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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 7: Diversity in Society............................................................................................. 4


LESSON 7-A: Sociological Theories of Deviance.........................................................................5
Deviance.................................................................................................................. 5
Durkheim's Deviance Theory............................................................................................ 5
Merton's Strain Theory................................................................................................... 6
Lesson Summary......................................................................................................... 6
LESSON 7-B: Labeling Theory and Crime................................................................................8
Labeling Theory.......................................................................................................... 8
Primary vs. Secondary Deviance....................................................................................... 8
Stigma..................................................................................................................... 9
Retrospective and Projective Labeling.................................................................................. 9
Hirschi's Control Theory................................................................................................. 9
Lesson Summary......................................................................................................... 9
LESSON 7-C: Social-Conflict Theory and Crime.......................................................................11
Social Conflict Theory.................................................................................................. 11
Deviance and Power................................................................................................... 11
White-Collar vs. Blue-Collar Crime.................................................................................... 11
Corporate vs. Organized Crime....................................................................................... 12
Deviance and Capitalism.............................................................................................. 12
Lesson Summary....................................................................................................... 13
LESSON 7-D: Crime and Deviance in the U.S. Criminal Justice System.............................................14
The U.S. Criminal Justice System.................................................................................... 14
Punishment............................................................................................................. 14
Punishment: Retribution............................................................................................... 14

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Punishment: Deterrence............................................................................................... 15
Punishment: Rehabilitation............................................................................................ 15
Punishment: Societal Protection...................................................................................... 15
Lesson Summary....................................................................................................... 16
SUPPLEMENTAL READING: Christian View of Government and Law...............................................16
Christian View of Government......................................................................................... 16
Governmental Authority................................................................................................ 19
Moral Basis of Law..................................................................................................... 20
LESSON 7-E: Social Status.............................................................................................. 22
Social Stratification and Inequality.................................................................................... 22
Social Stratification: Four Principles..................................................................................22
Open vs. Closed Systems............................................................................................. 23
Class System........................................................................................................... 23
Caste System........................................................................................................... 23
Lesson Summary....................................................................................................... 24
LESSON 7-F: American Class System and Structure: Definitions & Types of Social Classes......................25
American Class System............................................................................................... 25
Upper Class............................................................................................................. 25
Middle Class............................................................................................................ 26
Lower Class............................................................................................................. 26
Lesson Summary....................................................................................................... 26
LESSON 7-G: Social Mobility: Intragenerational vs. Intergenerational & Vertical vs. Horizontal....................28
Social Mobility Definition............................................................................................... 28
Vertical vs. Horizontal Social Mobility.................................................................................28
Intragerational vs. Intergenerational.................................................................................. 28
Lesson Summary....................................................................................................... 29
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LESSON 7-H: Poverty in the United States.............................................................................30
Poverty.................................................................................................................. 30
Relative Poverty........................................................................................................ 30
Absolute Poverty....................................................................................................... 30
Populations at Risk..................................................................................................... 31
Lesson Summary....................................................................................................... 31
SUPPLEMENTAL READING: Major Flaws of Liberation Theology.......................................................31
Conditions in Latin America............................................................................................ 32
Liberation Theology.................................................................................................... 34
Proposed Solutions.................................................................................................... 34
LESSON 7-I: Global Stratification Definition: Differences in Income Levels and Poverty...............................41
Global Stratification.................................................................................................... 41
Three-World Model..................................................................................................... 41
Income Categories..................................................................................................... 41
Lesson Summary....................................................................................................... 42

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CHAPTER 7: Diversity in Society
Diversity in society can be many things. It not only encompasses the differences in races, ethnic
backgrounds and gender, but also the differences in how we act or how we are labeled based upon our income. Wind
Goodfriend will be your instructor for these lessons, which will help you understand more about what makes a society
diverse. In this chapter, you will:

Learn the definition of deviance and theories of deviance

Develop an understanding of crime and different concepts related to it, such as labeling theory, white-collar
vs. blue-collar crime and the role of power in deviance

Study the U.S. criminal justice system to understand due process and the four rationales for social
punishment

Examine the difference between caste and class, including different class levels

Analyze social mobility, including intragenerational, intergenerational, vertical and horizontal

Look at the difference between relative and absolute power through looking at the links between poverty,
race, age and gender

NOTE:

GCC continues to uphold Biblical teachings. The materials below are to be discussed as a matter of
information, but are evaluated based on the Bible

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LESSON 7-A: Sociological Theories of Deviance
There is a diverse range of behaviors in society that goes against expectations and cultural norms. In this
lesson, we define and go over some examples of the different types of deviance. We also discuss two sociological
theories about deviance created by Emile Durkheim and Robert Merton.
Deviance
Yesterday, Tyler walked into the 24-hour convenience store and robbed the cashier. Anna received a ticket
for driving ten miles faster than the speed limit. Gretchen, who was just married, decided to keep her maiden name
instead of taking her husband's surname. Of these three individuals, which would you label as a 'deviant?' Would it
surprise you that all three would actually be considered deviants in our society?
Deviance is defined as any action that is perceived as violating a society's or group's cultural norm. Norms
dictate what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior across cultures. One category of deviance is crime,
which occurs when someone violates a society's formal laws. Criminal deviance spans a wide range of behavior,
from minor traffic violations to arson to murder. Our previous examples of Tyler robbing a convenience store and
Anna driving over the speed limit both fit into this category. However, laws make up only one piece of a complex
system of countless rules - formal, informal, written, implied, etc. - to which we are expected to conform. Any act of
nonconformity to these rules is considered deviant.
For example, something as simple as wearing sweat pants to work is an act of nonconformity to a (usually)
informal rule/expectation, and it makes that someone a deviant. Small deviant acts like this are very common. How
many people do you know (including yourself) that have forgotten to return a library book on time, ran a red light, or
played hooky from work or school?
Nonconformity isn't always a negative instance of rule breaking. We can also include behaviors that fall into
the category of 'overachievement' as deviant. What deviant actions - negative or positive - have in common is that
they are different from the norm. Gretchen is clearly not performing an act of criminal deviance by choosing to keep
her maiden name. However, taking the husband's surname is a norm in our society. Because she violated that norm,
she is still performing a deviant act.
The concept of deviance is complex because norms vary across cultures, and what one group or society
considers deviant, may not be considered deviant in another group or society. Sociologists study patterns of deviance
and how they differ between cultures. Two of the most prominent sociological theories of deviance are Emile
Durkheim's deviance theory and Robert Merton's strain theory. Let's look at the unique perspective of each theory.
Durkheim's Deviance Theory
First, in Durkheim's deviance theory, he argued not only that deviance is a natural and necessary part of
society but that it's actually impossible not to have deviance in a functional society. He used a monastery as an
illustration: to outsiders, monks are extremely peaceful and therefore live in a near-Utopian society. However, even
there, deviance still occurs. It may be as seemingly innocent (to us) as missing morning prayer, but in their society,

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this deviant behavior goes against the rules they have created to bring order to their society. Breaking one results in
negative social reactions.
Since deviance can severely disrupt social order, it may seem like a paradox that it can actually be a good
thing in society. However, according to Durkheim, deviance performs four essential functions. First, it affirms cultural
norms and values. Seeing someone suffer or be punished for a deviant act reinforces what society sees as
acceptable or unacceptable behavior. Second, deviance clarifies moral boundaries and teaches us right from wrong.
Third, it brings people together. People become united in their shared response to deviance, like when people across
the U.S. united in shock and grief after the attacks of September 11. Finally, according to Durkheim, the fourth
function of deviance is that it encourages social change. American history is full of individuals who pushed society's
moral boundaries and promoted social change, like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.
One example of how deviance can promote social change is the fact that Gretchen keeping her maiden
name is not as much of a 'big deal' as it used to be. In the past, women who did not take their husband's surname
after marriage were considered scandalous. Keeping their maiden names greatly contradicted an important norm in
society. Over time, however, as society reevaluated the rights of women, this norm became less important. Although
the number of women who keep their maiden names is still very low, those who choose to do so today are no longer
shunned from society.
Merton's Strain Theory
The other sociological theory of deviance we'll discuss in this lesson is Merton's strain theory. Although
Merton agreed that some deviance is necessary for a society to function, he argued that the culture and structure of
society itself pressures individuals to be criminally deviant. In other words, because of certain cultural values and
goals, those who lack the opportunity to legitimately meet those goals feel strained. They are pressured to use
unconventional means, such as criminal deviance, to meet those goals, instead.
Merton used the 'American Dream' as an example: the philosophy behind the 'American Dream' is that
anyone, regardless of social status and background, can achieve financial success through hard work and
determination. In reality, not everyone is able to become wealthy. Those who do not have the opportunity to become
wealthy feel a strain in not living up to society's expectations. As a result, some choose to use whatever means
necessary - including criminally deviant acts - to still meet their financial goals.
Think about Tyler, again. What was the reason he robbed the convenience store? Perhaps he wants to go to
college but can't afford it. Going to college is a norm in our society, so he would feel pressured to find a way to
attend. According to Merton, if Tyler couldn't find legitimate means to make enough money, he would feel enough
pressure by the social norm of attending college to find a way, even if that meant stealing.
Lesson Summary
In summary, deviance is defined as any action that is perceived as violating a society's or group's cultural
norm. Norms dictate what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior across cultures. Deviance spans a
wide range of behaviors. What deviant actions - negative or positive - have in common is that they are different than
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what is expected. So, they include something as severe as breaking the law, but also, something as simple as not
returning a book to the library on time.
The concept of deviance is complex because norms vary across cultures, and what one group or society
considers deviant may not be considered deviant in another group or society. Sociologists study patterns of deviance
and how they differ between cultures. Two of the most prominent sociological theories of deviance are Emile
Durkheim's deviance theory - that deviance is a natural and necessary part of society - and Robert Merton's
strain theory - that the culture and structure of society itself pressures individuals to be criminally deviant.

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LESSON 7-B: Labeling Theory and Crime
Labeling others is common in our society. In this lesson, we discuss the specifics of labeling theory,
including when and why people are labeled. We also distinguish between retroactive and projective labeling and
briefly discuss Travis Hirschi's control theory.
Labeling Theory
In a previous lesson, we discussed deviance: any action that is perceived as violating a society's or group's
cultural norm. Robbing a store and driving faster than the speed limit are examples of deviant behavior. However,
labeling theory proposes deviance is socially constructed through reaction instead of action. In other words,
according to this theory, no behavior is inherently deviant on its own. Instead, it's the reaction to the behavior that
makes it deviant or not.
Labeling theory helps to explain why a behavior is considered negatively deviant to some people, groups,
and cultures but positively deviant to others. For example, think about fictional vigilantes, like Robin Hood and
Batman. Batman is labeled in different ways depending on the public's reaction to his escapades. Some people have
a negative reaction and label him as a criminal. Others have a positive reaction and label him as a hero. Different
reactions are typically based on group or cultural norms and values.
Another example is when a person is responsible for the death of another. When are they labeled as a
'murderer' or a 'killer?' The reaction to death sometimes depends on the circumstances. The person responsible will
be viewed differently depending on the reason, whether it's murder, war, self-defense, or an accident.
Primary vs. Secondary Deviance
Studies related to labeling theory have also explained how being labeled as deviant can have long-term
consequences for a person's social identity. Consider primary deviance, which is an initial violation of a social norm
- about which no inference is made regarding a person's character. Primary deviance includes minor deviant acts that
just about everyone does once or twice, like playing hooky from school or work. These behaviors have little reaction
from others and therefore, have little effect on a person's self-concept.
On the other hand, secondary deviance is when a person repeatedly violates a social norm, which leads
others to make assumptions about that person and assign a label to him or her. Some examples of labels are
'criminal,' 'psycho,' 'addict,' and 'delinquent.' Secondary deviance gets such a strong reaction from others that the
individual is typically shunned and excluded from certain social groups.
For example, the dynamic between nerds and jocks is portrayed in popular culture all the time. Typically,
there is someone who is intelligent but socially awkward and becomes labeled as a 'nerd.' Once labeled, that person
is considered unpopular and shunned by the popular 'jocks.'

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Stigma
Once a person has been labeled by others through secondary deviance, it is common for that person to
incorporate that label into his or her own self-concept. They develop a stigma, or a powerfully negative label that
greatly changes a person's self-concept and social identity.
Someone in high school that has been labeled as a nerd, for example, may begin to think of himself or
herself as a loser due to other people's opinions and treatment. Someone who has been stigmatized usually has
lower self-esteem and may even behave more deviantly as a result of the negative label. The stigmatized person
may find it easier to come to terms with the label rather than fight it.
Retrospective and Projective Labeling
The consequences of being stigmatized can be far-reaching. A stigma operates as a master status,
overpowering other aspects of social identity. Unfortunately, once people stigmatize an individual, they have a difficult
time changing their opinions of the labeled person, even if the label is proven to be untrue. They may also engage in
retrospective labeling, interpreting someone's past in light of some present deviance.
For example, people would likely discuss the past of someone who is labeled a 'murderer.' They might say
something like, 'He was always a violent boy.' Even if that person was no more violent than his peers, people would
re-label the actions of his youth in light of his current label.
Similarly, people may engage in projective labeling of a stigmatized person. Projective labeling is using a
deviant identity to predict future action. For example, imagine that Batman is no longer considered a hero by anyone
- instead, everyone thinks he is a dangerous criminal. The people might say something like, 'One of these days he's
going to destroy the entire city.' They are projecting by imagining what he might do in the future.
Hirschi's Control Theory
Again, the consequences of labeling can be very significant. One sociologist, Travis Hirschi, proposed that
every individual is tempted to engage in at least some deviant behavior, but the thought of likely social consequences
is enough to stop them from committing deviant acts. This is known as control theory.
Society controls criminal behavior to a certain extent. The majority of people control themselves because of
anticipation of the consequences of their behavior and the reactions of family and friends. On the other hand,
individuals who feel they have little to lose and aren't afraid of being negatively labeled are more likely to become
criminally deviant.
Lesson Summary
In summary, labeling theory is a theory that proposes that deviance is socially constructed through reaction
instead of action. According to this theory, no behavior is inherently deviant on its own but is made deviant based on
the reaction of others. Being labeled as deviant can have long-term consequences for a person's social identity.
Primary deviance, which is an initial violation of a social norm about which no inference is made regarding
a person's character, have little reaction from others and so have little effect on a person's self-concept. However,
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secondary deviance, when a person repeatedly violates a social norm, gets such a strong reaction from others that
the individual is typically shunned and excluded from certain social groups.
Once a person has been labeled by others through secondary deviance, it is common for that person to
incorporate that label into his or her own self-concept. They develop a stigma, or a powerfully negative label that
greatly changes a person's self-concept and social identity.
The consequences of being stigmatized can be far-reaching. Unfortunately, once a person is stigmatized,
other individuals have a difficult time changing their opinions of the labeled person, even if the label is proven to be
untrue. They may also engage in retrospective labeling (interpreting someone's past in light of some present
deviance) and/or projective labeling (using a deviant identity to predict future action).
The consequences of being stigmatized can even help our society by minimizing criminal deviance.
According to Travis Hirschi's control theory, every individual is tempted to engage in at least some deviant behavior,
but the thought of likely social consequences is enough to stop them from committing deviant acts.

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LESSON 7-C: Social-Conflict Theory and Crime
In this lesson, we discuss the social conflict approach to deviance, including the connection between
deviance and power as well as deviance and capitalism. We also discuss the difference between white-collar and
blue-collar crime and define corporate crime and organized crime.
Social Conflict Theory
What social patterns exist between social classes and what problems are caused by the conflict between
them? How does social class affect deviance? These are questions asked by sociologists when considering the
social conflict theory. Social conflict theory is all about inequality in society. It proposes that laws and norms reflect
the interests of powerful members of society. In other words, social order is maintained through competition and
conflict, and the 'winners' - those with the most power and the greatest economic and social resources - benefit by
taking advantage of the 'losers.' We discuss social conflict theory several times throughout this class, as it is one of
the major sociological theories of how society operates as a whole. In this lesson, though, we'll focus on what this
theory suggests about deviance.
Deviance and Power
First, the theory suggests that who or what is labeled as deviant depends on who has the most power. The
relatively small 'power elite' in our society are much less likely to carry the stigma of deviance than anyone else. Even
if they are suspected of deviant behavior, the powerful have the resources to resist deviant labels. Consider a
scenario where a rich CEO of a company and a struggling factory worker both commit the same crime. We'll say that
they were both caught in possession of illegal drugs. Which person do you imagine will be more severely punished?
It's likely that the CEO has the resources to get off lightly or at least to keep it quiet. The factory worker, on the other
hand, is likely to receive full punishment and have his criminal deviance advertised.
White-Collar vs. Blue-Collar Crime
The comparison of these two individuals leads us into a discussion about white-collar versus blue-collar
crime. These types of criminal deviance get their names from the traditional dress of the person committing that style
of crime. White-collar refers to the traditional button-up dress shirts worn by powerful businessmen, usually paired
with a tie. Blue-collar refers to the uniforms worn by average workmen in factories and shops.
So, as the name suggests, white-collar crime is committed by people of high social positions, frequently as
part of their jobs. White-collar crimes typically don't involve violence; instead, they are generally money-related and
include embezzlement, business fraud, bribery, and similar crimes. Many of these crimes go unknown to the public.
Blue-collar crime is committed by the average working American. Blue-collar crimes range from violent law-breaking
to thievery and are sometimes committed as a way to improve living conditions. They are usually highly visual and
are more likely to attract police to the scene.
Again, social conflict theory is all about inequality, so one of the most important differences between these
two types of crime is the fact that the punishment for committing them is disproportionate. For example, a more likely
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criminal scenario involving our factory worker and CEO would involve the factory worker vandalizing a local business
and the CEO committing serious fraud to avoid giving up part of his wealth. The factory worker committing vandalism
has committed a blue-collar crime. If caught, he would be fined and probably arrested, possibly even spending
several months in prison. The CEO committing fraud has committed a white-collar crime. Even if someone calls him
into question or he is caught, he would likely only receive a slap on the wrist. A government study found that, as of
2009, those actually convicted of fraud were punished with a fine yet ended up paying less than 10% of what they
owed by hiding some of their assets.
Corporate vs. Organized Crime
There are two other types of crime that run parallel to white-collar and blue-collar crime but are committed
by entire organizations instead of just individuals. Corporate crime refers to illegal action by a company or by
someone acting on its behalf. It ranges from knowingly selling faulty or unsafe products to purposely polluting the
environment. Parallel to white-collar crime, most cases of corporate crime receive little to no punishment and many
are never even known to the public.
There is also organized crime, which refers to illegal goods or services being provided by a business or
group of people. It includes selling illegal drugs, fencing stolen items, loan sharking, and more. Most people would
probably associate organized crime with the mafia. While the mafia is a good example, they are not the only criminal
organizations. Organizations that commit organized crime differ from other businesses in their heavy regular
involvement in illegal activities and their almost routine use of bribery and violence. Parallel to blue-collar crime,
those who have fewer legitimate opportunities are more likely to participate in this type of crime, and for those who
are caught, punishment can be severe.
Let's use our CEO and factory worker again as examples. The CEO is head of a company that frequently
dumps hazardous waste into a nearby lake. This example of corporate crime is usually punished through fines and/or
restitution. If incarceration is involved, sentences typically involve 12 months or less.
The factory worker is employed by a business that is being extorted by a gang that demands money from
the company for 'protection.' This is a common example of organized crime, where the gang forces someone to do
business with them. Members of criminal organizations that are convicted can receive severe punishment, spending
many years in prison.
Deviance and Capitalism
Beyond criminal deviance, social conflict theory also suggests that anyone who interferes with the operation
of capitalism is likely to be labeled as deviant. Remember, deviance includes not just criminal behavior but also any
behavior that goes against social norms. Capitalism is based on individual productive labor and private control of
wealth. Therefore, many people think anyone who does not work is somehow deviant, even if that person is
incapable of working. They also look down on anyone - particularly the poor - who threatens or steals the property of
others (especially the rich). Capitalism also depends on respect for authority figures and structure, so anyone who
resists authority or challenges the status quo is likely to be considered deviant. For example, imagine
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environmentalists protesting outside of a factory. Throughout history, protestors have been considered deviant (even
if only mildly deviant) because they fight against the status quo.
Lesson Summary
In summary, social conflict theory is all about inequality in society. It proposes that laws and norms reflect
the interests of powerful members of society. It suggests that who or what is labeled as deviant depends on who has
the most power. The relatively small 'power elite' in our society are much less likely to carry the stigma of deviance
than anyone else. For example, punishment for white-collar crime, which is committed by people of high social
positions, is much less severe than for blue-collar crime , which is committed by average working Americans,
sometimes as a way to improve living conditions.
Likewise, punishment is less severe for corporate crime, which is illegal action by a company or by
someone acting on its behalf, than for organized crime, which refers to illegal goods or services being provided by a
business or group of people. Beyond criminal deviance, social conflict theory also suggests that anyone who
interferes with the operation of capitalism - such as the unemployed or those who challenge authority or the status
quo - are also likely to be labeled as deviant.

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LESSON 7-D: Crime and Deviance in the U.S. Criminal Justice System
In this lesson, we discuss the U.S. criminal justice system and how it deals with deviant acts. We define due
process and discuss four rationales for social punishment: retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and societal
protection.
The U.S. Criminal Justice System
Crime is certainly a big part of our society, and it even dominates popular culture. How many TV shows,
movies, and books can you think of that deal with crime in one form or another? A frequent plot in these fictional
stories involves the 'good guy' crossing 'over the line' in order to bring the 'bad guy' to justice. Luckily, the good guy is
never punished for breaking the rules or laws - all is forgiven because he or she caught the bad guy.
In real life, however, the police must follow due process. This is a simple but very important concept: the
enforcers of criminal justice must operate within the boundaries of the law. This ensures fair treatment and respect of
the rights of the accused, including giving them a chance to defend themselves. Due process is part of the Bill of
Rights - it's covered in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. As such, the government and its
representatives must follow the rules to help ensure justice.
Another common scenario in so-called 'cop shows' involves a criminal that has been caught but released
due to a technicality, such as the arresting officer forgetting to read his rights. This can certainly happen in real life
because there are specific step-by-step procedures that must be followed by the criminal justice system. If even one
step is skipped, the arrest could be invalidated and the criminal escapes from punishment.
Punishment
Punishment is an extremely important concept in our society. It helps teach correct behavior to those who
are deviant. Children are punished by their parents, students by their teachers, workers by their bosses, and so on.
When it comes to criminal deviance, punishment can range from a fine to incarceration to execution. When a crime
has been committed or someone has been wronged, almost everyone believes that someone should have to 'pay.'
This is probably why cop shows are so popular - we feel a great sense of satisfaction when the guilty are punished at
the end of the episode, when justice has been served.
But why do we have such a strong desire for justice? Sociologists have identified four basic reasons why
society punishes wrongdoers: retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and societal protection.
Punishment: Retribution
The first, retribution, is punishment by which society makes the offender suffer as much as the suffering
caused by the crime. I'm sure you've heard the phrase 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' Retribution is a
punishment that is considered morally right and justly deserved. For example, the death penalty is a punishment
allowed in certain states for those who have committed atrocious crimes. It could be argued that someone who
purposely takes the life of another deserves to have his or her own life taken in return.

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A less grisly example of retribution is the idea of karma. Karma is a system of reward and punishment for
actions and intentions, where good actions and intentions reap good rewards and bad actions and intentions reap
negative consequences. Karma works through reincarnation. Our desire for retribution is appeased by the idea that a
person who is just and moral will be rewarded in the next life. Someone who is not moral will be punished in the next
life, perhaps by returning as a lower being (such as a slug).
Punishment: Deterrence
The second reason society punishes wrongdoers is deterrence, which is punishment used as an attempt to
discourage criminal deviance. This is based on the idea that people won't break the law if they think that the
punishment is too severe - they decide the behavior isn't worth it. Deterrence can be used to convince one person
that crime doesn't pay. The punishment of one person can also be used as an example to others.
For example, individuals who park in handicapped spaces, without a handicap sticker or placard, could be
fined up to five hundred dollars depending on the location. The threat of this hefty fine successfully deters many from
illegally parking. Those who decide to park illegally anyway are unlikely to do so after being caught the first time
because they don't want to pay the fine again. Their punishment also serves as a warning to others who may have
thought the law would not be enforced.
Punishment: Rehabilitation
The third reason society punishes wrongdoers is rehabilitation, which is a program for reforming the
offender to prevent later offenses. Most people would probably associate rehabilitation with an institution where drug
addicts go to sober up. After all, drug rehab is a popular storyline in popular culture, portrayed in music, TV episodes,
books, and movies. It is a good example, because this type of rehab exists to help addicts resist drugs in the future.
The basic idea behind rehabilitation is that by controlling the environment, a deviant person can be taught proper
behavior and even be motivated to act in such a way. After all, research suggests crime and other deviance are
learned through poverty and/or lack of structure or opportunity. Why can't the opposite be true?
Unlike deterrence and retribution, which simply make the offender suffer in payment for their crime,
rehabilitation promotes constructive improvement. For example, some prisons attempt to rehabilitate criminals before
they are released back into society. The prisoners are taught skills, such as carpentry, that can help them make an
honest living once released. Studies have shown that rehabilitation programs can be much more effective than
incarceration alone in minimizing repeat offenses.
Punishment: Societal Protection
Speaking of incarceration, the fourth reason society punishes wrongdoers is societal protection, which is
punishment by which the offender is removed from society. This can be temporary, through long-term imprisonment,
or it can be permanent, through execution. Either way, this punishment is used for criminals who cannot be
rehabilitated and so are removed from society completely. Others are protected because the criminals are incapable
of committing further offenses.

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The United States uses societal protection more than any other country. Even though we have less than 5%
of the world's population, we have almost 25% of the world's prisoners. This certainly illustrates our tough attitude
towards crime and our preferred use of societal protection. Yet although we seem united in our approval of locking up
criminals, we can't seem to agree on the use of capital punishment. As a hot topic for decades - some could even say
centuries - it is one punishment that may cease to exist one day.
Lesson Summary
In summary, punishment is an extremely important concept in our society and helps teach correct behavior
to those who are deviant. Unlike the delivery of punishment frequently portrayed in popular culture, police and other
enforcers of criminal justice must operate within the boundaries of the law. This is known as due process.
Sociologists have identified four basic reasons why society punishes wrongdoers: retribution, deterrence,
rehabilitation, and societal protection. Retribution is punishment by which society makes the offender suffer as much
as the suffering caused by the crime. Deterrence is punishment used as an attempt to discourage criminal deviance.
Rehabilitation is a program for reforming the offender to prevent later offenses. Societal protection is punishment by
which the offender is removed from society.

SUPPLEMENTAL READING: Christian View of Government and Law


By: Kerby Anderson
Source: http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4218175/k.66F0/Christian_View_of_Government_and_Law.htm
Christian View of Government
Government affects our lives daily. It tells us how fast to drive. It regulates our commerce. It protects us from
foreign and domestic strife. Yet we rarely take time to consider its basic function. What is a biblical view of
government? Why do we have government? What kind of government does the Bible allow?
Developing a Christian view of government is difficult since the Bible does not provide an exhaustive
treatment of government. This itself is perhaps instructive and provides some latitude for these institutions to reflect
the needs and demands of particular cultural situations. Because the Bible does not speak directly to every area of
political discussion, Christians often hold different views on particular political issues. However, Christians are not
free to believe whatever they want. Christians should not abandon the Bible when they begin to think about these
issues because there is a great deal of biblical material that can be used to judge particular political options.
The Old Testament teaches that God established government after the flood (Gen. 9:6). And the Old
Testament provides clear guidelines for the development of a theocracy in which God was the head of government.
These guidelines, however, were written for particular circumstances involving a covenant people chosen by God.
These guidelines do not apply today because our modern governments are not the direct inheritors of the promises
God made to the nation of Israel.

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Apart from that unique situation, the Bible does not propose nor endorse any specific political system. The
Bible, however, does provide a basis for evaluating various political philosophies because it clearly delineates a view
of human nature. And every political theory rests on a particular view of human nature.
The Bible describes two elements of human nature. This viewpoint is helpful in judging government
systems. Because humans are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:2627), they are able to exercise judgment and
rationality. However, humans are also fallen creatures (Gen. 3). This human sinfulness (Rom. 3:23) has therefore
created a need to control evil and sinful human behavior through civil government.
Many theologians have suggested that the only reason we have government today is to control sinful
behavior because of the Fall. But there is every indication that government would have existed even if we lived in a
sinless world. For example, there seems to be some structuring of authority in the Garden (Gen. 12). The Bible also
speaks of the angelic host as being organized into levels of authority and function.
In the creation, God ordained government as the means by which human beings and angelic hosts are
ruled. The rest of the created order is governed by instinct (Prov. 30:2428) and God's providence. Insect colonies,
for example, may show a level of order, but this is due merely to genetically controlled instinct.
Human beings, on the other hand, are created in the image of God and thus are responsible to the
commands of God. We are created by a God of order (1 Cor. 14:33); therefore we also seek order through
governmental structures.
A Christian view of government differs significantly from views proposed by many political theorists. The
basis for civil government is rooted in our created nature. We are rational and volitional beings. We are not
determined by fate, as the Greeks would have said, nor are we determined by our environment as modern
behaviorists say. We have the power of choice. Therefore we can exercise delegated power over the created order.
Thus a biblical view of human nature requires a governmental system that acknowledges human responsibility.
While the source of civil government is rooted in human responsibility, the need for government derives from
the necessity of controlling human sinfulness. God ordained civil government to restrain evil (cf. Gen. 9). Anarchy, for
example, is not a viable option because all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and are in need of external control.
Notice how a Christian view of human nature provides a basis to judge various political philosophies. For
example, Christians must reject political philosophies which ignore human sinfulness. Many utopian political theories
are based upon this flawed assumption. In The Republic, Plato proposed an ideal government where the enlightened
philosopher-kings would lead the country. The Bible, however, teaches that all are sinful (Rom. 3:23). Plato's
proposed leaders would also be affected by the sinful effects of the Fall (Gen. 3). They would not always have the
benevolent and enlightened disposition necessary to lead the republic.
Christians should also reject a marxist view of government. Karl Marx believed that human nature was
conditioned by society, and in particular, the capitalist economy. His solution was to change the economy so that you
would change human nature. Why do we have greed? Because we live in a greedy capitalist society. Marx taught
that if society changed the economy from capitalism to socialism and then communism, greed would cease.
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Christians should reject the utopian vision of marxism because it is based upon an inaccurate view of
human nature. The Bible teaches that believers can become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) through spiritual conversion,
but that does not mean that the effects of sin are completely overcome in this life. The Bible also teaches that we will
continue to live in a world tainted by sin. The view of Karl Marx contradicts biblical teaching by proposing a new man
in a new society perfected by man's own efforts.
Since civil government is necessary and divinely ordained by God (Rom. 13:17), it is ultimately under
God's control. It has been given three political responsibilities: the sword of justice (to punish criminals), the sword of
order (to thwart rebellion), and the sword of war (to defend the state).
As citizens, Christians have been given a number of responsibilities. They are called to render service and
obedience to the government (Matt. 22:21). Because it is a God-ordained institution, they are to submit to civil
authority (1 Pet. 2:1317) as they would to other institutions of God. As will be discussed later, Christians are not to
give total and final allegiance to the secular state. Other God-ordained institutions exist in society alongside the state.
Christians' final allegiance must be to God. They are to obey civil authorities (Rom.13:5) in order to avoid anarchy
and chaos, but there may be times when they may be forced to disobey (Acts 5:29).
Because government is a divinely ordained institution, Christians have a responsibility to work within
governmental structures to bring about change. Government is part of the order of creation and a minister of God
(Rom. 13:4). Christians are to obey governmental authorities (Rom. 13:14, 1 Peter 2:13-14). Christians are also to
be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:1316) in the midst of the political context.
Although governments may be guilty of injustice, Christians should not stop working for justice or cease to
be concerned about human rights. We do not give up on marriage as an institution simply because there are so many
divorces, and we do not give up on the church because of many internal problems. Each God-ordained institution
manifests human sinfulness and disobedience. Our responsibility as Christians is to call political leaders back to this
God-ordained task. Government is a legitimate sphere of Christian service, and so we should not look to government
only when our rights are being abused. We are to be concerned with social justice and should see governmental
action as a legitimate instrument to achieve just ends.
A Christian view of government should also be concerned with human rights. Human rights in a Christian
system are based on a biblical view of human dignity. A bill of rights, therefore, does not grant rights to individuals,
but instead acknowledges these rights as already existing. The writings of John Locke along with the Declaration of
Independence capture this idea by stating that government is based on the inalienable rights of individuals.
Government based on humanism, however, would not see rights as inalienable, and thus opens the possibility for the
state to redefine what rights its citizens may enjoy. The rights of citizens in a republic, for example, are articulated in
terms of what the government is forbidden to do. But in totalitarian governments, while the rights of citizens may also
be spelled out, power ultimately resides in the government not the people.
A Christian view of government also recognizes the need to limit the influence of sin in society. This is best
achieved by placing certain checks on governmental authority. This protects citizens from the abuse or misuse of
governmental power which results when sinful individuals are given too much governmental control.
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The greatest threat to liberty comes from the exercise of power. History has shown that power is a
corrupting force when placed in human hands. In the Old Testament theocracy there was less danger of abuse
because the head of state was God. The Bible amply documents the dangers that ensued when power was
transferred to a single king. Even David, a man after God's own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22), abused his power
and Israel experienced great calamity (2 Sam. 1121).
Governmental Authority
A key question in political theory is how to determine the limits of governmental authority. With the
remarkable growth in the size and scope of government in the 20th century, it is necessary to define clearly the lines
of governmental authority. The Bible provides some guidelines.
However, it is often difficult to set limits or draw lines on governmental authority. As already noted, the Old
Testament theocracy differed from our modern democratic government. Although human nature is the same, drawing
biblical principles from an agrarian, monolithic culture and applying them to a technological, pluralistic culture
requires discernment.
Part of this difficulty can be eased by separating two issues. First, should government legislate morality? We
will discuss this in the section on social action. Second, what are the limits of governmental sovereignty? The
following are a few general principles helpful in determining the limits of governmental authority.
As Christians, we recognize that God has ordained other institutions besides civil government which
exercise authority in their particular sphere of influence. This is in contrast to other political systems that see the state
as the sovereign agent over human affairs, exercising sovereignty over every other human institution. A Christian
view is different.
The first institution is the church (Heb. 12:1824; 1 Pet. 2:910). Jesus taught that the government should
work in harmony with the church and should recognize its sovereignty in spiritual matters (Matt. 22:21).
The second institution is the family (Eph. 5:2232, 1 Pet. 3:17). The family is an institution under God and
His authority (Gen.1:2628, 2:2025). When the family breaks down, the government often has to step in to protect
the rights of the wife (in cases of wife abuse) or children (in cases of child abuse or adoption). The biblical emphasis,
however, is not so much on rights as it is on responsibilities and mutual submission (Eph. 5:21).
A third institution is education. Children are not the wards of the state, but belong to God (Ps. 127:3) and are
given to parents as a gift from God. Parents are to teach their children (Deut. 4:9) and may also entrust them to tutors
(Gal. 4:2).
In a humanistic system of government, the institutions of church and family are usually subordinated to the
state. In an atheistic system, ultimately the state becomes a substitute god and is given additional power to
adjudicate disputes and bring order to a society. Since institutions exist by permission of the state, there is always the
possibility that a new social contract will allow government to intervene in the areas of church and family.

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A Christian view of government recognizes the sovereignty of these spheres. Governmental intervention into
the spheres of church and family is necessary in certain cases where there is threat to life, liberty, or property.
Otherwise civil government should recognize the sovereignty of other God-ordained institutions.
Moral Basis of Law
Law should be the foundation of any government. Whether law is based upon moral absolutes, changing
consensus, or totalitarian whim is of crucial importance. Until fairly recently, Western culture held to a notion that
common law was founded upon God's revealed moral absolutes.
In a Christian view of government, law is based upon God's revealed commandments. Law is not based
upon human opinion or sociological convention. Law is rooted in God's unchangeable character and derived from
biblical principles of morality.
In humanism, humanity is the source of law. Law is merely the expression of human will or mind. Since
ethics and morality are man-made, so also is law. Humanists' law is rooted in human opinion, and thus is relative and
arbitrary.
Two important figures in the history of law are Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) and William Blackstone
(1723-1780). Rutherford's Lex Rex (written in 1644) had profound effect on British and American law. His treatise
challenged the foundations of 17th century politics by proclaiming that law must be based upon the Bible, rather than
upon the word of any man.
Up until that time, the king had been the law. The book created a great controversy because it attacked the
idea of the divine right of kings. This doctrine had held that the king or the state ruled as God's appointed regent.
Thus, the king's word had been law. Rutherford properly argued from passages such as Romans 13 that the king, as
well as anyone else, was under God's law and not above it.
Sir William Blackstone was an English jurist in the 18th century and is famous for his Commentaries on the
Law of England which embodied the tenets of Judeo-Christian theism. Published in 1765, the Commentaries became
the definitive treatise on the common law in England and in America. According to Blackstone, the two foundations
for law are nature and revelation through the Scriptures. Blackstone believed that the fear of the Lord was the
beginning of wisdom, and thus taught that God was the source of all laws. It is interesting that even the humanist
Rousseau noted in his Social Contract that one needs someone outside the world system to provide a moral basis for
law. He said, "It would take gods to give men laws."
Unfortunately, our modern legal structure has been influenced by relativism and utilitarianism, instead of
moral absolutes revealed in Scripture. Relativism provides no secure basis for moral judgments. There are no firm
moral absolutes upon which to build a secure legal foundation.
Utilitarianism looks merely at consequences and ignores moral principles. This legal foundation has been
further eroded by the relatively recent phenomenon of sociological law. In this view, law should be based upon
relative sociological standards. No discipline is more helpless without a moral foundation than law. Law is a tool, and
it needs a jurisprudential foundation. Just as contractors and builders need the architect's blueprint in order to build,
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so also lawyers need theologians and moral philosophers to make good laws. Yet, most lawyers today are
extensively trained in technique, but little in moral and legal philosophy.
Legal justice in the Western world has been based upon a proper, biblical understanding of human nature
and human choice. We hold criminals accountable for their crimes, rather than excuse their behavior as part of
environmental conditioning. We also acknowledge differences between willful, premeditated acts (such as murder)
and so-called crimes of passion (i.e., manslaughter) or accidents.
One of the problems in our society today is that we do not operate from assumptions of human choice. The
influence of the behaviorist, the evolutionist, and the sociobiologist are quite profound. The evolutionist and
sociobiologist say that human behavior is genetically determined. The behaviorist says that human behavior is
environmentally determined. Where do we find free choice in a system that argues that actions are a result of
heredity and environment? Free choice and personal responsibility have been diminished in the criminal justice
system, due to the influence of these secular perspectives.
It is, therefore, not by accident that we have seen a dramatic change in our view of criminal justice. The
emphasis has moved from a view of punishment and restitution to one of rehabilitation. If our actions are governed by
something external, and human choice is denied, then we cannot punish someone for something they cannot control.
However, we must rehabilitate them if the influences are merely heredity and environmental. But such a view of
human actions diminishes human dignity. If a person cannot choose, then he is merely a victim of circumstances and
must become a ward of the state.
As Christians, we must take the criminal act seriously and punish human choices. While we recognize the
value of rehabilitation (especially through spiritual conversion, John 3:3), we also recognize the need for punishing
wrong-doing. The Old Testament provisions for punishment and restitution make more sense in light of the biblical
view of human nature. Yet today, we have a justice system which promotes no-fault divorce, no-fault insurance, and
continues to erode away the notion of human responsibility.

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LESSON 7-E: Social Status
Social hierarchies exist in all societies and cultures. In this lesson, we define social stratification and its
characteristics. We also discuss the difference between open and closed systems, including what differentiates a
caste from a class.
Social Stratification and Inequality
When you hear the word 'inequality,' what do you think of? Do you picture the rich versus the poor? Do you
imagine protests for equal pay between men and women? Do you think of those currently fighting for gay marriage?
Throughout history, inequality has existed in our society. It seems like some people have just always had more
wealth, power, and prestige than others.
Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy what sociologists call social stratification. Think of nobility and commoners in medieval times as an example. Those
of noble blood who lived a life of leisure were ranked far above peasants who worked off the land. Even today, some
view manual laborers as the least respected members of society, while those who are part of 'high society' are the
most respected.
Of course, our society is much more diverse than that. America is sometimes described as a kaleidoscope,
made up of a tremendous variety of people from all backgrounds. Diversity in race, religion, education, and so on can
certainly be a good thing. However, it can also lead to differences in the way people are treated and the opportunities
available to them.
For example, although we like to think that anyone can live the 'American dream' and accomplish anything,
that's not really the way it works in the real world. Those born to privilege have more opportunities to succeed and
continue being privileged, while those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds don't typically have access to the
education and types of jobs that would help to drastically improve their situation.
Social Stratification: Four Principles
Again, though, social stratification involves more than just the amount of money someone has today.
Sociologists have identified four basic principles of social stratification. First, it is a trait of society, not simply a
reflection of individual differences. Social stratification exists throughout the world - all societies have had it, since
before the dark ages. Second, it carries over from generation to generation. Status is long-term, and children are
born with the same status as their parents. Third, it is universal, but variable. Although it exists in all societies, its
structure is different based on culture and history. Fourth, it involves not just inequality, but beliefs as well. The
difference between the strata layers are often based not just on individual differences but also on the attitudes that
members of each layer have.
To illustrate these principles, imagine a town where every resident was identical in every way - they looked
the same, they had the same job, the same amount of money, and so on. The only difference was that some

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residents had blue eyes - instead of brown eyes (like everyone else). The blue-eyed residents considered
themselves better than the brown-eyed residents and were also treated as such.
For decades, the blue-eyed residents befriended and married only those who also had blue eyes. One day,
the brown-eyed residents purchased colored contacts so they could have blue eyes, too. Horrified that they were no
longer unique, the original blue-eyed residents purchased brown contacts so they would still be different and special.
Now, let's apply the four principles of social stratification. Like all societies, this town created a social
hierarchy. Status was determined by physical differences; if you had blue eyes, you were considered special. Since
the physical characteristic was determined through genetics, your status was ascribed at birth and was the same as
your parents. And, not only were blue-eyed residents different physically, they actually believed that they were better
than the brown-eyed residents.
Open vs. Closed Systems
With what we've discussed so far, it may seem like social status never changes - that you are stuck with one
status forever. This is mostly true of a closed system of social stratification, in which status is ascribed from birth. In
a closed system, there is little to no social mobility, which is a change in position within the social hierarchy.
However, in an open system of social stratification, status is achieved through merit or effort. In this
meritocracy, as it is sometimes called, social mobility is more likely. Some people move downward in social status
because of failure, disgrace, or illness. Others move horizontally, maybe switching jobs at the same level of the social
hierarchy. And, the fortunate few are able to move upward. We love stories of individuals who rise to fame from
humble beginnings, such as Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling.
Class System
The United States and the United Kingdom both use a class system, an open system of social stratification
that divides the population into separate classes whose members have different access to society's resources. There
are typically economic and cultural differences between classes. The rich, who are part of a higher class, are
sometimes described as the 'haves,' and the poor, as the 'have-nots.'
As an open system, social mobility between classes is possible through education and certain opportunities.
At times, even blood relatives may have different social standings. However, there are disadvantaged groups that
have much more difficulty changing status than others. The U.S. class system, which we'll discuss in depth in another
lesson, is broadly divided into three main layers: upper class, middle class, and lower class. Again, those in the lower
class that have come from disadvantaged backgrounds have much more difficulty moving up in society.
Caste System
In contrast with the class system, there are many societies that use the caste system, a closed system of
social stratification in which the population is divided between hereditary groups. In these cultures, birth alone
determines a person's entire future, with little to no allowance for social mobility based on individual achievement. If

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you are born into a low caste, it wouldn't matter if you cured all disease - you would still be looked down upon by
those born into a higher caste.
Typically, the societies that use the caste system are agrarian - rural and dependent on agriculture. For
example, India is almost always mentioned when discussing the caste system, because it is prevalent in their
traditional villages. There, people are dedicated to a lifelong routine of working the land and performing the same
jobs as their parents. The caste system dictates not only the type of job one can have, but also the social interactions
that are allowed. Marriage is only allowed between members of the same caste, and moving somewhere else to 'start
fresh' is not an option.
Lesson Summary
In summary, social stratification is a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy.
Sociologists have identified four basic principles of social stratification:
1. It is a trait of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences.
2. It carries over from generation to generation.
3. It is universal but variable.
4. It involves not just inequality, but beliefs as well.
It may seem like social status never changes - that you are stuck with one status forever. This is mostly true
of a closed system, in which status is ascribed from birth. In a closed system, there is little to no social mobility.
However, in an open system, status is achieved through merit or effort. In this meritocracy, as it is sometimes called,
social mobility is more likely.
For example, the United States and the United Kingdom both use a class system, an open system of social
stratification which divides the population into separate classes whose members have different access to society's
resources. Social mobility between classes is possible through education and certain opportunities.
On the other hand, rural areas of India and other agrarian societies use the caste system, a closed system
of social stratification in which the population is divided between hereditary groups. In these cultures, birth alone
determines a person's entire future, with little to no allowance for social mobility based on individual achievement.

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LESSON 7-F: American Class System and Structure: Definitions & Types of Social Classes
In this lesson, we discuss the American class system and the social stratification layers that exist within
each class. We also differentiate between income and wealth and discuss how they relate to social status.
American Class System
In a previous lesson, we discussed social stratification - a system by which society ranks categories of
people in a hierarchy. In an open system of social stratification, which is what we have, status is achieved through
merit or effort, and social mobility between classes is possible through education and certain opportunities. The
American class system is typically broadly divided into three main layers: upper class, middle class, and lower class.
They are mostly based on socioeconomic conditions. Although definitions and membership criteria aren't concrete,
these three classes offer a general understanding of what social stratification looks like in the U.S. In this lesson, we'll
discuss these three types of classes, including the layers that exist in each.
Upper Class
First, we'll start at the top of the hierarchy. Individuals who are considered to be members of the upper
class are the owners of the means of production and most of the country's private wealth. Many are important
government officials, large business owners, or top executives that have a great deal of income and/or wealth.
It is important to know the difference between income and wealth, as they are two distinct concepts. They
are also a big part of determining social status. Income is salary and/or other money that is regularly received, where
wealth is the total value of all assets, minus outstanding debts. In other words, income is what you make, and wealth
is what you have. Someone can bring in a high income without being wealthy, and can also be wealthy without
bringing in any income. For example, some people earn a large salary but spend it all on a large house, fancy cars,
travel, etc. These individuals basically live from paycheck to paycheck, and if they were to stop working, they would
quickly become destitute. On the other hand, some people earn a modest salary but are very frugal in how they
spend it - they live below their means and carefully invest anything that's left over. For some of these individuals, they
could stop working and still have enough money to live on for years.
Another example of how someone can be wealthy without an income can be seen in the most elite of the
upper class. The upper class actually has two layers: the upper-upper class and the lower-upper class. The upperupper class makes up less than one percent of the U.S. population, and membership is almost always the result of
birth. These individuals are the 'blue bloods' or 'old money' who inherit massive wealth from their family. The Queen
of England is an example, as are the Kennedy's and the Rockefeller's. These individuals have inherited enough that
they don't need to work.
On the other hand, the majority of upper class members actually fall into the lower-upper class. These are
mostly the 'working rich' or 'new money' - individuals who earn their lifestyle instead of inheriting it. Professional
athletes, actors, and successful entrepreneurs are all examples. These individuals are still wealthy - some even more
so than the individuals in the upper-upper class - but also have a high income.
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Middle Class
The next step down in the social hierarchy of the U.S. class system is the middle class, which includes
about half of the U.S. population. Most advertisements are directed towards this audience, and fictional characters in
popular culture - TV shows, movies, and books - are typically middle-class members. The greatest amount of social
mobility occurs at this level, whether it's upward, downward, or horizontal.
Like the upper class, the middle class has several layers: upper-middle, average-middle, and lower-middle.
Upper-middles are those who earn above-average salaries, and typically live in fairly expensive houses in nice
neighborhoods. Almost all of them are college graduates, and many go on to highly prestigious white-collar jobs doctors, lawyers, businessmen, local politicians, and so on.
The center layer of the middle class is the average-middle, and the family income at this level is roughly the
national average. Members typically work at less prestigious white-collar jobs - managers, teachers, office workers,
and so on. Most are college graduates.
The lower-middle class is also called the working class, and it's the bottom layer at this level. They typically
have blue-collar jobs, such as police officers, electricians, truck drivers, plumbers, factory workers, and more. They
earn slightly less than the national average.
Lower Class
The remainder of the population makes up the lower class, which includes those who lack money and/or
the means to meet basic needs. They have low-prestige jobs and extremely low income, if they have any at all. For
the most part, society tends to look down on and segregate the lower class, especially those who are also part of
minority groups.
The lower class is divided into two layers: the upper-lower and the lower-lower class. The upper-lower class
is also known as the working poor. Members of this class typically have a low educational level, are not highly skilled,
and work minimum-wage jobs. They have very little to no job security, and are either right at or below the poverty line.
Finally, the lowest position in the social class hierarchy is the underclass - the lower-lower class. Here,
norms and values are formed that typically differ drastically from the rest of society. The underclass is characterized
by extreme poverty, joblessness, homelessness, crime, violence, and so on.
Lesson Summary
In summary, the American class system of social stratification is broadly divided into three main layers upper class, middle class, and lower class - that are mostly based on socioeconomic conditions. It's important to
recognize the difference between income and wealth when discussing our class system. Income is salary and/or
other money that is regularly received, where wealth is the total value of all assets, minus outstanding debts. In other
words, income is what you make, and wealth is what you have.
Each main class can be divided into several layers. The upper class are the owners of the means of
production and most of the country's private wealth and can be divided into the upper-upper class and the lowerCHAPTER 7: Diversity in Society

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upper class. The upper-upper class members are the 'blue bloods' or 'old money,' who inherit massive wealth from
their family. The majority of upper class members actually fall into the lower-upper class. These are mostly the
'working rich' or 'new money' - individuals who earn their lifestyle instead of inheriting it.
The middle class, which includes about half of the U.S. population, can be divided into three layers: uppermiddle, average-middle, and lower-middle. Upper-middles are those who earn above-average salaries, and many
have highly prestigious white-collar jobs. At the average-middle layer, family income is roughly the national average
and members typically work at less prestigious white-collar jobs. The lower-middle class is also called the working
class. Members typically have blue-collar jobs and earn slightly less than the national average.
The lower class, which includes those who lack money and/or the means to meet basic needs, can be
divided into two layers: the upper-lower and the lower-lower class. The upper-lower class is also known as the
working poor. Members of this class typically have a low educational level, are not highly skilled, and work minimumwage jobs. Finally, the lowest position in the social class hierarchy is the underclass - the lower-lower class. The
underclass is characterized by extreme poverty, joblessness, homelessness, crime, violence, and so on.

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LESSON 7-G: Social Mobility: Intragenerational vs. Intergenerational & Vertical vs. Horizontal
In our society, some individuals and families experience drastic changes in social status and lifestyle. In this
lesson, we define social mobility and discuss different types, including intragenerational, intergenerational, vertical,
and horizontal mobility.
Social Mobility Definition
Are you currently attending college? If so, do you expect your degree to help you reach your career goals and
hopefully make more money? Do you ever fantasize of landing that dream job with a high salary that would greatly
improve your lifestyle? If so, you would certainly not be alone. Many dream of improving socioeconomic conditions,
which, in turn, can also improve social status.
In other lessons, we've discussed social stratification - a system by which society ranks categories of people in a
hierarchy. We've also discussed the American class system and the differences between upper, middle, and lower
class. We are fortunate enough to live in a society with an open system of social stratification - that is, with the right
opportunity, we have the ability to 'move up' in society and become a member of a different social class. We aren't
necessarily stuck with the social status with which we were born. This is known as social mobility, a change in
position within the social hierarchy.
Vertical vs. Horizontal Social Mobility
Earning a college degree or professional certification, landing a higher-paying job, or marrying someone who is
wealthy can help someone move up the social ladder. We also have the 'American dream' - we love stories of people
who rise from rags to riches, and we continue promoting the idea that anyone can succeed with the right opportunity.
Of course, there is also downward social mobility - losing a job, dropping out of school, or being publicly disgraced
may contribute to being knocked down a rung. Upward and downward social mobility are both types of vertical
mobility, a change in position between social levels. A factory worker who becomes a wealthy entrepreneur
experiences significant vertical mobility, moving upward through the ranks of the social hierarchy. Although he started
as part of the working class, he ended up as part of the upper class. In reality, it is rare for someone to jump that far
on the social ladder.
Horizontal mobility, a change in position at the same social level, is actually much more common than vertical
mobility. It is almost always the result of changing occupations within the same social class. A nurse who leaves one
hospital to take a position as a nurse at another hospital and a manager who accepts a similar position at another
company are both experiencing horizontal mobility. Although they have changed jobs, they remain at their same level
within the social hierarchy.
Intragerational vs. Intergenerational
Sociologists study not only the actual change in social position, but also the amount of time the change takes to
occur. There are both shorter- and longer-term changes in social status. So far, we've been talking about
intragenerational mobility, which is a change in social position that occurs during a person's lifetime. Someone who
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achieves the American dream, climbing several rungs on the social ladder through some achievement, has
experienced a change in social status over a relatively short amount of time.
On the other hand, intergenerational mobility is a change in social position that occurs over multiple generations.
This is social mobility of children in relation to their parents. Adults are most likely to be part of the same occupational
or income category as their parents, experiencing only horizontal mobility. If a family does experience vertical
mobility, the change usually happens in incremental steps instead of jumping from the bottom to the top of the ladder.
For example, the child of a factory worker might become a factory supervisor. The child of a factory supervisor might
become an executive in the company. At this point, the family has moved up a level in the social hierarchy over a
relatively longer period of time.
Intergenerational mobility reveals that long-term changes in society can affect an individual's way of life and social
status. When the economy itself is growing, there is an abundance of opportunities for social mobility.
Industrialization, increases in education, and technological advances have allowed many Americans to improve their
social status and find higher-paying jobs than their parents. As the economy declines, however, so do opportunities.
Today's recession, for example, severely limits the opportunities for upward mobility.
Lesson Summary
In summary, Americans live in a society with an open system of social stratification - we are able to
experience a change in position within the social hierarchy, which is known as social mobility. An individual can
experience vertical mobility, a change in position between social levels, moving up or down the social ladder.
However, it's much more common to experience horizontal mobility, a change in position at the same social level,
which is almost always the result of changing occupations within the same social class.
Sociologists study not only the actual change in social position, but also the amount of time the change
takes to occur. Intragenerational mobility, which is a change in social position which occurs during a person's
lifetime, is a relatively short-term change. This is when an individual works his or her way up the social ladder.
Intergenerational mobility, which is a change in social position which occurs over multiple generations, is a relatively
long-term change. This is when a family gradually changes social position, and each generation acts as a building
block for the next.

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LESSON 7-H: Poverty in the United States
Today, a significant number of Americans suffer from poverty. In this lesson, we define and discuss the
difference between relative poverty and absolute poverty. We also examine the populations that are most at risk.
Poverty
If you live in or near a large city, it's likely you have seen or interacted with the extremely poor. There's no
denying that a significant portion of our population could be called 'needy.' And even though we have numerous
government programs and charities that attempt to fight extreme poverty, it can sometimes seem like we're fighting a
never-ending battle.
Poverty is a significant part of our society, but there isn't just one definition of poverty that fits all poor
people. Poverty can look different between cultures and affect people in different ways. Let's discuss two significant
definitions of poverty and which populations are most at risk.
Relative Poverty
First, relative poverty is when people are poor relative to those around them. For example, someone who
lives in an expensive subdivision yet rents a run-down house and does not own luxurious things could be considered
poor compared to the rest of the neighborhood. For the most part, poverty is relative and socially defined. Compared
to people starving in third-world countries, even many poor Americans are well-off. The impoverished that live in the
inner city may have the same amount of money as those who live in rural areas, but since the cost of living is so high,
those in the inner city may be worse off. At the same time, though, those in the inner city may also have access to
more resources.
Because of relativity and the lack of concrete numbers, it's difficult to reach a consensus when it comes to
identifying the poor. So in order to develop a clearer picture of poverty in the United States, the government has
calculated an official poverty line, and the number is adjusted each year for inflation. Any family that falls below the
poverty line is recognized as impoverished. As of 2012, the poverty line in the continental U.S. was set at $11,170 for
a one-person household.
The use of the poverty line is controversial, as it does not take into account a number of factors, such as
regional differences in the cost of living, benefits such as food stamps and school lunches, and more. It also lumps
together those who have almost nothing with those who are struggling but managing to get by.
Absolute Poverty
Regardless, the poverty line does give us a way to identify those most in need. Most that fall below it suffer
from absolute poverty, which is when people do not have enough money to purchase what is needed for survival.
Where relative poverty sees inequality of income, absolute poverty sees families go hungry, live in inadequate
housing, suffer from lack of health care, and possibly not have access to safe drinking water.
It is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans - that's more than 16% of our entire population - live in
absolute poverty as of 2012. These individuals have great difficulty improving their living situation, as poverty can be
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a self-perpetuating cycle. Children in impoverished families are at an extreme disadvantage when seeking
employment; in turn, the lack of stable employment ensures continued poverty.
Populations at Risk
Although no single definition of poverty fits all poor people, certain categories of people in America are
more likely to experience poverty than others. First, children are the most likely age group to live in poverty. It's
common for impoverished households to have multiple children, so resources must be divided between them. And
again, these children are likely to grow up and remain poor, having children of their own and restarting the cycle.
Just a generation ago, the elderly were the most likely to suffer from poverty. However, the elderly have
benefited greatly from retirement programs, social security, and Medicare. Besides age groups, there are also race
and ethnicity groups that are more likely to experience poverty. African Americans top the list, closely followed by
Hispanics. African Americans are almost three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to live in poverty.
Poverty rates are also highest among families headed by single mothers. In fact, the feminization of
poverty continues to be experienced in the U.S. and refers to the tendency of women to increasingly make up a
larger proportion of the poor. In the last thirty years or so, the proportion of families living in poverty that are headed
by women has grown to more than fifty percent. And the majority of these women are also African-American women.
Lesson Summary
In summary, poverty is a significant part of our society. Relative poverty is when people are poor relative
to those around them. For the most part, poverty is relative and socially defined. Because of this, and in order to
develop a clearer picture of poverty in the U.S., the government has calculated an official poverty line, which is
adjusted each year for inflation. Most that fall below it suffer from absolute poverty, which is when people do not
have enough money to purchase what is needed for survival. Although no single definition of poverty fits all poor
people, certain categories of people in America are more likely to experience poverty than others, including children,
African-Americans, and women.

SUPPLEMENTAL READING: Major Flaws of Liberation Theology


By: J. Ronald Blue, Professor of World Missions, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas
Source: Bibliotheca Sacra 147:585 (Jan 1990)

Liberation theology is one of the most significant movements springing from contemporary Latin America.
What began among a few Latin theologians has grown into a recognized movement with influence all over the world.
From the earliest expressions of the liberation theme by missionary Richard Schaull in 1955, the liberation motif
appeared with increasing frequency in a number of progressive Roman Catholic councils and ecumenical
conferences in the 1960s. It gained widespread recognition at the second Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM
II) in Medelln, Colombia in 1968.
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Liberation Theology is a new way of doing theology that radically challenges traditional concepts and
practices. Liberationists propose to free man from all that enslaves him socially, economically, and politically through
peaceful protest or, if necessary, through revolutionary violence. While the social conditions that prompted the birth of
liberation theology can be verified, the liberationist solutions need to be challenged. There are several major flaws in
the proposed liberation cures.
Conditions in Latin America
The social frame of reference for liberation theology lies in the reality of poverty. Liberationism is rooted in
the struggle to free people oppressed by unjust economic structures. As Carlos Fuentes has declared: South of your
border, my North American friends, lies a continent in revolutionary fermenta continent that possesses immense
wealth and nevertheless lives in misery and a desolation you have never known and barely imagined. The poverty,
illiteracy, and hunger in Latin America are undisputed facts.
Poverty
Of Latin Americas 400 million people, 60 percent are reported to have incomes of less than $50 a year, and
another 30 percent earn between $50 and $190 a year. This means 90 percent of the people have incomes below
the subsistence level.
An evident tension exists between these poor masses struggling for survival and the privileged elite who control
the power structure comprised of large landowners, industrialists, professionals, bureaucrats, and the military and
religious leaders. It is the power elite who primarily benefit from any economic advance in Latin America. The top 10
percent eat 41 percent of the meat and get 44 percent of the clothes, half the electric appliances, 74 percent of the
furniture, and 85 percent of the motor vehicles.
These statistics, however, do not adequately portray the overwhelming burden that poverty inflicts on the
individuals caught in its grasp. Mooneyham turns from abstract statistical analysis to specific reality in the case of
Juan Daz, a coffee worker in El Salvador.
He and three of his five daughters spend long, hard days in the coffee fields of Montenango.
On a good day, Juan picks enough coffee to earn $1.44; his daughters make a total of $3.35. With
$1.24 of these wages, Juan and his wife, Paula, are able to feed their family for one day. In bad
times, Juan and his daughters make as little as $.56 a dayless than half the money they need
just to eat.
At the end of the six-week coffee season, Juan does odd jobs around the haciendaprovided
there is work to be done. He can earn about $.90 there for an eight-hour day. Paula de Daz
supplements her husbands earnings by working in the market. When people have enough money
to purchase the tomatoes, cabbages and other home-grown vegetables she sells, Paula can make
about $.40 a day.
The hacienda provides a simple dwelling for the Daz family, but no modern facilities. Candles are
used for light, water has to be hauled from a well, and furnishings consist of little more than a table
and some chairs. Aside from a dress and shoes for each of the girls during the coffee season, the
family has not been able to buy much else in the last five years. Whatever money doesnt go for
food is spent for visits to the health clinic ($.40 each time), the high interest on bills at the company
store, expenses for the children in school, and for the burial of Juans father, who died last year.
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You know, I look forward to a better life for my children, Juan says. I dream that if it is possible
if I can possibly afford itmy children will not follow in my footsteps, that they will break out of
this terrible way of life. But the money problems we face every day blot out those dreams. I feel
bad, nervous, I dont sleep nights worrying about how Ill get something for them to eat. I think and
think but dont find any answers. I work hard; my wife and daughters do, too. We all do. But still we
suffer. Why?
The nagging question, why, demands an answer. This is not a case of poverty from indolence. In spite of all the
hard work, this family remains trapped in a seemingly hopeless state of poverty. The case of Juan Daz is the case of
millions all over Latin America.
Illiteracy
Related to poverty is illiteracy. The problem of illiteracy contributes to the problems of underdevelopment. It
accompanies and has a bearing on undernourishment, disease, and all kinds of economic and cultural problems.
In Guatemala almost two-thirds of the people are unable to read and write. In most of Latin America, the number
of illiterates is rising more rapidly than schools can be built and staffed with teachers. Millions of children move
toward adulthood without any instruction at all. Others enroll in the primary grades and drop out without ever learning
to read or write. In rural Latin America and in the mushrooming slum areas of Latin Americas cities, it is a rare child
who is privileged to complete the sixth grade. In many countries it is the sixth-grade graduate who then becomes the
teacher in the faltering educational system.
Poverty and population factors contribute to the problem. The countries with the least to spend on education and
literacy usually have the highest birth rates. Funds are in short supply. In a rapidly growing population the ratio of
trained teachers to school-age children often decreases. As a result, many governments once committed to universal
education have quietly abandoned this objective.
The lack of minimal educational opportunities only adds to the inequalities between the wealthy and poorer sections
of society. In many cases Latin Americas so-called elite are in power simply because only the elite are educated.
A nation that is largely illiterate can hardly be strong. Literacy is essential for those who would improve their quality of
life, achieve social mobility and dignity, and participate in community affairs. Economic poverty is clearly related to
educational poverty, and Latin America suffers from both maladies. Poverty and illiteracy yield a third and perhaps
even more distressing problem: inadequate nutrition.
Hunger
Poverty and illiteracy produce hungry people, and hunger is widespread and persistent in Latin America. It
affects a vast majority of the population and continues to plague increasing numbers. McGovern reports, Most of the
people in Latin America go hungry. An estimated two-thirds of the population are undernourished.
With so many of the people of Latin America suffering malnutrition, it is difficult to make any progress. A vicious
cycle puts the continent into a tailspin. Undernourished people are not usually healthy people; weak, ailing people are
not usually productive people; and unproductive people are not usually prosperous people. The result is more poor
people suffering greater malnutrition. And the cycle continues to abysmal proportions. Hunger produces poverty,
poverty produces hunger, and in many cases poverty and hunger conspire in the tragic finality of death.
In Latin America, malnutrition is said to be the primary or contributing cause in more than half of all deaths of
children. In 1988 the infant mortality rate of Latin America was about six times that of North America. While only 10

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babies out of a thousand died before they reached one year of age in North America, 57 out of a thousand infants
died in Latin America.10
In spite of these disturbing statistics of infant mortality, the population of Latin America continues to explode, often
adding to the problems of poverty and malnutrition. The number of mouths to feed increases while the resources
necessary to feed them do not increase. While the population of North America, at its present rate of growth, would
take 99 years to double, Latin Americas population would double in only 32 years. The 429 million people in Latin
America in 1988 have been projected to swell to more than 711 million by the year 2020. Latin America is adding
four times as many people to its population each year as North America. Mexico alone is adding more people than
are the United States and Canada together.12
This rapid population growth only aggravates the situation in Latin America. The quality of life continues to
decline for the majority of people who are caught in the throes of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger.
Liberation Theology
Liberation theologians of Latin America address the pressing problems that plague their continent. The prevailing
poverty, widespread illiteracy, and increasing malnutrition are realities that must be challenged. Little wonder
Gutirrez exclaims, To characterize Latin America as a dominated and oppressed continent naturally leads one to
speak of liberation and above all to participate in the process.
There is no question about Latin Americas severe economic problems. The situation in which the continent finds
itself is fact. No one can deny it or dispute it. The point of inquiry revolves around the cause and cure for Latin
Americas economic crisis. Liberation theologians are in general agreement both on the underlying reasons for the
prevailing economic inequities in Latin America and on what they propose as the most viable solution to those
problems. Both in their analysis and in their answers, liberation theologians are deeply indebted to Marxism.
Salvadoran theologian N-ez writes,
No one can fail to notice that Marxist thought exerts a powerful influence on liberation
theology. And the exponents of liberation theology do not try to hide that influence. On the contrary
they seem to pride themselves on the use they make of Marxism both for social analysis and for
the action they propose to transform the structures of Latin American society.
The stark reality of need in Latin America provides the setting for the Marxist solutions advocated by liberation
theology. The rich are few but powerful, while the poor are plentiful and in most cases pitiably exploited. As DeKoster
so poignantly expresses it, The wealthy live in unimaginable splendor, and the poor in unimaginable squalor. It
does not take exceptional intelligence or special emotional sensitivity to recognize something is wrong.
Proposed Solutions
From the undeniable crisis that Latin America is experiencing socially, economically, politically, and religiously,
one must turn to the proposed solutions. It is only right to commend liberation theologians for their deep concern for
the people of their continent and for their strong commitment to provide a cure for the ills of their society, but it is
equally right to question their diagnosis of the ailments and their proposed cure. To administer the wrong treatment
might make the patient only worse. If the diagnosis is wrong, the prescription could be erroneous. And if the
prescription is faulty, the cure could be deadly.
There are four grave problems in the health of Latin America that liberation theology proposes to cure. In some
cases the liberationist prescription needs to be withdrawn and an entirely new one written. In other cases an

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alteration or addition is needed. In all cases, however, there seems to be something lacking. There are major flaws in
each of the prescriptions liberationists have written.
Injustice
What is to be done about never-ending injustices that deny the most basic rights of people and negate the
dignity of human beings?
Every person deserves the respect and honor due him. Vatican II expresses it well, Coming down to practical
and particularly urgent consequences, this Council lays stress on reverence for man. The Vatican framers go on to
clarify their position:
Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, euthanasia, or willful
self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments
inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as
subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of
women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere
tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like
are infamies indeed.
The infamies so eloquently denounced above are the very injustices that continue to plague Latin America. Certainly
it is only fair to say that people caught in the throes of such bondage deserve better.
Liberation theology came into being primarily to address these ills. As Sanders put it, Liberation theology is an
ethical theology that grew out of social awareness and the desire to act. It is a clear attempt to relate theological
perspectives to ethical responsibility for the complex problems in Latin America.
Gutirrez concurs that the task of contemporary theology is to elucidate the current state of these problems,
drawing with sharper lines the terms in which they are expressed. He then places man at the center of the solution
for these problems. Liberation theologians advance a revived humanism in the cure for the continued problems of
injustice. They conclude that since man caused the problems of injustice man must provide the solutions.
They seem to ignore the thought of any kind of divine intervention in the curative process. The divinity developed
in liberation theology is the divinity to be found in all mankind. The stress is clearly if not almost exclusively on a
horizontal plane. Through social revolution driven by love, albeit at times violent love, man is to attack injustice and
establish a new society and become a new man. Liberation theology begins with man and ends with man. The strong
core of humanism is undeniable.
Herein lies a grave danger in the proposed solution to injustice. Liberation theology has overlooked the creative
force of the transcendent Deity. Without God and His transforming power it is doubtful that any lasting change can be
realized in society. The alienation between human beings reflects their alienation from God. Humanistic attempts at
reform fall short of the mark. Man needs more than a change of clothes; he needs a change of heart.
Most liberationists conclude that God is in every man. It is curious to note that in Gutirrez three-step argument
to support this conclusion, he uses biblical references to underline two stepsthat God was in Christ and is in the
Christianbut he has no reference for the third and final stepthat God is in all men. The reason is simple. There is
no such biblical reference.
The liberationists concern for the injustices in society is admirable, but to contend that society can be
transformed solely through naturalistic forces is at best misguided if not naive. Social sin is, after all, simply a

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conglomerate of personal sin. Society does not commit acts of torture, murder, and rape. People do. Therefore
society can only be changed when people are changed.
Liberationists would do well to infuse a little more theology of redemption into their theology of liberation. In the
focus on man, the theologian need not lock out God. In placing man at the center of the stage, there is no need to
turn out the lights. The spotlights from the upper gallery may be the only way anyone will be able to see his way
around the obstacles and put order to the action on stage. Better yet, the light from above needs to become a light
within. This will be done only by divine intervention not by humanistic efforts.
In the attempt to seek new answers for the injustices of Latin America, liberationists would do well to turn back to
some of the old themes found in the Bible. The good news of the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to suffer the ultimate
injustice of death on the cross to pay the penalty for mans sin and to thereby offer new life, eternal life, is still the
best news of all. Through supernaturally redeemed men and women, perhaps society can be relieved from so much
injustice.
Inequity
For liberationists there is no injustice so devastating and debilitating as the injustice of poverty. The gross
inequity between the rich and the poor is of major concern. The focal point in most liberation theology writings is the
cause of the poor. Julio de Santa Ana declares: Whenever theology takes a prophetic stance, it has to take
cognizance of sociological reflection. Similarly, the biblical proclamation leads us to a basic option for the poor.
Everyone agrees that poverty is a severe problem. Vatican II sounded a clear call:
Some nations with a majority of citizens who are counted as Christians have an abundance of this worlds goods,
while others are deprived of the necessities of life and are tormented with hunger, disease, and every kind of misery.
This situation must not be allowed to continue. Not all agree, however, on the cause of poverty. Fewer still agree on
the cure.
Liberationists have chosen to follow the theories espoused by Karl Marx. Poverty is the result of a class society,
they say, and people are poor because others are rich. Or to put it more bluntly, the liberation theologians to the
south contend that Latin America is poor because the United States is rich. Capitalism is the culprit. Gutirrez says,
There can be authentic development for Latin America only if there is liberation from the domination exercised by the
great capitalist countries, and especially by the most powerful, the United States of America.
The Marxist solution follows the Marxist diagnosis. If the poor are poor because the rich are rich (the
dependency theory), and the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer (the gap theory), it is clear that
the poor are good and the rich are evil (the dualism theory). The solution is to revolt against the evil rich, take what
they have, and give it to the poor. It is a glorified Robin Hood approach to economics.
It is far too simplistic to blame capitalism for poverty, and specifically to blame the United States for the poverty
in Latin America. Marxist theories lead people to some irrational conclusions. There are multiplied factors responsible
for the tragic poverty that exists in Latin America. Latin America was built on a weak foundation of conquest and
feudalism. By contrast, the United States was built on a foundation of colonizers and free enterprise. The structures
that have emerged and the inequities between them are far more likely the result of the contrasting foundations than
they are of subsequent exploitation.
This is not to excuse the exploitation that has occurred. It is the greed and graft, the exploitation that must be
attacked, not the so-called evil system of capitalism. Greed, graft, and exploitation are as evident in socialistic
countries as they are in capitalistic countries. The greatest flaw in Marxist theory is that it stops with the system and
never reaches the heart of the matterindividual ethics.
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Marx rejected the authoritative source that can provide the needed ethical standards to make any system workthe
Bible. He declared that he would take a scientific approach to the inequities evident in society. By scientific Marx
meant naturalistic. Darwin, Freud, and Dewey all used the term in the same way. Scientific does not mean that the
hypothesis will be verified by empirical facts. On the contrary, the theories are proposed without any tests or evidence
and are declared scientific only because they are naturalistic. They are stripped of any supernatural influence.
Liberationists would do well to interpret Marx in light of the Bible rather than interpret the Bible through the
teachings of Marx. One of the few places where the high ideals of Marx have been achieved was in the early church.
Class and racial barriers were broken down (Rom 10:12) and believers shared all things (Acts 2:44). But this was not
achieved through a revolution in which the empire was destroyed, the rich landholders of Rome were exterminated,
and a dictatorship of the proletariat was established instead. The only violence recorded was that of authorities
against the growing band of Christians. Marx had an admirable goal, but the process he proposed is neither scientific
nor scriptural, and therefore will fail.
Instead of condemning biblical exegesis as an exegesis of the dominant class and calling for a reinterpretation
of the Bible from the viewpoint of the poor, liberationists need to realize the Bible speaks with equal force to rich and
poor. Instead of isolating its attack to economic systems, as does Marx, the Bible gets down to the source of the
problemspersonal ethics and human character. For example the Bible neither condones nor condemns slavery
(though by inference it opposes slavery). Rather than attack the system of slavery, the Bible attacks the sins in
slaverythe sins of brutality, disrespect, and mistreatment on the part of the owner and the sins of hatred, dishonor,
and indolence on the part of the slave. Better yet, the Bible instructs the owner to treat the slave with care and
concern as though he were a son, and it encourages the slave to work with dignity and diligence as unto the Lord
(see the Book of Philemon). The solution for Latin Americas poverty is not to be found in capitalism or socialism. The
solution is to be found in a growing number of productive citizens who treat one another with dignity and respect.
Instead of championing capitalism or, as does liberation theology, a Marxist-inspired socialism, one should champion
increased production and equitable distribution.
It is clear that absolute economic freedom fails to establish sufficient justice to make it morally viable. It is also clear
that consistent socialization or even regulation of property unduly maximizes political power, replaces self-regulating
tendencies in the market with bureaucratic decisions, and tends to destroy the initiative which helped to create
modern technical efficiency. The solution is simply liberty and justice for all. There must be freedom to produce and
justice to constrain inordinate greed and economic power.
In their sincere attempt to help the poor, liberationists are making the situation in Latin America worse.
Liberationists have given legitimacy to guerilla movements that have caused many Latin American countries to be
further destabilized (part of the Marxist process) and their economies further eroded.
Liberationists adherence to Marxist theories as a solution to the economic inequities that plague Latin America
has led them to a position that is imbalanced and therefore ineffective. They should not so quickly have abandoned
biblical authority. While the Bible condemns ill-gotten gain and the exploitation of the poor, it highly commends those
who are generous and promises material blessing to the righteous. God is Creator of both rich and poor and He
desires for all a lifestyle that is neither mired in poverty nor choked in wealth. The Bible provides a balance that
Marxism cannot achieve.
Insecurity
An essential element in liberation theology is hope. While it is a theology born out of a critical reflection on the
present, it is directed almost exclusively toward the future. It is proposed as the best answer to the identity crisis that
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prevails in Latin America. It supposedly gives purpose and meaning to life through political aspirations for a new
society in which people can develop to their fullest potential. They will at last be free from uncertainty and insecurity.
Gutirrez stresses the hope factor: Hope thus emerges as the key to human existence oriented towards the future,
because it transforms the present. This ontology of what is not yet is dynamic, in contrast to the static ontology of
being, which is incapable of planning history. This dynamic of hope assumes a concrete utopic function, says
Gutirrez, mobilizing human action in history.27
There is a strong element of utopianism in liberation theology. The focus on man and his great potential (humanism)
through the Marxist lens of socialist theory (Marxism) has led liberation theologians to project a society governed with
justice and perfect harmony (utopianism). Liberationists challenge their readers to remove the shackles of uncertainty
and insecurity and to forge ahead to build a new society, to establish the kingdom of God on earth.
By adhering so strongly to an earthly, man-wrought, political utopia to be achieved through historical praxis,
liberationists neglect or even deny the eternal, God-wrought heavenly kingdom to be established through divine
intervention. While liberationists may feel that talk of heaven or some future messianic kingdom is illusive and
unscientific, their proposals for a utopia in which all men will share their possessions freely and where justice will
prevail seems even more illusive and unrealistic. What Thomas More has written in parody, liberationists have
proposed as fact. The no place (utopia stems from Greek words for no place) island created in the imagination of
More has become the new place goal of liberation theology. Idealism can provide direction but it can also project
catastrophic, unattainable goals.
In the strong pursuit of historic utopianism, liberationists have turned their backs on eternal reality. The insecurity
and the search for identity among the masses in Latin America may be stirred into political action by the promise of
utopia, but their hopes will be shattered when their utopia turns out to be a repressive dictatorship or an unrestricted
anarchy. Dreams can often turn into nightmares. Liberation theology has again emerged with an imbalance. The
strong dose of human hope in a political utopia needs to be tempered and thus enhanced by the divine hope of an
everlasting kingdom, the biblical hope that extends beyond time and the limitations of historical praxis and human
frailty.
Iniquity
Only in the realm of religious experience and theological constructs do cultural, economic, and political proposals
find ultimate meaning. Liberation theology is, above all, theology. Liberationists are not attempting to propose a new
ideology for liberation; they present a theology of liberation. With sincere pastoral concern, most liberation
theologians try to lead the church to see the relevance of religion in a society that is all too often filled with injustice,
oppression, and corruption.
Actually the problems of injustice, inequity, and insecurity are by-products of a deeper social problem called sin.
Iniquity abounds, and where iniquity abounds other destructive elements run rampant. The problem is clear:
Theologically, this situation of injustice and oppression is characterized as a sinful situation because where this
social peace does not exist, there we will find social, political, economic, and cultural inequalities. At the heart of the
inequalities and injustices of society is the theological question of ethics.
While they recognize the problem of personal as well as social sin, almost all liberationists focus on social sin.
Miranda decries the sin incarnated in social structures which by no means is reducible to the sum of individual sins.
Liberationists develop what Scott concludes is the thoroughly biblical notion that sin is not only individual and private
but also institutional and public.31

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In the strong attack on social sin, there has been a concomitant tendency to excuse personal sin. In the attempt
to draw all men into a common cause against societal injustice and to create an ecumenical climate to unite diverse
religious groups, liberation theologians advocate a universalistic approach in their solutions. All men are called to join
in the battle. Even atheists are included in the universal family, a family of God that is said to help curb social sin
and to bring about perfect harmony. Liberationists claim that iniquity must be purged from society through the joint
effort of mankind.
The proposal sounds admirable, but in the pursuit of social equality through holistic universalism, individual
iniquity seems to go unnoticed. Universalism is an attractive whitewash treatment, but the rust of sin keeps seeping
through. Liberation based on universalism and ecumenicalism is cosmetic and temporal. It does not provide a lasting
freedom from iniquity. Society will be changed as men are changed and the change needed is internal, not external.
By adhering so strongly to universalism, liberation theology neglects the uniqueness of the church and the
redemptive liberty granted to each individual who is a part of the true church. The revolution so earnestly sought in
society and the renewal desired in the church might best be accomplished as greater numbers of people in the
society and church experience the revolution of new birth and the renewal of a new life.
The problem is clear: Theologically, this situation of injustice and oppression is characterized as a sinful
situation because where this social peace does not exist, there we will find social, political, economic, and cultural
inequalities. At the heart of the inequalities and injustices of society is the theological question of ethics.
While they recognize the problem of personal as well as social sin, almost all liberationists focus on social sin.
Miranda decries the sin incarnated in social structures which by no means is reducible to the sum of individual sins.
Liberationists develop what Scott concludes is the thoroughly biblical notion that sin is not only individual and private
but also institutional and public.31
In the strong attack on social sin, there has been a concomitant tendency to excuse personal sin. In the attempt
to draw all men into a common cause against societal injustice and to create an ecumenical climate to unite diverse
religious groups, liberation theologians advocate a universalistic approach in their solutions. All men are called to join
in the battle. Even atheists are included in the universal family, a family of God that is said to help curb social sin
and to bring about perfect harmony. Liberationists claim that iniquity must be purged from society through the joint
effort of mankind.
The proposal sounds admirable, but in the pursuit of social equality through holistic universalism, individual
iniquity seems to go unnoticed. Universalism is an attractive whitewash treatment, but the rust of sin keeps seeping
through. Liberation based on universalism and ecumenicalism is cosmetic and temporal. It does not provide a lasting
freedom from iniquity. Society will be changed as men are changed and the change needed is internal, not external.
By adhering so strongly to universalism, liberation theology neglects the uniqueness of the church and the
redemptive liberty granted to each individual who is a part of the true church. The revolution so earnestly sought in
society and the renewal desired in the church might best be accomplished as greater numbers of people in the
society and church experience the revolution of new birth and the renewal of a new life.
All the political theologies, the theologies of hope, of revolution, and of liberation, are not worth one act of
genuine solidarity with exploited social classes. They are not worth one act of faith, love, and hope, committedin
one way or anotherin active participation to liberate man from everything that dehumanizes him and prevents him
from living according to the will of the Father.
Whatever the analysis one makes and irrespective of the solutions one proposes, every person must heed
Gutierrez challenge to act on behalf of those in need. This is the will of the Father. True liberation, however, can only
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come through the touch of the Father. It behooves every believer to follow the Masters example and preach good
news to the poor and proclaim freedom for the prisoners and the oppressed (Luke 4:1819). Gods good news
will always do more than mans good works. Redemptive theology is the answer to the flaws of liberation theology.

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LESSON 7-I: Global Stratification Definition: Differences in Income Levels and Poverty
In this lesson, we define global stratification and discuss how nations are stratified. We discuss the outdated
three-world model as well as the current differences between high-income, middle-income, and low-income
countries.
Global Stratification
Several times in this class, we've discussed the diversity of the U.S., including significant inequalities
between social classes. But throughout history, inequality has existed everywhere. It seems like some people have
just always had more wealth, power, and prestige than others. As a result, society is stratified.
Social stratification is a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy, and we've
talked about it in depth in other lessons. In this lesson, we'll focus not on how classes of people are stratified but how
entire nations are stratified in relation to each other. Global stratification is social stratification on a global scale.
Where social stratification draws attention to inequalities between smaller groups of people, global stratification
draws attention to inequalities between entire countries.
Three-World Model
For a long time, Americans have used three categories to stratify nations: first-, second-, and third-world.
However, these 'world' categories were socially constructed during the Cold War. The First World included the U.S.
and other capitalist nations. Communist nations made up the Second World, and the Third World was everyone else.
So the categories were originally based on political ideology. Over time, they started to also be used as economic
definitions. For example, when you hear about a third-world country, you probably think of an undeveloped nation
with widespread suffering.
Although the three-world model was useful during the Cold War, it is less useful today as it does not
accurately reflect the uneven distribution of resources and power among nations. For one thing, it lumps together
over 100 nations as the Third World. Some of the nations in this category are much more industrialized than others
and make enough money that they certainly cannot be counted among the poorest countries of the world.
Income Categories
For this reason (among others), sociologists now categorize countries based on gross domestic product,
which is an indicator of a country's wealth and standard of living. As with social classes found on a smaller scale,
money is the biggest determinant of status when it comes to global stratification. Most of the important differences
between nations originate from their degree of wealth or poverty. Therefore, the most popular global stratification
categories today are high-, middle-, and low-income countries. Let's look at the characteristics of each of these.
First, high-income countries are the richest nations with the highest overall standards of living. Rich
nations are generally those who were the first to industrialize. They are capital-intensive and utilize advanced
technology. High-income countries include approximately 25% of the nations in the world, yet they hold most of the

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world's wealth. Three examples are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Although these nations do
have many poor people, most of the poor still have a better standard of living than the lowest-income nations.
The largest proportion of the world's nations - about 42% - falls into the middle-income category. Middleincome countries have average income and a standard of living about average for the world as a whole. India,
Egypt, and Mexico are examples of middle-income countries. Most of these nations became industrialized relatively
late in the twentieth century, so they aren't nearly as advanced (or wealthy) as high-income countries. And, although
life is substantially better for these people than their low-income neighbors, it's not even close to the lifestyle of most
in high-income countries.
The remainder of the world's nations - about 33% - fall into the last category, low-income countries, which
are those with a low standard of living in which most people are poor. Ethiopia, Haiti, and Afghanistan are examples.
Low-income countries are mostly agricultural; only some have (very recently) started to industrialize. They are
plagued with insufficient housing, unsanitary water, infectious diseases, malnutrition, and even starvation. They also
experience higher birth rates, higher death rates (particularly among children), and lower life expectancies than other
countries.
Lesson Summary
In summary, global stratification is social stratification on a global scale. Where social stratification draws
attention to inequalities between smaller groups of people, global stratification draws attention to inequalities between
entire countries. For a long time, Americans have used three categories to stratify nations: first-, second-, and thirdworld. Although the three-world model was useful during the Cold War, it is less useful today, as it does not
accurately reflect the uneven distribution of resources and power among nations.
Sociologists now categorize countries based on gross domestic product, which is an indicator of a country's wealth
and standard of living. High-income countries are the richest nations with the highest overall standards of living.
They include approximately 25% of the nations in the world, yet they hold most of the world's wealth. The largest
proportion of the world's nations - about 42% - falls into the middle-income category. Middle-income countries have
average income and a standard of living about average for the world as a whole. The remainder of the world's
nations - about 33% - fall into the last category, low-income countries, which are those with a low standard of living
in which most people are poor.

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