOIRE
                                                                                                                               ARGENTINA                                                                             NIGERIA                                   ETHIOPIA
                                                                                                                      CHILE                                                               GHANA     TOGO
                                                                                                                                                                                                       BENIN                                UGANADA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           RWANDA                                KENYA                                                                                  SRI
                                                                                                                                                                                                   CAMEROON                                                                    MALAWI                                                                  LANKA
                                                                                                                                                                                            CONGO                                                                             TANZANIA                                                                                                INDONESIA                    PAPUA NEW
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               BURUNDI                                                                                                                               GUINEA
                                                                                                                                                                                                      NAMIBIA                                                                 MADAGASCAR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LESOTHO                                                                                                                                                             NEW ZEALAND
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SOUTH                      BOTSWANA

                                                                                          GNI per capita in 2002
                                                                                                   $2,220 and below                                        $7,000–$14,995

                                                                                                   $2,225–$6,995                                           Over $15,000

                                                                                                   No available data
                                                                                          Note: Size based on 2000 population estimates.
                                                                                          Sources: Haub 2003; Weeks 2002:22–23.
                                                                                          This stylized map reflects the relative population sizes of the world’s nations. The color for each country shows the 2002 estimated gross national income (the total value
                                                                                          of goods and services produced by the nation in a given year) per capita. As the map shows, some of the world’s most populous countries—such as Nigeria,
                                                                                          Bangladesh, and Pakistan—are among the nations with the lowest standard of living, as measured by per capita gross national income.
                             FIGURE 10–3                                                                         tries for their own gain. In a sense, dependency theory applies
                             World Systems Analysis at the Beginning of the 21st Century                         the conflict perspective on a global scale.
                                                                                                                     In the view of world systems analysis and dependency theory,
                                                                                                                 a growing share of the human and natural resources of develop-
                                                                                                                 ing countries is being redistributed to the core industrialized
                                                                                                                 nations. This redistribution happens in part because develop-
                                                                                                                 ing countries owe huge sums of money to industrialized nations
                                                                                                                 as a result of foreign aid, loans, and trade deficits. The global
                                                                                                                 debt crisis has intensified the Third World dependency begun
                                           Core                Semiperiphery               Periphery             under colonialism, neocolonialism, and multinational invest-
                                        Canada                       China                Afghanistan            ment. International financial institutions are pressuring in-
                                        France                        India                  Bolivia             debted countries to take severe measures to meet their interest
                                       Germany                      Ireland                  Chad                payments. The result is that developing nations may be forced
                                         Japan                      Mexico             Dominican Republic        to devalue their currencies, freeze workers’ wages, increase pri-
                                    United Kingdom                 Pakistan                  Egypt
                                     United States                 Panama                     Haiti
                                                                                                                 vatization of industry, and reduce government services and
                                                                                          Philippines            employment.
                                                                                            Vietnam                  Closely related to these problems is globalization, the world-
                                                                                                                 { p.19 wide integration of government policies, cultures, social
                                                                                                                 movements, and financial markets through trade and the
                                                                                                                 exchange of ideas. Because world financial markets transcend
                                                                                                                 governance by conventional nation states, international organi-
                                                                                                                 zations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary
                             Note: Figure shows only a partial listing of countries.                             Fund have emerged as major players in the global economy. The
                                                                                                                 function of these institutions, which are heavily funded and in-
                                 The division between core and periphery nations is signifi-                      fluenced by core nations, is to encourage economic trade and
                             cant and remarkably stable. A study by the International Mone-                      development and to ensure the smooth operation of interna-
                             tary Fund (2000) found little change over the course of the last                    tional financial markets. As such, they are seen as promoters
                             100 years for the 42 economies that were studied. The only                          of globalization and defenders primarily of the interests of core
                             changes were Japan’s movement up into
                             the group of core nations and China’s
                             movement down toward the margins of
                             the semiperiphery nations. Yet Waller-
                             stein (2000) speculates that the world
                             system as we currently understand it
                             may soon undergo unpredictable
                             changes. The world is becoming in-
                             creasingly urbanized, a trend that is
                             gradually eliminating the large pools of
                             low-cost workers in rural areas. In the
                             future, core nations will have to find
                             other ways to reduce their labor costs.
                             The exhaustion of land and water re-
                             sources through clear-cutting and pol-
                             lution is also driving up the costs of
                                 Wallerstein’s world systems analy-
                             sis is the most widely used version of
                             dependency theory. According to this
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             theory, even as developing countries
                             make economic advances, they remain

                                                                                       {                                                                                                 }
                             weak and subservient to core nations            Ever since violent street demonstrations rocked Seattle in 1999, the annual meetings of
                             and corporations in an increasingly in-         the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been accompanied by protests. Dissenters
                             tertwined global economy. This interde-         charge that multinational corporations dominate world trade policy at the expense of
                                                                             developing nations, and that industrial nations should be held accountable for the
                             pendency allows industrialized nations
                                                                             economic and financial problems they create.
                             to continue to exploit developing coun-
                             Theory The emphasis of world systems analysis on unequal political and economic     Theory/Student Alert Note how the global debt crisis illustrates world systems
                             relationships among nations draws on the conflict perspective.                       analysis, dependency theory, and conflict theory.
                             Student Alert Clarify why dependency theory is similar to world systems analysis.   Classroom Tip See “Globalization and Sociology” (Class Discussion Topics).

nations. Critics call attention to a variety of issues, including
violations of workers’ rights, the destruction of the environ-
ment, the loss of cultural identity, and discrimination against
minority groups in periphery nations.
   Some observers see globalization and its effects as the natural
result of advances in communications technology, particularly
the Internet and satellite transmission of the mass media. Oth-
ers view it more critically, as a process that allows multinational
corporations to expand unchecked, as we will see in the next sec-
tion (Chase-Dunn et al. 2000; Feketekuty 2001; Feuer 1989;
Pearlstein 2001).

Use Your Sociological Imagination www.
You are traveling through a developing country. What evi-
dence do you see of neocolonialism and globalization?

Multinational Corporations
Worldwide, corporate giants play a key role in neocolonialism.
The term multinational corporations refers to commercial or-
ganizations that are headquartered in one country but do busi-
ness throughout the world. Such private trade and lending
relationships are not new; merchants have conducted business
abroad for hundreds of years, trading gems, spices, garments,
and other goods. However, today’s multinational giants are not
merely buying and selling overseas; they are also producing
goods all over the world (I. Wallerstein 1974).
   Moreover, today’s “global factories” (factories throughout the
developing world that are run by multinational corporations)
may now have the “global office” alongside them. Multinationals
                                                                                 {   The influence of multinational corporations abroad can be seen
                                                                                     in this street scene from Manila, capital of the Philippines.   }
based in core countries are beginning to establish reservation                   agriculture once served as the only means of survival. Multi-
services and centers for processing data and insurance claims in                 nationals also promote rapid development through the diffu-
the periphery nations. As service industries become a more im-                   sion of inventions and innovations from industrial nations.
portant part of the international marketplace, many companies                    Viewed from a functionalist perspective, the combination of
are concluding that the low costs of overseas operations more                    skilled technology and management provided by multinationals
than offset the expense of transmitting information around the                   and the relatively cheap labor available in developing nations is
world.                                                                           ideal for a global enterprise. Multinationals can take maximum
   Do not underestimate the size of these global corporations.                   advantage of technology while reducing costs and boosting
As Table 10-1 (page 212) shows, the total revenues of multina-                   profits.
tional businesses are on a par with the total value of goods and                     Through their international ties, multinational corporations
services exchanged in entire nations. Foreign sales represent an                 also make the nations of the world more interdependent. These
important source of profit for multinational corporations,                        ties may prevent certain disputes from reaching the point of
which encourages them to expand into other countries (in many                    serious conflict. A country cannot afford to sever diplomatic
cases, the developing nations). The economy of the United                        relations or engage in warfare with a nation that is the head-

                                                                                                                                                         Chapter 10 / Global Inequality
States is heavily dependent on foreign commerce, much of                         quarters for its main business suppliers or a key outlet for its
which is conducted by multinationals. Over one-fourth of all                     exports.
goods and services in the United States has to do with either the
export of goods to foreign countries or the import of goods                      Conflict View Conflict theorists challenge this favorable eval-
from abroad (U.S. Trade Representative 2003).                                    uation of the impact of multinational corporations. They em-
                                                                                 phasize that multinationals exploit local workers to maximize
Functionalist View Functionalists believe that multinational                     profits. Starbucks—the international coffee retailer based in Seat-
corporations can actually help the developing nations of the                     tle—gets some of its coffee from farms in Guatemala. But to earn
world. They bring jobs and industry to areas where subsistence                   enough money to buy a pound of Starbucks coffee, a Guatemalan
Classroom Tip Futurist Alvin Toffler (Power Shift, Bantam, 1990) contends that
multinational is an obsolete term, because megafirms are nonnational. Companies
from several nations are linked in global alliances.
Theory Functional and conflict analysis of multinational corporations

                             Table 10-1 Multinational Corporations Compared to Nations
                                                                                                                                                                                     Gross Domestic
                                 Rank          Corporation                                            Revenues ($ millions)             Comparison Nation(s)                       Product ($ millions)

                                  1.           Wal-Mart (USA)                                                 $287,989                  Sweden                                            $301,606
                                  2.           BP-British Petroleum (Britain)                                  285,059                  Saudi Arabia plus UAE                              285,708
                                  3.           Exxon Mobil (USA)                                               270,772                  Norway plus Bangladesh                             272,768
                                  4.           Royal Dutch/Shell (Britain/Netherlands)                         268,690                  Poland plus Romania                                266,514
                                  5.           General Motors (USA)                                            193,517                  Argentina plus Peru                                190,173
                                  6.           DaimlerChrysler (Germany)                                       176,688                  South Africa plus Zimbabwe                         177,636
                                  7.           Toyota Motor (Japan)                                            172,616                  Singapore plus Pakistan                            174,166
                                  8.           Ford Motor (USA)                                                172,233                  Greece                                             172,203
                                  9.           General Electric (USA)                                          152,866                  Ireland                                            153,719
                                 10.           Total (France)                                                  152,609                  Portugal                                           147,899

                             Notes: Total is an oil, petroleum, and chemical company. UAE refers to United Arab Emirates. Where two nations are listed, the country with the larger GDP is listed first.
                             Revenues as tabulated by Fortune are for 2004. GDP as collected by the World Bank are for 2003.
                             Sources: For corporate data, Fortune 2005:119; for GDP data, World Bank 2005a:202–204.

                               Think About It
                               What happens to society when corporations grow richer than countries and spill across international borders?

                             farmworker would have to pick 500 pounds of beans, represent-                                   Several sociologists who have surveyed the effects of foreign
                             ing five days of work (Entine and Nichols 1996).                                             investment by multinationals conclude that although it may ini-
                                The pool of cheap labor in the developing world prompts                                  tially contribute to a host nation’s wealth, it eventually increases
                             multinationals to move factories out of core countries. An added                            economic inequality within developing nations. This conclusion
                             bonus for the multinationals is that the developing world dis-                              holds true for both income and ownership of land. The upper
                             courages strong trade unions. In industrialized countries, or-                              and middle classes benefit most from economic expansion,
                             ganized labor insists on decent wages and humane working                                    whereas the lower classes are less likely to benefit. Multination-
                             conditions, but governments seeking to attract or keep multina-                             als invest in limited economic sectors and restricted regions of a
                             tionals may develop a “climate for investment” that includes re-                            nation. Although certain sectors of the host nation’s economy
                             pressive antilabor laws that restrict union activity and collective                         expand, such as hotels and expensive restaurants, their very ex-
                             bargaining. If labor’s demands become too threatening, the                                  pansion appears to retard growth in agriculture and other eco-
                             multinational firm will simply move its plant elsewhere, leaving                             nomic sectors. Moreover, multinational corporations often buy
                             a trail of unemployment behind. Nike, for example, moved its                                out or force out local entrepreneurs and companies, thereby in-
                             factories from the United States to Korea to Indonesia to Viet-                             creasing economic and cultural dependence (Chase-Dunn and
                             nam in search of the lowest labor costs. Conflict theorists con-                             Grimes 1995; Kerbo 2003; I. Wallerstein 1979b).
                             clude that on the whole, multinational corporations have a
                             negative social impact on workers in both industrialized and de-                            Modernization
                             veloping nations.                                                                           Around the world, millions of people are witnessing a revolu-
                                Workers in the United States and other core countries are be-                            tionary transformation of their day-to-day life. Contemporary
                             ginning to recognize that their own interests are served by help-                           social scientists use the term modernization to describe the far-
                             ing to organize workers in developing nations. As long as                                   reaching process by which periphery nations move from tradi-
                             multinationals can exploit cheap labor abroad, they will be in a                            tional or less developed institutions to those characteristic of
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             strong position to reduce wages and benefits in industrialized                               more developed societies.
                             countries. With this in mind, in the 1990s, labor unions, reli-                                Wendell Bell (1981), whose definition of modernization we
                             gious organizations, campus groups, and other activists                                     are using, notes that modern societies tend to be urban, literate,
                             mounted public campaigns to pressure companies such as Nike,                                and industrial. These societies have sophisticated transportation
                             Starbucks, Reebok, Gap, and Wal-Mart to improve wages and                                   and media systems. Their families tend to be organized within
                             working conditions in their overseas operations (Global Alliance                            the nuclear family unit rather than the extended-family model
                             for Workers and Communities 2003; Gonzalez 2003).                                           (see Chapter 14). Thus, members of societies that undergo
                             Methods The comparison of corporate and national financial data relies on second-            Classroom Tip See “Development” (Class Discussion Topics).
                             ary analysis.                                                                               Classroom Tip See “Anti-Globalism” (Class Discussion Topics).
                             Classroom Tip See “Political Coalitions and the Poor in Developing Countries” (Ad-          Web Resource Remind students to visit the student center in the Online Learning
                             ditional Lecture Ideas).                                                                    Center ( Learning tools include activities, exercises,
                                                                                                                         and crossword puzzles.
sociologyIN the Global Community
10-1 The Global Disconnect
Bogdan Ghirda, a Romanian, is paid 50 cents              Knowledge Centre. The facility, funded by a              “global economy.” But if large numbers of
an hour to participate in multiplayer Internet           nonprofit organization, contains five comput-              people—indeed, entire nations—are discon-
games like City of Heroes and Star Wars. He is           ers that offer Internet access—an amenity                nected from the new global economy, their
sitting in for someone in an industrialized              unknown until now to thousands of villagers.             economic growth will remain slow and the
country who does not want to spend days as-                  These two situations illustrate the techno-          well-being of their people will remain re-
cending to the highest levels of competition in          logical disconnect between the developing                tarded. Those citizens who are educated and
order to compete with players who are already            and industrial nations. Around the world, de-            skilled will immigrate to other labor markets,
“well armed.” This arrangement is not un-                veloping nations lag far behind industrial na-           deepening the impoverishment of these na-
usual. U.S.-based services can earn hundreds             tions in their use of and access to new                  tions on the periphery.
of dollars for recruiting someone in a less de-          technologies. The World Economic Forum’s                     Remedying the global disconnect is not a
veloped country, like Ghirda, to represent a             Networked Readiness Index (NRI), a ranking of            simple matter. To gain access to new technolo-
single player in an affluent industrial country.          104 nations, shows the relative preparedness             gies, people in developing nations typically
    Meanwhile, villagers in Arumugam, India,             of individuals, businesses, and governments to           must serve the world’s industrial giants, as
are beginning to benefit from their new                  benefit from information technologies. As the             Bogdan Ghirda does. Some may benefit from
                                                                                                                  investment by nongovernmental organizations,
                                                                                                                  as the villagers in India have. But progress to

                                                     [                                                 ]
Network Readiness Index                                          For developing nations, the                      date has been slow. In 2005, in an effort to ac-
                                                                 consequences of the global                       celerate the diffusion of new technologies, the
   Top 10                   Bottom 10                                                                             United Nations launched the Digital Solidarity
   Countries                Countries                          disconnect are far more serious                    Fund. The hope is that global information tech-
                                                              than an inability to surf the Net.                  nology companies can be persuaded to set
     1. Singapore            95. Ecuador                                                                          aside some of their profits to help developing
     2. Ireland              96. Mozambique                                                                       nations connect to the Internet.
                                                         accompanying table shows, the haves of the
     3. Finland              97. Honduras                world—countries like Singapore, the United
                                                         States, and Japan—are network ready; the
                                                                                                                  Let’s Discuss
     4. Denmark              98. Paraguay                have-nots—countries like Ethiopia, Bolivia,                1. For nations on the periphery, what are
                                                         and Mozambique—are not.                                       some of the social and economic conse-
     5. United States        99. Bolivia
                                                             For developing nations, the consequences                  quences of the global disconnect?
     6. Sweden              100. Bangladesh              of the global disconnect are far more serious              2. What factors might complicate efforts to
                                                         than an inability to surf the Net. Thanks to the              remedy the global disconnect in develop-
     7. Hong Kong           101. Angola
                                                         Internet, multinational organizations can now                 ing nations?
     8. Japan               102. Ethiopia                function as a single global unit, responding in-
                                                         stantly in real time, 24 hours a day. This new           Sources: Castells 2000; The Economist 2005d;
     9. Switzerland         103. Nicaragua                                                                        T. Thompson 2005; United Nations 2005b; World
                                                         capability has fostered the emergence of
                                                                                                                  Economic Forum 2005.
   10. Canada               104. Chad                    what sociologist Manuel Castells calls a

modernization must shift their allegiance from traditional                          seems to apply to the spread of the latest electronic technologies
sources of authority, such as parents and priests, to newer au-                     to the developing world (see Box 10-1).
thorities, such as government officials.                                                 A similar criticism has been made of modernization theory,
   Many sociologists are quick to note that terms such as mod-                      a functionalist approach that proposes that modernization and
ernization and even development contain an ethnocentric bias.                       development will gradually improve the lives of people in devel-
The unstated assumption behind these terms is that “they” (peo-                     oping nations. According to this theory, even though countries
ple living in developing countries) are struggling to become                        develop at uneven rates, the development of peripheral countries
more like “us” (in the core industrialized nations). Viewed from                    will be assisted by innovations transferred from the industrial-
a conflict perspective, these terms perpetuate the dominant ide-                     ized world. Critics of modernization theory, including depen-
ology of capitalist societies.                                                      dency theorists, counter that any such technology transfer only
   The term modernization also suggests positive change. Yet                        increases the dominance of core nations over developing coun-
change, if it comes, often comes slowly, and when it does, it tends                 tries and facilitates further exploitation. (Table 10-2, on page 214,
to serve the affluent segments of industrial nations. This truism                    summarizes the three major approaches to global inequality.)
Let’s Discuss Relate “The Global Disconnect” to theories of stratification in the    Policy Pointer Efforts by the United Nations to bridge the global digital divide
world system.                                                                       Contemporary Culture Wide-ranging implications of new technologies
Classroom Tip See “Diffusion into Asia” (Additional Lecture Ideas).

                             Table 10-2              Three Approaches                                                      gree of urbanization, energy use, literacy, politi-
                                                                                                                           cal democracy, and use of birth control. Clearly,
                                                     to Global Inequality                     summingUP                    some of these are subjective indicators; even in
                                                     Sociological                                                          industrialized nations, not everyone would
                                 Approach            Perspective           Explanation                                     agree that wider use of birth control represents
                                 World systems       Functionalist and     Unequal economic and political                  an example of progress (Armer and Katsillis
                                 analysis            conflict               relationships maintain sharp divisions          1992; Hedley 1992; Inglehart and Baker 2000).
                                                                           between nations.                                   Current modernization studies generally take
                                                                                                                           a convergence perspective. Using the indica-
                                 Dependency          Conflict               Industrial nations exploit developing
                                                                                                                           tors noted above, researchers focus on how soci-
                                 theory                                    countries through colonialism and
                                                                           multinational corporations.
                                                                                                                           eties are moving closer together, despite tradi-
                                                                                                                           tional differences. From a conflict perspective,
                                 Modernization       Functionalist         Developing countries are moving away            the modernization of developing countries of-
                                 theory                                    from traditional cultures and toward            ten perpetuates their dependence on and con-
                                                                           the cultures of industrialized nations.
                                                                                                                           tinued exploitation by more industrialized
                                                                                                                           nations. Conflict theorists view such continuing
                                                                                                                           dependence on foreign powers as an example of
                                 When we see all the Coca-Cola and IBM signs going up in de-             contemporary neocolonialism.
                             veloping countries, it is easy to assume that globalization and
                             economic change are effecting cultural change. But that is not al-
                             ways the case, researchers note. Distinctive cultural traditions,
                                                                                                         Stratification Within Nations:
                             such as a particular religious orientation or a nationalistic iden-         A Comparative Perspective
                             tity, often persist, and can soften the impact of modernization             At the same time that the gap between rich and poor nations is
                             on a developing nation. Some contemporary sociologists em-                  widening, so too is the gap between rich and poor citizens within
                             phasize that both industrialized and developing countries are               nations. As discussed earlier, stratification in developing nations
                             “modern.” Researchers increasingly view modernization as                    is closely related to their relatively weak and dependent position
                             movement along a series of social indicators—among them de-                 in the global economy. Local elites work hand in hand with
                                                                                                         multinational corporations and prosper from such alliances. At
                                                                                                         the same time, the economic system creates and perpetuates the
                                                                                                         exploitation of industrial and agricultural workers. That’s why
                                                                                                         foreign investment in developing countries tends to increase
                                                                                                         economic inequality. As Box 10-2 makes clear, inequality within
                                                                                                         a society is also evident in industrialized nations such as Japan
                                                                                                         (Bornschier et al. 1978; Kerbo 2003).

                                                                                                                Distribution of Wealth
                                                                                                                and Income
                                                                                                                In at least 26 nations around the world, the most affluent 10 per-
                                                                                                                cent of the population receives at least 40 percent of all income.
                                                                                                                The list includes the African nation of Namibia (the leader, at
                                                                                                                65 percent of all income), as well as Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria,
                                                                                                                and South Africa. Figure 10-4 (page 216) compares the distri-
                                                                                                                bution of income in selected industrialized and developing
                                                                                                                   Women in developing countries find life especially difficult.
                                                                                                                Karuna Chanana Ahmed, an anthropologist from India who has
                                                                                                                studied women in developing nations, calls women the most ex-
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             {                                                                       }
                                   Half a century ago, many or most of the garments in U.S.                     ploited of oppressed people. Beginning at birth women face sex
                                   clothing stores carried labels reading “Made in the U.S.A.”                  discrimination. They are commonly fed less than male children,
                                   Today, virtually no clothing is produced entirely in the United              are denied educational opportunities, and are often hospitalized
                                   States. Despite this store’s upscale decor, most of the                      only when they are critically ill. Inside or outside the home,
                                   garments it carries were made in developing nations—in                       women’s work is devalued. When economies fail, as they did in
                                   Immanuel Wallerstein’s terms, nations at the semiperiphery
                                                                                                                Asian countries in the late 1990s, women are the first to be laid
                                   or periphery of the core nations.
                                                                                                                off from work (E. Anderson and Moore 1993; Kristof 1998).
                             Student Alert Be sure students understand the differences between modernization    Classroom Tip See “Cross-National Studies of Inequality” (Class Discussion Topics).
                             theory and dependency theory.                                                      Theory Conflict critique of modernization theory
                             Theory Modernization theory is an illustration of the functionalist perspective.   Theory From a conflict perspective, worldwide stratification is evident not only be-
                             Classroom Tip See “Modernization: Kenya, a Case Study” (Additional Lecture         tween rich and poor nations but between rich and poor citizens within nations.
                             Ideas).                                                                            Classroom Tips See “Gaijin” (Additional Lecture Ideas) and “Lorenz Curve” in Top-
214                                                                                                             ics and Sources for Student Research.
10-2 Stratification in Japan

A tourist visiting Japan may at first experience         Japanese. Still, there is discrimination against      issued in late 1996, a Japanese court for the
a bit of culture shock after noticing the degree        the nation’s Chinese and Korean minorities,           first time held an employer liable for denying
to which everything in Japanese life is ranked:         and the Burakumin, a low-status subculture,           promotions due to sex discrimination.
corporations, universities, even educational            encounter extensive prejudice.                            Progress has also been made in terms of
programs. These rankings are widely reported                Perhaps the most pervasive form of in-            public opinion. In 1987, 43 percent of Japanese
and accepted. Moreover, the ratings shape               equality in Japan today is gender discrimina-         adults agreed that married women should stay
day-to-day social interactions: Japanese find            tion. Overall, women earn only about 65               home, but by 2000 the proportion had dropped
it difficult to sit, talk, or eat together unless the    percent of men’s wages. Only about 9 percent          to 25 percent. On the political front, Japanese
relative rankings of those present have been            of Japanese managers are female—a ratio               women have made progress but remain un-
established, often through the practice of              that is one of the lowest in the world. Even in       derrepresented. In a study of women in gov-
meishi (the exchange of business cards).                                                                      ernment around the world, Japan ranked near
     The apparent preoccupation with ranking                                                                  the bottom of the countries studied, with only 7

                                                       [                                            ]
and formality suggests an exceptional degree                  Even in developing countries,                   percent of its national legislators female.
of stratification. Yet researchers have deter-                 women are twice as likely to be
mined that Japan’s level of income inequality                 managers as women in Japan.                     Let’s Discuss
is among the lowest of major industrial soci-
                                                                                                               1. What factors might contribute to the rel-
eties (see Figure 10-4 on page 216). The pay
                                                                                                                  atively low level of income inequality in
gap between Japan’s top corporate execu-                developing countries, women are twice as
tives and the nation’s lowest-paid workers is           likely to be managers as women in Japan.
                                                                                                               2. Describe the types of gender discrimina-
about 8 to 1; the comparable figure for the                  In 1985, Japan’s parliament—at the time,
                                                                                                                  tion found in Japan. Why do you think
United States would be 37 to 1.                         97 percent male—passed an Equal Employ-
                                                                                                                  Japanese women occupy such a subor-
     One factor that works against inequality is        ment bill that encourages employers to end
                                                                                                                  dinate social position?
that Japan is rather homogeneous—certainly              sex discrimination in hiring, assignment, and
when compared with the United States—in                 promotion policies. However, feminist organi-         Sources: French 2003a, 2003b; Fujimoto 2004;
terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, and lan-         zations were dissatisfied because the law              Goodman and Kashiwagi 2002; Inter-Parliamentary
guage. Japan’s population is 98 percent                 lacked strong sanctions. In a landmark ruling         Union 2005; Neary 2003.

    Surveys show a significant degree of female infanticide (the                   3. Immigration continues to be a significant factor in shaping a
killing of baby girls) in China and rural areas of India. Only                       society’s level of intergenerational mobility (Ganzeboom et
one-third of Pakistan’s sexually segregated schools are for                          al. 1991; Haller et al. 1990; Hauser and Grusky 1988).
women, and one-third of those schools have no buildings. In
                                                                                     Cross-cultural studies suggest that intergenerational mobil-
Kenya and Tanzania, it is illegal for a woman to own a house.
                                                                                  ity has been increasing in recent decades, at least among
In Saudi Arabia, women are prohibited from driving, walking
                                                                                  men. Dutch sociologists Harry Ganzeboom and Ruud Luijkx,
alone in public, and socializing with men outside their families
                                                                                  joined by sociologist Donald Treiman of the United States
(C. Murphy 1993). We will explore women’s second-class status
                                                                                  (1989), examined surveys of mobility in 35 industrial and
throughout the world more fully in Chapter 12.
                                                                                  developing nations. They found that almost all the countries
                                                                                  studied had witnessed increased intergenerational mobility
Social Mobility                                                                   between the 1950s and 1980s. In particular, they noted a
Mobility in Industrial Nations Studies of intergenera-                            common pattern of movement away from agriculture-based
tional mobility in industrialized nations have found the follow-                  occupations.
ing patterns:
1. Substantial similarities exist in the ways that parents’ po-                   Mobility in Developing Nations Mobility patterns in in-
   sitions in stratification systems are transmitted to their                      dustrialized countries are usually associated with intergenera-
   children.                                                                      tional and intragenerational mobility. However, in developing
2. As in the United States, mobility opportunities in other na-                   nations, macro-level social and economic changes often over-
   tions have been influenced by structural factors, such as labor                 shadow micro-level movement from one occupation to another.
   market changes that lead to the rise or decline of an occupa-                  For example, there is typically a substantial wage differential
   tional group within the social hierarchy.                                      between rural and urban areas, which leads to high levels of
Global View Stratification in Japan                                                Classroom Tip See “The Informal Economy” (Additional Lecture Ideas).
Gender Women earn about 65 percent of men’s wages in Japan.
Let’s Discuss Ask students to compare gender discrimination in Japan to gender
discrimination in the United States.

                             FIGURE 10–4                                                                                                           tices and even marital systems. The
                             Distribution of Income in Nine Nations                                                                                effects on women’s social standing
                                                                                                                                                   and mobility are not necessarily
                                                                                                                          63%                      positive. As a country develops and
                                     Brazil                                                                                                        modernizes, women’s vital role in
                                                                                                                                                   food production deteriorates, jeop-
                                    Mexico                                                                                                         ardizing both their autonomy and
                                                                                                                                                   their material well-being. Moreover,
                                                                                                         46%                                       the movement of families to the
                                                               5%                                                                                  cities weakens women’s ties to rela-
                                                                                                         46%                                       tives who can provide food, financial
                                                                  7%                                                                  ther e is    assistance, and social support.
                                                                                                                      In a ll nat income               In the Philippines, however,
                             Great Britain                                                             44%
                                                                                                                       sig nifica .                women have moved to the forefront
                                                                6%                                                             ality
                                                                                                                        inequ                      of the indigenous peoples’ struggle
                              Bangladesh                                                            41%                                            to protect their ancestral land from
                                                                   9%                                                                              exploitation by outsiders. Having es-
                                                                                                   40%                                             tablished their right to its rich min-
                                                                 7%                                                                                erals and forests, members of
                                                                                                                                     Highest 20%
                                                                                                                                     Lowest 20%    indigenous groups had begun to
                                     Japan                                                                                                         feud among themselves over the
                                                                                                                                                   way in which the land’s resources
                                  Sweden                                                        37%                                                should be developed. Aided by the
                                                                    9%                                                                             United Nations Partners in Develop-
                                                                                                                                                   ment Programme, women volun-
                                                          0       10        20       30          40       50         60         70                 teers established the Pan-Cordillera
                                                                                       Percent                                                     Women’s Network for Peace and De-
                             Note: Data are considered comparable although based on statistics covering 1993 to 2001.                              velopment, a coalition of women’s
                             Source: World Bank 2005a:72–74.                                                                                       groups dedicated to resolving local
                                                                                                                                                   disputes. The women mapped
                                                                                                                                                   boundaries, prepared development
                                                                                                                                                   plans, and negotiated more than
                             migration to the cities. Yet the urban industrial sectors of devel-                      2,000 peace pacts among community members. They have also
                             oping countries generally cannot provide sufficient employment                            run in elections, campaigned against social problems, and or-
                             for all those seeking work.                                                              ganized residents to work together for the common good
                                 In large developing nations, the most socially significant mo-                        (United Nations Development Programme 2000:87).
                             bility is the movement out of poverty. This type of mobility is
                             difficult to measure and confirm, however, because economic                                Studies of the distribution of wealth and income within various
                             trends can differ from one area of a country to another. For in-                         countries, together with cross-cultural research on mobility,
                             stance, China’s rapid income growth has been accompanied by a                            consistently reveal stratification based on class, gender, and
                             growing disparity in income between urban and rural areas, and                           other factors within a wide range of societies. Clearly, a world-
                             among different regions. Similarly, in India during the 1990s,                           wide view of stratification must include not only the sharp con-
                             poverty declined in urban areas but may have remained static at                          trast between wealthy and impoverished nations but also the
                             best in rural areas. Around the world, social mobility is also dra-                      layers of hierarchy within industrialized societies and developing
                             matically influenced by catastrophes such as crop failure and                             countries.
                             warfare (World Bank 2000).
                                                                                                                      Use Your Sociological Imagination www. 
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             Gender Differences and Mobility Only recently have re-                                                                                        /schaefer10
                             searchers begun to investigate the impact of gender on the mo-                           Imagine that the United States borders a country with a much
                             bility patterns of developing nations. Many aspects of the                               higher standard of living. In this neighboring country, the
                             development process—especially modernization in rural areas                              salaries of workers with a college degree start at $120,000 a
                             and the rural-to-urban migration just described—may result in                            year. What is life in the United States like?
                             the modification or abandonment of traditional cultural prac-

                             Theory Conflict view of how there is less mobility in developing nations than in core   Gender Role of Filipina women in protecting ancestral land
                             industrialized nations
                             Gender Impact of gender on mobility patterns of developing nations

                                                                                       Mexico’s Economy
                                                                                       Mexico lobbied strongly for acceptance of the North American
                                                                                       Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed in 1993, which provided
                                                                                       for the dismantling of almost all trade barriers among the United
                                                                                       States, Canada, and Mexico. Officials hoped the country’s strug-
                                                                                       gling economy would receive a major boost from its favorable link
                                                                                       to the world’s largest consumer market, the United States. Indeed,
                                                                                       in 1995, Mexico recorded its first trade surplus with the United
                                                                                       States since 1990. Still, any benefit from NAFTA was dramatically
                                                                                       undercut by the collapse of the peso, Mexico’s unit of currency, in
                                                                                       1994. Since then, job competition from China and the shock to
                                                                                       the U.S. economy of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,
                                                                                       have further undercut NAFTA’s benefits. Although U.S. invest-
                                                                                       ment in Mexico has increased since the signing of NAFTA, imple-
                                                                                       mentation of the agreement has meant little in the day-to-day
                                                                                       economic struggles of the average Mexican (Kraul 2003).
                                                                                           If we compare Mexico’s economy to that of the United States,
                                                                                       differences in the standard of living and in life chances are quite
                                                                                       dramatic, even though Mexico is considered a semiperiphery
                                                                                       nation. The gross domestic product—the value of all final goods
                                                                                       and services produced in a country—is a commonly used mea-
                                                                                       sure of an average resident’s economic well-being. In 2003, the

{                                                                            }
     In developing countries, people who hope to rise out of
                                                                                       gross domestic product per person in the United States came to
     poverty often move from the country to the city, where
     employment prospects are better. The jobs available in
                                                                                       $36,110; in Mexico, it was a mere $8,800. About 88 percent of
     industrialized urban areas offer perhaps the best means of                        adults in the United States have a high school education, com-
     upward mobility. This woman works in an electronics factory                       pared to only 22 percent of those in Mexico. And fewer than 7 of
     in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.                                                        every 1,000 infants in the United States die in the first year of

CASE STUDY:      Stratification in Mexico
In May 2003, on a stretch of highway in southern Arizona, the
open doors of an abandoned tractor trailer revealed the dead
bodies of 19 Mexicans. The truck had been carrying a group of
illegal immigrants across the Sonoran Desert when the
people hidden inside began to suffer from the intense desert heat.
Their story was not unusual. In 2002, almost a hundred
illegal immigrants died attempting to traverse the U.S.–
Mexican border in the hot, arid corridor that connects the state
of Sonora in Mexico to the state of Arizona in the United States.
    Why do Mexicans risk their lives crossing the dangerous
desert that lies between the two countries? The answer to this
question can be found in the income disparity between the
two nations—one an industrial giant and the other a par-
tially developed country still recovering from a history of colo-
nialism and neocolonialism. In this section we will look in

                                                                                       {                                                             }
some detail at the dynamics of stratification in Mexico, a country                           A worker cleans the reflecting pool at the opulent Casa del
of 102 million people. Since the early 20th century there has been                          Mar Hotel in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Though
a close cultural, economic, and political relationship between                              international tourism is a major industry in Mexico, most
Mexico and the United States, one in which the United States is                             Mexicans have not benefited much from it. Mexican workers
the dominant party. According to Immanuel Wallerstein’s analy-                              who are employed in the industry earn low wages, and their
                                                                                            jobs are jeopardized by the travel industry’s frequent boom
sis, the United States is at the core while neighboring Mexico is
                                                                                            and bust cycles.
still on the semiperiphery of the world economic system.

Student Alert/Let’s Discuss Make sure that students understand why the United
States is a core country and Mexico is a semiperiphery country. What implications do
these statuses have for interaction between these nations?

                             life, compared to about 25 percent in Mexico (Bureau of the             arrangements, a requirement that severely limits the rights of
                             Census 2004a:850, 851; Haub 2004).                                      large Indian groups whose territories span several states. Tired of
                                 Although Mexico is unquestionably a poor country, the gap           waiting for state approval, many indigenous communities in
                             between its richest and poorest citizens is one of the widest in        Chiapas have declared self-rule without obtaining official recog-
                             the world (refer back to Figure 10-4). According to the World           nition (Boudreaux 2002; J. F. Smith 2001).
                             Bank, in 2004, 26 percent of Mexico’s population survived on                While many factors contributed to the Zapatista revolt, the
                             just $2 per day. At the same time, the wealthiest 10 percent of         subordinate status of Mexico’s Indian citizens, who account for
                             Mexico’s people accounted for 43 percent of the entire nation’s         an estimated 14 percent of the nation’s population, was surely
                             income. According to a Forbes magazine portrait of the world’s          important. More than 90 percent of the indigenous population
                             wealthiest individuals, that year Mexico ranked 10th in terms of        lives in houses without sewers, compared with 21 percent of the
                             the number of the world’s wealthiest who lived there (Kroll and         population as a whole. And whereas just 10 percent of Mexican
                             Goodman 2005; World Bank 2003b:55, 61).                                 adults are illiterate, the proportion for Mexican Indians is 44
                                 Political scientist Jorge Castañeda (1995:71) calls Mexico a        percent (Boudreaux 2002; The Economist 2004c; G. Thompson
                             “polarized society with enormous gaps between rich and poor,            2001b).
                             town and country, north and south, white and brown (or criol-               The subordinate status of Mexico’s Indians is but one reflec-
                             los and mestizos).” He adds that the country is also divided along      tion of the nation’s color hierarchy, which links social class to the
                             lines of class, race, religion, gender, and age. We will examine        appearance of racial purity. At the top of this hierarchy are the
                             stratification within Mexico by focusing on race relations and           criollos, the 10 percent of the population who are typically
                             the plight of Mexican Indians, the status of Mexican women,             White, well-educated members of the business and intellectual
                             and emigration to the United States and its impact on the               elites, with familial roots in Spain. In the middle is the large, im-
                             U.S.–Mexican borderlands.                                               poverished mestizo majority, most of whom have brown skin
                                                                                                     and a mixed racial lineage as a result of intermarriage. At the
                             Race Relations in Mexico:                                               bottom of the color hierarchy are the destitute, full-blooded
                                                                                                     Mexican Indian minority and a small number of Blacks, some
                             The Color Hierarchy                                                     descended from 200,000 African slaves brought to Mexico. This
                             On January 1, 1994, rebels from an armed insurgent group                color hierarchy is an important part of day-to-day life—enough
                             called the Zapatista National Liberation Army seized four towns         so that some Mexicans in the cities use hair dyes, skin lighten-
                             in the state of Chiapas, in southern Mexico. The rebels—who             ers, and blue or green contact lenses to appear more White and
                             named their organization after Emil-
                             iano Zapata, a farmer and leader of the
                             1910 revolution against a corrupt dicta-
                             torship—were backed by 2,000 lightly
                             armed Mayan Indians and peasants. Za-
                             patista leaders declared that they had
                             turned to armed insurrection to protest
                             economic injustices and discrimination
                             against the region’s Indian population.
                             The Mexican government mobilized the
                             army to crush the revolt but was forced
                             to retreat as news organizations broad-
                             cast pictures of the confrontation
                             around the world. Though a cease-fire
                             was declared after only 12 days of fight-
                             ing, 196 people died. Negotiations be-
                             tween the Mexican government and the
                             Zapatista National Liberation Army
                             have been shaky ever since.
                                In response to the crisis, the Mexican
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             legislature enacted the Law on Indian
                             Rights and Culture, which went into ef-
                             fect in 2001. The act allows 62 recog-

                                                                                {                                                                                              }
                             nized Indian groups to apply their own        In 2000, a group of masked women demonstrated outside the Mexican Army’s barracks in
                             customs in resolving conflicts and elect-      the state of Chiapas, demanding that the soldiers leave. The women were supporters of the
                                                                           Zapatista National Liberation Army, an insurgent group that protests economic injustices
                             ing leaders. Unfortunately, state legisla-
                                                                           and discrimination against the Indian population in Chiapas.
                             tures must give final approval to these
                             Global View Social stratification in Mexico                              Let’s Discuss Ask students to consider the impact of having no sewers on health
                             Theory Conflict view of stratification in Mexico                          and disease.
                             Race/Ethnicity Subordinate status of Mexican Indians                    Let’s Discuss What are the parallels in race relations in Mexico and the United

European. Ironically, however, nearly all Mexicans are con-                         getting media attention. Though their efforts brought improve-
sidered part Indian because of centuries of intermarriage                           ments in Monterrey’s water service, the issue of reliable and safe
(Castañeda 1995; DePalma 1995a).                                                    water remains a concern in Mexico and many developing coun-
    Many observers take note of widespread denial of prejudice                      tries (Bennett 1995).
and discrimination against people of color in Mexico. School-
children are taught that the election of Benito Juárez, a Zapotec
Indian, as president of Mexico in the 19th century proves that all                  The Borderlands
Mexicans are equal. Yet there has been a marked growth in the                       Water pollution is but one of the many ways in which the prob-
last decade of formal organizations and voluntary associations                      lems of Mexico and the United States intertwine. Grow-
representing indigenous Indians. The Zapatista revolt in Chia-                      ing recognition of the borderlands reflects the increasingly close
pas was an even more dramatic indication that those at the bot-                     and complex relationship between these two countries. The
tom of Mexico’s color hierarchy are weary of inequality and                         term borderlands refers to the area of common culture along
injustice (DePalma 1995a, 1996; Stavenhagen 1994; Utne 2003).                       the border between Mexico and the United States. Legal and il-
                                                                                    legal emigration from Mexico to the United States, day laborers
The Status of Women in Mexico                                                       crossing the border regularly to go to jobs in the United States,
                                                                                    the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agree-
In 1975, Mexico City hosted the first international conference on                    ment, and the exchange of media across the border all make the
the status of women, convened by the United Nations. Much of                        notion of separate Mexican and U.S. cultures obsolete in the
the discussion concerned the situation of women in developing                       borderlands.
countries; in that regard, the situation is mixed. Women now                           The economic position of the borderlands is rather compli-
constitute 42 percent of the labor force—an increase from 34                        cated, as we can see in the emergence of maquiladoras on the
percent over the past 20 years, but still less than in industrial                   Mexican side (see Figure 10-5, page 220). These are foreign-
countries. Unfortunately, Mexican women are even more mired                         owned factories established just across the border in Mexico,
in the lowest-paying jobs than their counterparts in industrial                     where the companies that own them do not have to pay taxes or
nations. In the political arena, though they rarely occupy top                      provide insurance and benefits to workers. The maquiladoras
decision-making positions, women have significantly increased                        have attracted manufacturing jobs from other parts of North
their representation in the national legislature, to 23 percent.                    America to Mexico. As of fall 2002, 1.1 million people were
Mexico, recently ranked 55th in the world in terms of women’s                       employed in the maquiladoras, where the daily take-home
representation, now ranks 29th among 184 nations—well ahead                         pay for entry-level workers was $4 to $5. Since many of these
of Great Britain and France (Bureau of the Census 2004a:860;                        firms come from the United States and sell their products to
Inter-Parliamentary Union 2005).                                                    Mexico’s vast domestic market, their operations deepen the im-
    Feminist sociologists emphasize that even when Mexican                          pact of U.S. consumer culture on Mexico’s urban and rural areas
women work outside the home, they often are not recognized as                       (G. Thompson 2001c).
active and productive household members, whereas men are                               The maquiladoras have contributed to Mexico’s economic de-
typically viewed as heads of the household. As one consequence,                     velopment, but not without some cost. Conflict theorists note
women find it difficult to obtain credit and technical assistance                     that unregulated growth allows owners to exploit workers with
in many parts of the country, and to inherit land in rural areas.                   jobs that lack security, possibilities for advancement, and decent
Within manufacturing and service industries, women generally                        wages. Moreover, many of the U.S.-owned factories require fe-
receive little training and tend to work in the least-automated                     male job applicants to take a urine test to screen out those who
and least-skilled jobs—in good part because there is little expec-                  are pregnant—a violation of Mexican law as well as of NAFTA,
tation that women will pursue career advancement, organize for                      and the source of numerous cases of sexual discrimination. So-
better working conditions, or become active in labor unions                         cial activists also complain that tens of thousands of Mexicans
(Kopinak 1995; Martelo 1996; see also Young 1993).                                  work on maquiladora assembly lines for very low wages, such as
    In recent decades, Mexican women have begun to organize to                      $1 an hour, raising the issue of sweatshop labor noted earlier in
address an array of economic, political, and health issues. Since                   this chapter (Dillon 1998; J. Dougherty and Holthouse 1999).
women continue to serve as the household managers for their                            Ironically, the maquiladoras are now experiencing the same

                                                                                                                                                         Chapter 10 / Global Inequality
families, even when they work outside the home, they are well                       challenge from global trade as U.S. manufacturing plants did. Be-
aware of the consequences of the inadequate public services in                      ginning in 2001, some companies began shifting their op-
lower-income urban neighborhoods. As far back as 1973,                              erations to China. While Mexican labor costs (wages plus benefits)
women in Monterrey—the nation’s third-largest city—began                            are just $2 to $2.50 an hour, Chinese labor costs are even lower—
protesting the continuing disruptions of the city’s water supply.                   50 cents to $1 an hour. Of the 700,000 new maquiladora jobs cre-
After individual complaints to city officials and the water au-                      ated in NAFTA’s first seven years, 43 percent were eliminated
thority proved fruitless, social networks of female activists began                 between 2000 and 2003 (Migration News 2002c, 2004).
to emerge. These activists sent delegations to confront politi-                        When people in the United States think about the border-
cians, organized protest rallies, and blocked traffic as a means of                  lands, they generally think about immigration, a controversial
Gender The status of women in Mexico                                                Theory Conflict analysis of maquiladoras in Mexico
Gender Role of Mexican women in addressing economic, political, and health issues   Gender Gender discrimination in the maquiladoras in Mexico

                             FIGURE 10–5
                             The Borderlands

                             MAPPING LIFE

                             WORLDWIDE                                         www.

                                      San Diego El Centro                                      NEW MEXICO

                                                      Yuma               Tuscon
                             Tijuana Mexicali                                                                                               TEXAS
                                                                                                      Las Cruces
                              CALIFORNIA                                                                   El Paso



                                                                  SONORA                       Juárez

                                                                                Prieta                                     Marfa

                                                                                                                                         Del Rio        San Antonio
                                                                                                                                 Nuevo             Laredo
                                                                                                                                 Laredo             McAllen
                                         Major areas of USA-owned plants
                                         Major sectors of border deaths                                                                               TAMAULIPAS
                             Source: Prepared by the author based on Ellingwood 2001; G. Thompson 2001a.

                              Think About It
                              How do U.S. consumers benefit from the buildup of factories along the U.S.–Mexican border?

                             political issue in the United States—especially near the Mexican                                The social impact of emigration to the United States is felt
                             border. For its part, Mexico is concerned about the priorities and                          throughout Mexico. According to sociological research, the ear-
                             policies of its powerful northern neighbor. From the Mexican                                liest emigrants were typically married men of working age who
                             point of view, the United States too often regards Mexico simply                            came from the middle of the stratification system. They had
                             as a reserve pool of cheap labor, encouraging Mexicans to cross                             enough financial resources to afford the costs and risks of emi-
                             the border when workers are needed but discouraging and                                     gration, yet were experiencing enough financial strain that en-
                             cracking down on them when they are not. Some people, then,                                 tering the United States was attractive to them. Over time,
                             see immigration more as a labor market issue than a law en-                                 kinship ties to migrants multiplied and emigration became less
                             forcement issue. Viewed from the perspective of Immanuel                                    class-selective, with entire families making the trek to the United
                             Wallerstein’s world systems analysis and dependency theory, it is                           States. More recently, the occupational backgrounds of Mexican
                             yet another example of a core industrialized nation exploiting a                            emigrants have widened further, reflecting not only changes in
                             developing country.                                                                         U.S. immigration policy but the continuing crisis in the Mexican
                                As we saw at the beginning of this case, the risks of immi-                              economy (Massey 1998).
                             gration are considerable. Following September 11, 2001, when                                    Many Mexicans who have come to the United States send
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             the U.S. government increased surveillance at common entry                                  some part of their earnings back across the border to family
                             points along the border, migrants without proper documenta-                                 members still in Mexico. This substantial flow of money, some-
                             tion moved to more remote and dangerous locations. In all,                                  times referred to as remittances or migradollars, is estimated at
                             several hundred illegal immigrants lose their lives every year                              a minimum of $17 billion a year, and is surpassed only by oil as
                             while attempting to cross the long border, many of them from                                a source of income. If these funds went solely into the purchase
                             dehydration in the intense desert heat (Dellios 2002).                                      of consumer goods, they would underscore the view of depen-

                             Let’s Discuss Have students explain the maquiladoras within the context of Waller-
                             stein’s world systems analysis.

dency theory, that Mexico’s economy is little more than an ex-
tension of the economy of the United States. In fact, however,                      Use Your Sociological Imagination www.
some of these migradollars are used by Mexicans to establish
and maintain small business enterprises, such as handicraft                         Imagine a day when the border between the United States
workshops and farms. Consequently, the transfer of migradol-                        and Mexico is completely open. What would the two coun-
lars does stimulate the local and national economies of Mexico                      tries’ economies be like? What would their societies be like?
(Migration News 2005a).
   We have seen that inequality is a problem not just in Mexico,
but throughout the world. We turn now to an examination of an
especially ugly form of social inequality, human rights abuse.

[socialPolicy]                                          UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS
        and Global Inequality

The Issue                                                                           Kosovar women by Serbian soldiers. In 1996 a United Nations
Poised on the third millennium, the world seemed capable of                         tribunal indicted eight Bosnian Serb military and police officers
mighty feats, ranging from explorations of distant solar systems                    for rape, marking the first time that sexual assault was treated as
to the refinement of tiny genes within human cells. Yet at the                       a war crime under international law (S. Power 2002).
same time came constant reminders of how quickly people and                             In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in-
their fundamental human rights could be trampled.                                   creased security and surveillance at U.S. airports and border
    Human rights refers to universal moral rights possessed by                      crossings caused some observers to wonder whether human
all people because they are human. The most important elabo-                        rights were not being jeopardized at home. At the same time,
ration of human rights appears in the Universal Declaration of                      thousands of noncitizens of Arab and south Asian descent were
Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. This                           questioned for no other reason than their ethnic and religious
declaration prohibits slavery, torture, and degrading punish-                       backgrounds. A few were placed in custody, sometimes without
ment; grants everyone the right to a nationality and its culture;                   access to legal assistance. As the war on terror moved overseas,
affirms freedom of religion and the right to vote; proclaims the                     human rights concerns escalated. In 2005, the United Nations’
right to seek asylum in other countries to escape persecution;                      secretary-general Kofi Annan criticized the United States and
and prohibits arbitrary interference with one’s privacy and the                     Britain for equating people who were resisting the presence of
arbitrary taking of a person’s property. It also emphasizes that                    foreign troops in Afghanistan and Iraq with terrorists. For the
mothers and children are entitled to special care and assistance.                   foreseeable future, it seems, the United States and other coun-
    What steps, if any, can the world community take to ensure                      tries will walk a delicate tightrope between human rights and the
the protection of these rights? Is it even possible to agree on                     need for security (Parker 2004; Steele 2005).
what those rights are?
                                                                                    Sociological Insights
The Setting                                                                         By its very title, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights em-
At first, the United States opposed a binding obligation to the                      phasizes that such rights should be universal. Even so, cultural
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The government feared                        { p.67 relativism encourages understanding and respect for the
that the declaration would cause international scrutiny of the                      distinctive norms, values, and customs of each culture. In some
nation’s civil rights controversies (at a time when racial segrega-                 situations, conflicts arise between human rights standards and
tion laws were still common). By the early 1960s, however, the                      local social practices that rest on alternative views of human
United States had begun to use the declaration to promote                           dignity. For example, is India’s caste system an inherent violation
                                                                                    of human rights? What about the many cultures of the world
                                                                                                                                                                      Chapter 10 / Global Inequality
democracy abroad (Forsythe 1990).
   The 1990s brought the term ethnic cleansing into the world’s                     that view the subordinate status of women as an essential ele-
vocabulary. In the former Yugoslavia, Serbs initiated a policy in-                  ment in their traditions? Should human rights be interpreted
tended to “cleanse” Muslims from parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina,                       differently in different parts of the world?
and ethnic Albanians from the province of Kosovo. Hundreds of                           In 1993, the United States rejected such a view by insisting
thousands of people were killed in fighting there, while many                        that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set a single
others were uprooted from their homes. Moreover, reports sur-                       standard for acceptable behavior around the world. However, in
faced of substantial numbers of rapes of Muslim, Croatian, and                      the late 1990s, certain Asian and African nations were reviving

Policy Pointer A nation’s policies regarding treatment of immigrants and refugees   Classroom Tip Refer back to the discussion of cultural relativism in Chapter 3.
often lead to controversies over human rights violations.
Let’s Discuss Is the United Nations’ definition of human rights culture bound?

                                                      {                                                                                                       }
                                                             The highly acclaimed motion picture Hotel Rwanda (2004), starring Don Cheadle and Sophie
                                                             Okonedo, highlighted the international community’s failure to prevent the massacre of a
                                                             million Rwandans during interethnic warfare in 1984. Ironically, at the time of the movie’s
                                                             release, the international community was watching as the death toll rose in a similar war in
                                                             the Sudan.

                             arguments about cultural relativism in an attempt to block sanc-                what are regarded as more pressing national concerns. Stepping
                             tions by the United Nations Human Rights Commission. For ex-                    up to fill the gap are international organizations such as the
                             ample, female genital mutilation, a practice that is common in                  United Nations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
                             more than 30 countries around the world, has been condemned                     like Médecins sans Frontières and Amnesty International. Most
                             in Western nations as a human rights abuse. This controversial                  initiatives come from these international bodies.
                             practice often involves removal of the clitoris, in the belief that                 Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), the
                             its excision will inhibit a young woman’s sex drive, making her                 world’s largest independent emergency medical aid organiza-
                             chaste and thus more desirable to her future husband. Though                    tion, won the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in countries
                             some countries have passed laws against the practice, they have                 worldwide. Founded in 1971 and based in Paris, the organiza-
                             gone largely unenforced. Immigrants from countries where gen-                   tion has 5,000 doctors and nurses working in 80 countries. “Our
                             ital mutilation is common often insist that their daughters un-                 intention is to highlight current upheavals, to bear witness to
                             dergo the procedure, to protect them from Western cultural                      foreign tragedies and reflect on the principles of humanitarian
                             norms that allow premarital sex. In this context, how does one                  aid,” explains Dr. Rony Brauman, the organization’s president
                             define human rights (Religious Tolerance 2005)?                                  (Spielmann 1992:12; also see Daley 1999).
                                 It is not often that a nation makes such a bold statement.                      Amnesty International monitors human rights violations
                             Policymakers, including those in the United States, more fre-                   around the world. Founded in 1961, the organization has chap-
                             quently look at human rights issues from an economic                            ters in many countries and 400,000 members in the United
                             perspective. Functionalists would point out how much more                       States alone. Amnesty International works for the release of men
                             quickly we become embroiled in “human rights” concerns                          and women detained for their conscientiously held beliefs, their
                             when oil is at stake, as in the Middle East, or when military al-               color, ethnic origin, sex, religion, or language—provided they
                             liances come into play, as in Europe. The United States is less                 have neither used nor advocated violence. The winner of the
                             likely to want to interfere in an area where its economic con-                  1977 Nobel Prize for Peace, Amnesty International opposes all
Part 3 / Social Inequality

                             cerns are modest (as in Africa) or where it is seeking to advance               forms of torture and capital punishment and advocates prompt
                             an economic agenda (as in China).                                               trials of all political prisoners.
                                                                                                                 In recent years, awareness has been growing of lesbian and gay
                             Policy Initiatives                                                              rights as an aspect of universal human rights. In 1994, Amnesty
                             Human rights issues come wrapped up in international diplo-                     International USA (1994:2) published a pioneering report in
                             macy. For that reason, many national policymakers hesitate to                   which it acknowledged that “homosexuals in many parts of the
                             interfere in human rights issues, especially if they conflict with               world live in constant fear of government persecution.” The
                             Theory Functionalist analysis of human rights                                   Classroom Tip Consider inviting a guest speaker from Amnesty International to dis-
                                                                                                             cuss the issue of universal human rights.
                                                                                                             Theory Conflict view of worldwide human rights violations against women and
                                                                                                             against lesbians and gay men

report examined abuses in Brazil, Greece, Mexico, Iran, the                  social inequality today can have life-and-death consequences.
United States, and other countries, including cases of torture, im-          Universal human rights remain an ideal, not a reality.
prisonment, and extrajudicial execution. Later in 1994, the
United States issued an order that would allow lesbians and gay              Let’s Discuss
men to seek political asylum in the United States if they could
                                                                             1. Why do definitions of human rights vary?
prove they had suffered government persecution in their home
countries solely because of their sexual orientation (Johnston               2. Are violations of human rights excusable in time of war? In
1994).                                                                          the aftermath of serious terrorist attacks such as those of Sep-
   Ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, human rights viola-               tember 11, 2001? Why or why not?
tions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda,             3. How well or poorly do you think the United States compares
increased surveillance in the name of counterterrorism, violence                to other countries in terms of respect for human rights, both
against women inside and outside the family, governmental tor-                  at home and abroad? Has the nation’s record improved or de-
ture of lesbians and gay men—all these are vivid reminders that                 clined in recent years?

To get involved in the debate over universal human rights, visit this text’s Online Learning Center, which offers links to relevant Web
sites. Check out the Social Policy section in the Online Learning Center as well; it provides survey data on U.S. public opinion regard-
ing this issue.


Worldwide, stratification can be seen both in the gap between rich and         6. Multinational corporations bring jobs and industry to developing
poor nations and in the inequality within countries. This chapter ex-            nations, but they also tend to exploit workers in order to maximize
amined the global divide and stratification within the world economic             profits.
system; the impact of globalization, modernization, and multinational         7. Many sociologists are quick to note that terms such as moderniza-
corporations on developing countries; and the distribution of wealth             tion and even development contain an ethnocentric bias.
and income in various nations.
                                                                              8. According to modernization theory, development in periphery
 1. Today, almost 3 billion people in the world’s developing nations are         countries will be assisted by innovations transferred from the in-
    living on $2 a day or less. Developing nations account for most of           dustrialized world.
    the world’s population and most of its births, but they also bear the     9. Social mobility is more limited in developing nations than in core
    burden of most of its disease and childhood deaths.                          nations.
 2. Former colonized nations are kept in a subservient position, subject     10. While Mexico is unquestionably a poor country, the gap between its
    to foreign domination, through the process of neocolonialism.                richest and poorest citizens is one of the widest in the world.
 3. Drawing on the conflict perspective, sociologist Immanuel Waller-         11. The subordinate status of Mexico’s Indians is but one reflection of
    stein’s world systems analysis views the global economic system as           the nation’s color hierarchy, which links social class to the appear-
    one divided between nations that control wealth (core nations) and           ance of racial purity.
    those from which capital is taken (periphery nations).
                                                                             12. Growing recognition of the borderlands reflects the increasingly
 4. According to dependency theory, even as developing countries make            close and complex relationship between Mexico and the United
                                                                                                                                                         Chapter 10 / Global Inequality
    economic advances, they remain weak and subservient to core na-              States.
    tions and corporations in an increasingly integrated global economy.
                                                                             13. Human rights need to be identified and abuses of those rights cor-
 5. Globalization, or the worldwide integration of government policies,          rected in countries throughout the world.
    cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade
    and the exchange of ideas, is a controversial trend that critics blame
    for contributing to the cultural domination of periphery nations by
    core nations.

                             Critical Thinking Questions
                             1. How have multinational corporations and the trend toward global-         3. How active should the U.S. government be in addressing violations
                                ization affected you, your family, and your community? List both            of human rights in other countries? At what point, if any, does con-
                                the pros and the cons. Have the benefits outweighed the drawbacks?           cern for human rights turn into ethnocentrism through failure to re-
                             2. Imagine that you have the opportunity to spend a year in Mexico             spect the distinctive norms, values, and customs of another culture?
                                studying inequality in that nation. How would you draw on specific
                                research designs (surveys, observation, experiments, existing sources)
                                to better understand and document stratification in Mexico?

                             Key Terms
                             Borderlands The area of common culture along the border between             Modernization theory A functionalist approach that proposes that
                                Mexico and the United States. (page 219)                                   modernization and development will gradually improve the lives of
                             Colonialism The maintenance of political, social, economic, and cul-          people in developing nations. (213)
                                tural dominance over a people by a foreign power for an extended         Multinational corporation A commercial organization that is head-
                                period. (208)                                                              quartered in one country but does business throughout the world.
                             Dependency theory An approach that contends that industrialized na-           (211)
                                tions continue to exploit developing countries for their own gain.       Neocolonialism Continuing dependence of former colonies on for-
                                (210)                                                                      eign countries. (208)
                             Human rights Universal moral rights possessed by all people because         Remittances The monies that immigrants return to their families of
                                they are human. (221)                                                      origin. Also called migradollars. (220)
                             Modernization The far-reaching process by which periphery nations           World systems analysis A view of the global economic system as one
                                move from traditional or less developed institutions to those char-        divided between certain industrialized nations that control wealth
                                acteristic of more developed societies. (212)                              and developing countries that are controlled and exploited. (208)
Part 3 / Social Inequality

Technology Resources

                Online Learning Center with PowerWeb

1. Test your knowledge of the information in this chapter by visiting                 nals in Australia. Explore the site at
   the student center in the Online Learning Center at www.mhhe.                      counters. Click on the link to “Coranderrk” and then “Children” to
   com/schaefer10 and taking the multiple-choice quiz. This quiz will                 learn about past government policies toward Aboriginal children.
   not only test your knowledge; it will also give you immediate feed-            3. In this chapter you have read arguments that today, many former
   back on the questions that you answered incorrectly.                              colonies still have neocolonialist relationships with industrialized
2. The governments of many industrialized countries—such as the                      nations. Visit a Web site that commemorates the 300-year relation-
   United States—have had a history of subjecting native populations                 ship between the Netherlands and Ghana at
   to oppression and mistreatment. The Web site of the Museum Vic-                   index.html. Explore the site and see what you can ascertain about
   toria allows you a glimpse into the historical oppression of Aborigi-             the past and present relationship between these two countries.
Note: While all the URLs listed were current as of the printing of this book, these sites often change. Please check our Web site ( for
updates, hyperlinks, and exercises related to these sites.

                                                                                                                                                                  Chapter 10 / Global Inequality