Political Philosophy Term Paper
- Length: 9 pages
- Subject: Sociology
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #60880279
Excerpt from Term Paper :
inegalitarian systems in society. The writer explores how they operate and argues that they damage not only the ruled but the ruler. The writer uses several angles to argue this point and illustrate the ways the ruler is negatively impacted by having such a society under him or her. There were eight sources used to complete this paper.
Throughout history societies have struggled to discover the most palatable way to exist. Some societies work on the premise that equality is the answer while others believe class systems pave the way for success. The inegalitarian systems that have been and are currently in place have received a lot of scrutiny in recent years. The inegalitarian system of society promotes the idea that class systems work. Whether it is the cache system of India or the class system seen in other nations those who live them and those who rule them often feel it is the way it should be. The system dates back as far as the well-known philosopher of Plato who believed inegalitarian systems were the answer to productive and cohesive society. While this theory is interesting to view from the perspective of philosophy because Plato felt an inegalitarian society involves the natural tendencies of each person, the actual practice is not cohesive. Often times inegalitarian societies are kept in check by those who rule them. The rulers have the belief that this style of society will keep them in power. The opposite is actually true however. An inegalitarian society not only damages those who are ruled but they also damage the rulers.
One of the most well-known examples of why the inegalitarian systems will not work in the long run was the former Soviet Union (Lindlom, 2002). The Soviet Union for many years existed on a class system though it was claimed that was a system of social equality. If this was the case there would not have been the very rich and the very poor with nothing in between. There were obvious different classes within the Soviet Union and those differences caused the eventual failure of the entire system. Today the world is watching while the former Soviet Union attempts to repair and rebuild a society built on true equality.
Many experts believe that market systems built on equality mean everybody having the chance to do the same things and making choices about what they are going to do in their life (Lindlom, 2002). Choices are the path to success according to those experts and the choice removes a class system that is put into place at birth, such is experienced in India and some other places.
Many societies across the world are built on inegalitarian systems. Israeli is a system that is divided in many ways that have to do with birth or belief and not work ethic or ambition. One of the ways the nation is divided is ethnically.
Israeli society is becoming increasingly inegalitarian and social divisions are becoming sharper (Israeli society divided (http://mondediplo.com/focus/mideast/israel-5-1-en)."
Another classic example of inegalitarian society is the nation of India. For generations the nation has been operated under a cache system and the system is divided by classes. The class structure of the system has to do with the birth of the person. A person is born into a certain class and for the rest of their life that is the only class the are allowed to belong to (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm).The class system determines what the person is allowed to do for a living, how much education they are allowed to have, what class partner for life they can choose and many other issues. The class system that is accepted in India prevents a person from choosing to aspire to a higher class. The class they are born into is the class they must follow. In non-inegalitarian societies one has many aspects of their life by which to choose or decide what their life will be about. Their intelligence, their internal motivation and drive, their ability and their personality play a large part in who they become. In an inegalitarian system none of these things matter. They must adhere to and follow the class they belong to regardless of their abilities. Their social standing is the place they are expected to act like and anything outside of this is refused or rejected. This is true whether the class a person is in is caused by birth, faith, race or economic standing.
The experience of both state and society in India is profoundly alienating in more ways than one can list and many forms of corruption stem directly from this experience (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm).Indian society is profoundly inegalitarian. Vast disparities of income and power exist almost everywhere, but the depth, to which in India inequality has subjected individuals to a million humiliations, small and large, is almost unprecedented. These humiliations often are, though they need not necessarily be, consequent upon ascriptive status. Although the principles underlying the Indian state are, for the most part, an attempt to affirm the worth of each individual, its functioning is anything but. Even in the best of times, the Indian state is, for most ordinary citizens, still distant, inaccessible, and arbitrary and often simply a raw exercise in power (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm).State institutions such as courts, police, bureaucracies, registries, and universities exemplify intransigence more than achievement. The state, rather than be a source of the affirmation of our own worth, is more a reminder of our powerlessness. The formal notion of equality before law is much frowned upon for a variety of reasons (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm).Whatever its limits as a means of substantive empowerment, the notion of formal equality has important moral psychological functions. It is a way of affirming an individual's worth regardless of all other inequalities; indeed, precisely because society is inegalitarian, law is the only means to affirm one's worth. The idea was that law would provide an essential ingredient of self-respect by affirming the standing of an individual. But these moral psychological functions of law are rendered impossible by the functioning of the Indian state. Both state and society have this in common: they make the affirmation of one's own worth difficult (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm)."
If one wants to see why an inegalitarian system does not work one only has to look as far as India to find proof of its failure. There are millions of people who are sick and the world constantly hears horror stories of children and adults laying dead in the street who have starved to death or could not afford the medical care that they needed so they just laid down and died on the sidewalk.
There are many reasons that an inegalitarian society does not work. The reasons they do not work are also the reason that they will damage the ruler as well as those who are ruled.
An inegalitarian society where the social bases for self-respect are accessible only to a few will produce rampant corruption. The seductions of corruption are not simply the desire for money (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm).It is rather the fact that on display in an act of corruption is an exercise of power and often of impunity. Impunity, in the sense that corruption is a way of asserting that one is above others, that there is no authority either of persons, or office, to which one is subordinate (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm).Corruption may be seductive, because it gives those who are corrupt a sense of power. In a society which does not often acknowledge the worth and value of individuals, where the visible means of proving one's worth through substantial achievement are open only to a few, corruption is a way of saying that one is somebody. A society without reciprocal forms of mutual recognition is a prime candidate for being a corrupt society because people will compensate for their experience of powerlessness and lack of affirmation of their worth through a competitive exercise of power. This will afflict the privileged as well, since their status anxieties, will be even greater in such a society than those of the dispossessed (Corruption as empowerment (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/08/11/stories/05112524.htm)." society that is built with a belief in equality is a society that will frown on corruption and other immoral acts. A society which places restrictions on individuals with no way for those people to be validated as worthwhile will produce people who feel they have nothing to lose if they become corrupt. It is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy in that the lower class act as they are expected to act and the cheating and corruption they take part in are no more than the way the upper class expected them to act. The upper class that participates in corruption or other immoral acts are of the belief that they are superior in life, therefore anything they do is acceptable.
Another nation that deserves an examination in how inegalitarian societies can damage rulers is the…