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Class and inequality in Australia

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  1. Introduction
  2. Identifying what constitute the inequalities in contemporary Australia
    1. Natural inequality
    2. Economic inequality
    3. Social inequality
  3. Why the inequalities persist and are even amplified
    1. The liberal welfare state
    2. A globalized society
    3. The ideas of sociologists like Pakulski and Waters
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

If Horne described Australian society by its ?climate so professedly egalitarian? and its ?Fair go, mate?, McGregor points out that ?it is impossible to live in Australia without coming to realize that the different social classes [?] experience crucial differences in privilege and inequality, indeed live different lives.? Since the middle of the nineteenth century and the gold rushes, the principle of equality has become fundamental in Australia as far as each person (even prisoners) used to be equal by the gold he found. It is common place to hear that Australia is an egalitarian and classless society where everyone is born with the same and equal chances to access power, income and wealth. This is paradoxical in the sense that when analyzing the current opinion polls, it is obvious that Australians are conscious of class and they even identify themselves as belonging to a particular social class (McGregor, 2001). Australia as an ?egalitarian society' is more an ?illusion? (Kuhn, 2005) than reality in today's capitalist and globalised world where inequalities are increasing. In this essay my purpose will be to explore and explain this paradox about Australian society.

[...] (2005) Presentation to the Conference on sustaining prosperity: New reforms opportunities for Australia. NATSEM. Accessed on line. Horne, D. (1964) The Lucky country. Penguin Books Inglehart, R. and Baker, WE. (2000) ?Modernization, cultural change and the persistence of traditional values?, in American sociological review, vol.65, pp. 19-51. Kuhn, R. ed. (2005) Class and struggle in Australia. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Pearson Education McGregor, C. (2001) Class in Australia: Who says Australia Has No Class System? Ringwood, Vic.: Penguin. [1]Horne, D. (1964) The Lucky country. Penguin Books [2]McGregor, C. [...]

[...] in contemporary Australia According to Bessant and Watts (2002), inequality is about ?relationships between people, in which positional differences in access to power, status, income and wealth translate into social and economic inequalities- though relationships between each of these are very complex?. They are different types of inequalities. First ?natural inequality' refers to the fact that each person is born with unequal chances to access power, wealth, income etc. For instance children born in ?upper families have more chances to belong themselves to the ?upper-class? than children growing up in a ?working class? family. [...]

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