Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes

This book – written by Michigan State University sociology Professor Martin N. Marger – is a good resource for mainly sociological, but also political, theories on social inequality, though not a great one. There is  an apparent left-wing bias expressed by the author – just like in every sociological book that I have read so far – regardless of his effort to mask it by adding right-wing theories here and there (barely, frankly speaking).

There are some good points mad in this book, such as the disparity in political participation between the rich and the poor (the rich being substantially more active), the need to better define poverty (he included sociological definitions of poverty, such as absolute and relative poverty, as well as what is official poverty) in an effort to address limitations in our definition of it, and how dominant dominant ideologies are relative to dominated ideologies (a good example is the U.S. perception of the role of government in our everyday lives), among other points.

Another way this book is useful for is its recounts of history of the different issues that it discusses. The author did a good job explaining how a certain issue arose and why it is still an issue, regardless of how truthful or wrongful his interpretations are.

However, as with other sociological books, I strongly recommend that you first get more acquainted with basic introductory-level microeconomics and macroeconomics before you decide to read the book. The main reason why I insist on this recommendation is that in the past I had studied and written on poverty, justice and inequality without having this basic knowledge, and I therefore lacked the proper expertise in putting two and two together. And at that time most books, especially the ones that had a certain left-wing bias, would be successful in seeming trustworthy to me. Meanwhile, I was also acknowledging the fact that it is not fair to transfer money from the rich to the poor, and I was therefore aimed at looking for policies that promote equal treatment for all people, regardless of their background.

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