Problem

Social stratification


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Inflexible social structure
Immobility of the social pattern
Social stratification as an obstacle to development
Persistence of social hierarchy
Acceptance of social hierarchy
Social hierarchy
Nature:
Any social hierarchy establishes ideal models at the top that are unattainable for the vast majority. Thus wherever there has been a monarchy, a caste system, a feudal order, or a landed or mercantile elite, the majority of people were accustomed to the idea that they and their children could never realized for themselves the ideal lives to which they gave respect and support. Indeed, realizing these ideal lives was not necessary nor a goal aspired to, because the lives they had were considered significant by themselves and by the society in which they lived. The school-based occupational prestige hierarchy of modern society, however, is different because it gives hope: If a child does well enough in the school system he will enter the higher ranks and will actually have access to an ideal life. The chances of actually rising to the top are few because the hierarchy is a pyramid with few places at the top and the chances of rising decreases with an increase in the number of people educated to higher levels. The hope that economic expansion will increase the number of places at or near the top is false because educational expansion in industrialized countries and population growth in developing nations outpace economic production. The result is an avalanche of failed aspirations throughout the world. The majority, whose positions are low, experience a sense of inferiority that is undeserved and can be psychologically damaging.
Claim:
In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.
Problem Type:
A: Abstract Fundamental Problems
Date of last update
30.07.2004 – 00:00 CEST