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
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.
In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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