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Gap Between Rich and Poor

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Gap Between Rich and Poor

'America the beautiful,

Who are you beautiful for?'

America, the land of opportunity, but is it really? America is made up of people of many different cultural and social backgrounds. The constitution of the people reads that as Americans, these people are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights were designed in part to attain a sense of equality within the individual so that a sense of unity would exist. Because of the structures within society that influence a person's character such as the educational, corporate and governmental structures there are many differences in the social, economic, and political sense amongst the individuals. There is a select group who are more educated that come from the more prestigious and wealthy backgrounds as opposed to those who come from the working middle class and poor levels. The opportunities are much different due to the effects of these institutions and the socioeconomic levels that children are born into. If the economic resources are abundant, than success is easier to attain. By looking at the exclusive clubs that the wealthy belong to and the differences in the educational institutions that children attend, it is evident that the individual born into a wealthy family is more apt to achieve success than one who is brought up in a working class family.

One of the main keys to success is to establish networks and organizations in support of the corporate community. These networks form a social cohesion which is based on two types of relationships found in a membership network: common membership in specific social institutions and friendships based on social interactions within those institutions. Social cohesion creates a group identity where members of the social groups are seen to be exclusive and of high status. 'The social bonding can be seen as one reason why the social rich are cohesive enough to dominate the rest of society despite their numbers.' (Domhoff, G. William, Who Rules America? p.72) Used as indicators of upper class standing, the exclusive clubs are used as a reinforcement to separate the wealthy from the working-class. The Bohemian Club is one of the most widely known clubs that caters to the upper class, corporate leaders, celebrities, and government officials. This retreat intertwines the upper class with the corporate community to create an atmosphere for social bonding and relaxation. Another important function of these clubs is to perpetuate the upper class from generation to generation.

The working class does not partake in the same kind of networking as the upper class. In comparison to the upper class, there is not a strong affiliation between the corporate community and the working class. They do not have the funding or support of the corporations for retreats or clubs denying them of opportunities for equal advancement in the corporate community. Without cohesion, future generations are left to create their identities in their job place. In the upper class the younger generations are introduced to the corporate community through the clubs giving them a foot in the door. Although not all upper class citizens belong to clubs such as the Bohemian club, the majority are affiliated with these clubs as evident through the status of corporate leaders. Social clubs are just one example of institutions that create opportunities for the upper class while creating a larger gap between the rich and poor.

Educational institutions also create unequal opportunities for different classes. Most of the upper class children are sent to private schools and are later sent to boarding schools which become 'surrogate families that play a major role in creating an upper-class subculture on almost a national scale in America' (p.82). The educational system of the upper class emphasizes the building of 'character'. Boarding schools are effective social ...

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