HOW CAN WE EXPLAIN THE PERSISTANCE OF CLASS INEQUALITIES IN BRITAIN?
Traditionally Britain has always been recognized as a'class society', characterised by widespread awareness of social class membership, class inequality and the influence of class inequalities in employment prospects. However it has been argued that with "growing affluence, levels of education, social mobility and post – industrial economic development, class identities are losing their salience." (4) Saying this there is still substantial amounts of evidence to suggest that class inequalities are still very much inherent in British society especially with regards to social mobility.
One of thefirst factors in explaining class inequalities in Britain would have to be the differences in wealth and income. Carl Marx's theory on income and wealth in western societies can be used to help explain this.
Marx believed that maturing of capitalism would bring about an increasing gap between the wealth of the minority and the poverty of the mass of the population. According the Marx the wages of the working class would never rise far above survival level, while wealth would pile up in the hands of those owning capital. Marx also believed that those in the low levels of society would suffer, "accumulation of misery, agony o labour, slavery, ignorance, brutality, moral degradation…." (Marx 1970. p 645).
From this quote we can see that to a certain extent Marx was right, especially about the persistence of class inequalities in industrialized societies such as the UK and in anticipating that great inequalities of wealth and income would continue. He was wrong however to assume that the income of most of the population would remain low.Most people in Britain today are much better off materially than comparable groups in Marx's day. To examine how far, and why, this is the case we have to look at changes in the distributio…