Quiz 8: Global Stratification


Identifying global inequality poses a variety of challenges for the researchers, because each nation tallies income and wealth in different ways, and there is dearth of reliable information. The United Nations index of Human development, which consists of life expectancy, infant mortality rate, adult literacy, and food consumption pattern, provides valuable information to understand the income inequality. Also, the per capita income (average annual income per person in a country) of the country is a key in understanding the income disparities. The following sources of information and methods may be used to study the global disparities in wealth distribution. • Qualitative Poverty Assessments : With the help of trained field researchers, key informants, focus groups, and other qualitative tools, reliable information may be collected from the sample. The research may be around the topics of nature of poverty, income generation methods used, the belief system of the households, the saving pattern, etc. • Well being analysis : Apart from the income and expenditure analysis of the households, the value system, means of entertainment, family relationships, community participation etc. may be assessed. • Poverty and wealth mapping: This is identifying the determinants of poverty and the wealth creation of the host country. Self reports, observation, and focus groups may be used to understand the dynamics of poverty and wealth creation in the family. • Household profiling: A profile of the household with number people living in the house, their relationships, quality of communications among them, their health history, sources of income, saving patterns, etc. may be organized into a profile for quick referencing. • The art expressions and multimedia presentations: Films and advertising can be rich source of insight about the socio-economic conditions of a country. The life style, the kind of products advertised, the background of the ad / film, etc. provides key clues about the income patterns of the country.

United nations have classified countries into two i.e. developed nations and developing nations. Developed nations have industrialized their economic systems and have high living standards. Developing countries are slow in industrializations and have lesser quality of living means. Comparing lives of people living in two kinds of countries is challenging. However, the following factors may be used to compare the living standards. • Life satisfaction of the individuals and the households • Total Income levels and disposable incomes • Life expectancy and mortality rates • Availability and affordability of basic amenities such as hygienic food, cozy shelter, health care, education, etc. • Presence of household gadgets such as TV, Computer, Internet, Car, etc. in the homes The United States middle class and its counterpart in developing countries are similar I many terms such as pattern of spending, the entertainment preferences, life aspirations, etc. However, there are differences too. American middle class have better domestic infrastructure and have access to better food choices. The middle class in the developing countries spend more for better quality food and have inferior infrastructure for drinking water, electricity etc.

Economic and military strength alone will not make the US immune from external shocks. As a rich country, the US must put efforts to remove causes of instability such as poverty, and social injustice in other countries. Supporting other countries on these issues is right thing from a humanitarian and an economic point of view. Economic backwardness in other countries will create weak institutions in the respective countries, leading to ineffective ways to curb corruption, drug menaces and terrorist activities. Corruption, drug trafficking and terrorist camps can destabilize countries and it will adversely affect the rich countries too. Hence, it is very important for the US to have strong policies on anti-poverty measures in developing countries. In order to uphold the national competitiveness, the US must address the domestic poverty issues effectively. The internal poverty can be handled effectively, only by addressing the question of income. The government must take efforts to raise the income of the underprivileged and successfully implement programs that promote employment opportunities to the natives. The US also must deal with racial issues, provide children's and youth education, upgrade rehabilitation services, and strengthen health care system. Some issues such as unemployment, alcoholism, domestic violence, etc. are common to both the US and other developing countries. But issues such as weak policing and justice, lower level corruption, etc. are more prevalent in developing countries than in the US. Obviously, policies to tackle these domestic issues are different for the US.