Learning Objectives

Explain why the terms an initial World, 2nd World, and 3rd World have actually fallen out of use.Explain why it is crucial to measure an international poverty.Describe which world regions have greater or lower inequality and why.Describe the main arguments of modernization theory, suspended theory, and also world equipment theory.

You are watching: How does global stratification impact local culture

Just together the unified States’ wide range is significantly concentrated among its richest citizens if the middle class slowly disappears, an international inequality is concentrating sources in details nations and is considerably affecting the methods of people in poorer and less an effective countries. In fact, a current Oxfam (2014) report that suggested the wealthiest eighty-five world in the world are worth an ext than the poorest 3.5 exchange rate combined. Put much more simply, there is severe difference between the richest and poorest nations. A couple of nations, such as the unified States, space very, really wealthy, while many an ext nations space very, very poor. Showing this last fact, 40% of the world population, or around 2 billion people, lives on much less than $2 per day (United Nations breakthrough Programme, 2005).

While stratification in the joined States describes the unequal distribution of resources amongst individuals, global stratification refers to this uneven distribution amongst nations. There are two dimensions to this stratification: gaps between nations and also gaps within nations. When it comes to global inequality, both financial inequality and social inequality may concentrate the load of poor among specific segments that the earth’s population (Myrdal 1970).

Classifying global Stratification

To understand an international stratification, the is valuable to classify nations right into three or four categories based on their degree of wide range or poverty, their level of industrialization and economic development, and related factors. Over the decades, scholars and also international organizations such together the joined Nations and also the World bank have used various group systems, or typologies.

One the the first typologies came into use after human being War II and classified nations as falling into the First World, Second World, and Third World. The an initial World was usually the west capitalist democracies of north America and of Europe and details other nations (e.g., Australia, brand-new Zealand, and also Japan). The 2nd World was the communist nations belonging come the Soviet Union, while the third World was every the continuing to be nations, almost all of them from main and southern America, Africa, and Asia. This category was helpful in differentiating capitalist and communist countries and also in calling fist to the countless nations composing the 3rd World. However, it was primarily a political classification rather than a stratification classification. This problem, along with the demise of the Soviet Union by the end of 1991, caused this typology to fall out that favor.

A instead of typology inserted nations into developed, developing, and also undeveloped categories, respectively. Return this typology was initially popular, critics said that calling nations “developed” made them sound superior, when calling countries “undeveloped” make them sound inferior. Back this group scheme is tho used, it, too, has begun to fall out that favor.

Today a popular typology just ranks nations into groups referred to as wealthy (or high-income) nations, middle-income nations, and also poor (or low-income) nations, based on measures such as gross residential product (GDP) every capita (the complete value the a country goods and also services separated by that is population). This typology has the benefit of emphasizing the most vital variable in an international stratification: just how much wealth a nation has. In ~ the hazard of being rather simplistic, the other necessary differences amongst the world’s countries all stem from their level of wide range or poverty. Number 9.3 “Global Stratification Map” depicts these three categories of nations (with the middle category divided right into upper-middle and also lower-middle). As have to be clear, whether a nation is wealthy, middle-income, or negative is heavily related come the continent on which the is found.

Figure 9.3 global Stratification Map


Source: adjusted from UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library. (2009). Nation income groups (World financial institution classification). Retrieved indigenous http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/country-income-groups-world-bank-classification.

Typologies based upon GDP every capita or similar economic steps are really useful, but they likewise have a far-ranging limitation. Nations deserve to rank an in similar way on GDP per capita (or one more economic measure) however still different in other respects. One country might have actually lower child mortality, an additional might have greater life expectancy, and a third might have better sanitation. Recognizing this limitation, establishments such together the unified Nations advance Programme (UNDP) usage typologies based on a broader range of steps than GDP per capita. A very popular typology is the UNDP’s Human advance Index (HDI), i m sorry is a composite measure of a nation’s income, health, and education. This index is based on a formula the combines a nation’s GDP per capita as a measure of income; life expectations at birth together a measure up of health; and the adult literacy rate and enrollment in primary, secondary, and higher education as actions of education. Number 9.4 “International person Development, 2008” shows how nations rank follow to the HDI. As will be evident, this map looks fairly similar come the map in number 9.3 “Global Stratification Map” the was based just on GDP every capita; the nations that rank high on human development are the wealthiest nations, and those that rank shortest on person development, such as Ethiopia and Rwanda, space the poorest nations.

Figure 9.4 International person Development, 2008

Source: adjusted from united Nations development Programme. (2010). Global human breakthrough indicators. Retrieved indigenous http://hdr.undp.org/en/data/map.


This similarity prompts part observers come say that the HDI is no really that lot of an development over typologies based just on GDP every capita or similar economic measures. Still, the HDI has actually been commonly used since the 1990s and reminds united state that countries differ drastically not just in their economic well-being but likewise in their social well-being. However, because health, education, and other social signs do count so greatly on wealth, our discussion of worldwide stratification for the remainder that this thing will use the familiar classification of wealthy, middle-income, and poor nations.

Global Poverty

In addition to classifying countries according to their ranking ~ above a stratification typology, scholars and also international organizations likewise determine the level of poor in every nation. This decision provides an useful information past a nation’s GDP every capita or similar measure of wealth. Wealth and also poverty are, the course, extremely correlated: generally speaking, the wealthier a nation, the lower its level the poverty. However, this correlation is no perfect, and also considering countries only in terms of their wealth might obscure important distinctions in their levels the poverty. For example, 2 nations, i beg your pardon we will call country A and nation B, may have similar GDP per capita. In country A, wide range from its GDP is fairly evenly distributed, and relatively couple of people room poor. In country B, nearly all wealth is held by a small number of incredibly affluent people, and also many people are poor. A country level of poverty thus tells us what ratio of the population is living in dire straits, nevertheless of the country level the wealth.

The measurement of an international poverty is essential for additional reasons (Haughton & Khandker, 2009). First, political and economic officials will not acknowledge the trouble of poor and shot to execute something about it unless they have actually reliable poverty data come motivate them to execute so and to overview their decisions. As two specialists on global poverty note, “It is easy to disregard the bad if they are statistically invisible” (Haughton & Khandker, 2009, p. 3). Second, valid measures of poverty disclose which regions of the human being are poorest and which civilization in a given country are poorest in terms of household characteristics (e.g., households headed through a single woman), ar (e.g., region of country or urban vs. Rural), and other factors. This kind of knowledge permits antipoverty programs and strategies to be concentrated on the locations and people in those places who are most in need of help. Third, valid steps of poverty enable officials and also policymakers to know exactly how well initiatives to assist the negative are working, as a poverty measure after part intervention deserve to be contrasted to the poverty measure before the intervention.

How, then, is global poverty measured? A really common and also popular measure up is one offered by the world Bank, an international institution, sponsor by affluent nations, that provides loans, grants, and also other assist to aid poor and also middle-income nations develop their infrastructure and also thus minimize their poverty. Each year the World financial institution publishes the World advance Report, which, as its name implies, gives statistics and also other info on the economic and also social health of the globe’s nearly 200 nations. The World bank puts the official an international poverty heat (which is considered a measure of extreme poverty) at revenue under $1.25 per human being per day, which quantities to about $456 yearly per human being or $1,825 because that a household of four. According to this measure, 1.4 exchange rate people, make up more than one-fifth of the world’s populace and more than one-fourth that the populace of emerging (poor and also middle-income) nations, are poor. This level of poverty rises to 40% of southern Asia and 51% of sub-Saharan Africa (Haughton & Khandker, 2009).

Poverty Indexes

The united Nations advance Programme (UNDP), which occurred the Human advance Index, debated earlier, to measure worldwide stratification, likewise developed a similar measure, the human being Poverty table of contents (HPI), come measure global poverty, and also it has reported this measure since the 1990s. This measure mirrors UNDP’s id that poverty method more 보다 a lack of money and also that measures of poor must incorporate nonmonetary components of social well-being. Accordingly, the HPI incorporates procedures of the complying with indicators for emerging nations: (a) the probability that not making it through to period 40, (b) the percentage of adult who are illiterate, (c) the percentage of people without accessibility to clean water, and also (d) the portion of underweight children. In UNDP’s 2009 Human breakthrough Report, the 5 poorest nations according to HPI were Afghanistan, Niger, Mali, Chad, and also Burkina Faso, with an ext than half the population in every of these countries classified as poor (United Nations breakthrough Programme, 2009).

Although the HPI has been an extremely useful, that was freshly replaced by a more comprehensive measure, the Multidimensional Poverty table of contents (MPI). The MPI incorporates a variety of deprivation measures used to every nation’s family members that is fuller 보다 that of the HPI. Households are considered poor according to their composite score on 3 categories of indications of deprivation:


Child mortality (any child in the household has died)Nutrition (anyone in the family members is malnourished)


Schooling (no family members member has completed 5 year of schooling)Enrollment (any kid in the family members is no in school before grade 9)

Standard the living

Electricity (the family does not have actually electricity)Drinking water (the household does no have access to clean drink water)Sanitation (the family members does not have actually adequate handle of human waste)Flooring (the floor is made out of dirt, sand, or manure )Cooking fuel (the family cooks v charcoal, dung, or wood)Assets (the family does not own an ext than among the following: bicycle, motorbike, radio, telephone, or television)

A person is considered bad if that or she experiences deprivation in any kind of of the following combinations of indicators:

any two health and wellness and/or education and learning indicators, orall 6 standard of living indicators, orone health/education indicator plus three standard of living indicators.

When the MPI is used to measure up poverty in 104 occurring nations, 1.7 exchange rate people, amounting come one-third the populace of these nations, live in poverty. Fifty percent of the poor people ~ above the earth according come the MPI live in southern Asia, and also one-fourth live in Africa (Alkire & Santos, 2010). The 5 poorest countries according come the MPI space all African: Niger, Ethiopia, Mali, Burkina Faso, and also Burundi. In this nations, at the very least 85% of the populace is poor.

Although monetary and index measures of an international poverty productivity somewhat various results, the measures are still relatively highly correlated, and also they all show that the poorest areas of the people are Africa and also South Asia. This measures have played critical role in our understanding of worldwide poverty and in international efforts to address it and also its consequences.

Global Inequality

As an initial discussed in thing 8 “Social Stratification”, one more dimension the stratification is economic inequality, which refers to the gap between the richest and also poorest segments of society. We observed then that the United says has much more economic inequality than various other Western democracies, as the income and also wealth difference between the richest and also poorest human being in the United says is better than the in these various other nations.

As this conversation suggested, to understand stratification the is necessary to understand financial inequality. Global economic inequality (hereafter global inequality) has actually two dimensions. The first dimension requires the extremely large economic gap in between the wealthy and poor nations of the people (Neckerman & Torche, 2007). We saw proof of this gap in our earlier syndicate discussion: the richest one-fifth of nations have nearly 75% the the world’s income, while the poorest 5th of nations have actually only 1.5% that the world’s income. Splitting the larger figure by the smaller number (75 ÷ 1.5) returns a very high income-gap ratio of 50: the income of the richest fifth of countries is 50 times better than the earnings of the poorest 5th of nations. By comparison, in the United says the income of the richest 5th of the populace is 11.5 times higher than the earnings of the poorest fifth (see thing 8 “Social Stratification”). Although financial inequality within the United states is higher than its western counterparts, economic inequality between the richest and poorest nations is much higher yet.

The most popular measure of financial inequality, and also one offered by the people Bank, is the Gini coefficient. Its calculation need not issue us, yet it ranges from 0 come 1, wherein 0 means that income is the exact same for anyone (no economic inequality in ~ all, or perfect equality), and 1 method that one person has all the revenue (perfect inequality). For this reason the nearer the Gini coefficient is to 1, the higher the level of a nation’s economic inequality.

Figure 9.5 “Gini Coefficients, 2007–2008” mirrors Gini coefficients about the world; financial inequality is indeed higher in the agricultural regions the Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, southern Asia, and also elsewhere than in the industrial an ar of western Europe. In the emerging world, the region of Latin America and also the Caribbean has actually a much more advanced farming economy than other regions, and it additionally has the highest level of inequality, with a tiny elite owning a great amount of floor (Hoffman & Centeno, 2003).

Figure 9.5 Gini Coefficients, 2007–2008


Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gini_Coefficient_World_Human_Development_Report_2007-2008.png.

Explanations of worldwide stratification parallel those that U.S. Stratification (see chapter 8 “Social Stratification”) in their emphasis on individual versus structural problems. One form of explanation take away an individual approach by in effect blaming the human being in the poorest nations for their own poverty, when a 2nd explanation take away a structural strategy in blaming the plight of poor nations ~ above their therapy by the richest ones. Again there is proof to assistance both types of explanations, however many sociologists donate the structure explanation. Table 9.2 “Theory Snapshot” summarizes the two sets the explanations.

Table 9.2 theory Snapshot

TheoryMajor assumptions
Modernization theoryWealthy nations ended up being wealthy since early on they were able to build the essential beliefs, values, and practices because that trade, industrialization, and also rapid economic growth come occur. Poor nations remained poor because castle failed to construct these beliefs, values, and also practices; instead, they continued to follow traditional beliefs and practices that stymied industrial advancement and modernization.
Dependency theory

World solution Theory

The poverty of bad nations stems from their emigration by european nations, i m sorry exploited the negative nations’ resources and also either enslaved their populaces or offered them together cheap labor. The conquered nations were thus unable to construct a professional and also business class that would certainly have allowed them to enter the industrial age and to otherwise construct their economies.

The worldwide stratification of countries is the result of complex economic hierarchy developed historically that inserted some countries in positions of power with countless resources and also other countries in a state of economic subordination. Those the were in a state that subordination faced far-ranging obstacles come mobilization.

Modernization Theory

The separation, personal, instance explanation is referred to as modernization theory (McClelland, 1967; Rostow, 1990). According to this theory, wealthy nations ended up being wealthy because early on they were able to build the “correct” beliefs, values, and practices—in short, the exactly culture—for trade, industrialization, and rapid financial growth come occur. These cultural traits incorporate a willingness to occupational hard, to abandon heritage in donate of new ways the thinking and doing things, and also to take on a future orientation fairly than one concentrated on maintaining existing conditions.

Modernization theory has straight relevance for the endure of west Europe. Follow to the theory, western European nations started to emerge several centuries earlier as economic powers since their populations embraced the type of values and practices simply listed. Max Weber (1904/1958), among the co-founder of sociology, wrote that western Europe was able to do this because the good news Reformation diminished the classic distrust that the Catholic Church for material success and also social and also economic change. The new Protestant ethic that Western Europeans embraced stressed the prominence of difficult work and material success in one’s lifetime rather than the Church’s timeless emphasis ~ above rewards in an afterlife.

According to modernization theory, bad nations are bad because their people never arisen values together as an emphasis on hard work.

According come modernization theory, nations in various other parts the the civilization never came to be wealthy and also remain bad today since they never occurred the ideal values and practices. Instead, they ongoing to follow timeless beliefs and also practices that stymied industrial development and modernization.

Modernization theory has actually much in usual with the culture of poor theory disputed in chapter 8 “Social Stratification”. It attributes the poor of poor nations to their failure to develop the “proper” beliefs, values, and practices essential for financial success both at the start of industrialization throughout the 19th century and in the 2 centuries that have since transpired. Due to the fact that modernization theory suggests that world in bad nations do not have the talent and capability to improve their lot, it falls into the functionalist explanation the stratification.

As should be clear, modernization concept has straight implications for techniques to reduce global poverty. The theory suggests that human being in poor nations must learn the proper beliefs, values, and practices to success economically. If they carry out not perform so, they will stop themselves from profiting as completely as feasible from the financial assist they get from wealthy nations, with much of this help thereby gift wasted.

Dependency Theory

The structure explanation for worldwide stratification is referred to as dependency theory. Not surprisingly, this theory’s see sharply an obstacle modernization theory’s assumptions (Packenham, 1992). Vice versa, modernization concept attributes global stratification come the “wrong” social values and also practices in poor nations, dependency concept blames worldwide stratification top top the exploitation the these nations by wealthy nations. According to this view, negative nations never got the chance to pursue economic growth since early top top they to be conquered and also colonized by europe ones. The European nations stole the poor nations’ resources and either enslaved their populaces or used them together cheap labor. They installed their very own governments and often impede the regional populace from getting a good education. Together a result, the colonized nations to be unable to develop a professional and business course that would certainly have permitted them to go into the commercial age and also to otherwise build their economies. Along the way, wealthy countries sold their own products to conquered nations and forced castle to operation up substantial debt that continues to amount today. Since dependency theory implies that negative nations remain negative because of lack of opportunity owing to exploitation by wealthy nations, it drops into the problem perspective top top stratification.

In today’s world, vast multinational corporations continue to exploit the labor and resources of the poorest nations, say dependency theorists. These corporations run sweatshops in countless nations, in which employees toil in inhumane problems at exceptionally low wages (Sluiter, 2009). Often the corporations work-related hand-in-hand through corrupt officials in the negative nations to strengthen their economic stake in the countries. An instance of this dynamic emerged during the 1990s in the negative western African nation of Nigeria, where the royal Dutch/Shell oil firm at the moment was pumping half of the nation’s oil. Activists in southerly Nigeria started to case that Shell’s oil drilling was destroying their land and also that shell was payment them too small for your oil. In an answer to your protests, the government sent in police at Shell’s request, with shell paying few of the police costs. The police placed down the activists’ disagreement by ruining several villages and killing 2,000 human being (Lewis, 1996).

Dependency theory likewise has straight implications for strategies to reduce worldwide poverty. Very simply, the theory suggests that rich nations and also multinational corporations have to stop exploiting the sources of poor nations. Till that happens, negative nations will be can not to construct their herbal resources and also to get in the industrial age. Part dependency theorists also say that negative nations should limit your importation of products from rich nations, and that wealthy nations should even be forbidden indigenous investing in negative nations.

Which makes an ext sense, modernization concept or suspended theory? just like many theories, both make feeling to some level (see the “Learning From other Societies” box), yet both have their faults. Modernization theory locations too much blame on poor nations because that their own poverty and also ignores the long history of exploitation of bad nations by affluent nations and also multinational enterprise alike. For its part, dependency theory cannot describe why several of the poorest countries are bad even despite they were never European colonies; neither can it define why some former colonies such together Hong Kong have actually been able to acquire enough financial growth to leave the location of the poorest nations. Together, both theories help us recognize the factors for an international stratification, yet most sociologists would more than likely favor exposed theory since of its focus on structural factors in the world historic and current economy.

World solution Approach

Immanuel Wallerstein’s (1979) world systems strategy uses an economic basis to understand an international inequality. Wallerstein conceived of the global economy together a complex system that supports an financial hierarchy that inserted some nations in positions of power with countless resources and also other countries in a state of economic subordination. Those the were in a state of subordination faced far-reaching obstacles come mobilization.

Core nations are dominant capitalist countries, highly industrialized, technological, and urbanized. Because that example, Wallerstein contends that the United says is an financial powerhouse that can support or deny support to important financial legislation with far-ranging implications, therefore exerting regulate over every element of the worldwide economy and also exploiting both semi-peripheral and also peripheral nations. We have the right to look at free trade agreements such as the phibìc American cost-free Trade agreement (NAFTA) as an example of exactly how a core nation is able come leverage its power to obtain the most valuable position in the issue of worldwide trade.

Peripheral nations have actually very little industrialization; what they do have regularly represents the outdated castoffs of core nations or the factory and way of production owned by main point nations. They generally have unstable governments, inadequate social programs, and also are economically dependent top top core countries for jobs and aid. There space abundant instances of countries in this category, such as Vietnam and Cuba. We deserve to be sure the employees in a Cuban cigar factory, for example, which are owned or leased by an international core nation companies, space not enjoy it the very same privileges and rights as U.S. Workers.

See more: What Is A Crystal And How Long Does It Take For Crystals To Form ?

Semi-peripheral countries are in-between nations, not powerful enough to dictate policy but nevertheless acting as a significant source because that raw material and an broadening middle-class marketplace for main point nations, while also exploiting peripheral nations. Mexico is an example, offering abundant cheap agricultural labor to the U.S., and supplying products to the united States market at a price dictated by the U.S. Without the constitution protections offered to United says workers.