Why Are Societies Unequal: Notes on the Marxist Theory

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Inequality in society relates to societal relationship processes that restrict or degrade a group’s social standing, social class, and social circle. Accessibility on the right to vote, freedom of expression and assembly, the breadth of property ownership, education opportunities, health care, decent housing, traveling, communication, tourism, and other social services and goods are examples of social disparity. Aside from that, it may be evident in the quality of family and community life, career, job involvement, and credit availability. If these socioeconomic schisms deepen, they have the potential to exacerbate income disparity. This work was written with the aim of studying the inequality of society based on the well-known authors of sociologists.

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Karl Marx’s social phenomenon is founded on the premise that there are only two classes of individuals in modern society: The Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. The Bourgeoisie factors of production: the industries, enterprises, and machinery required to create riches (Block, 2021). The laborers are referred to as the Proletariat, in capitalist civilizations, the Bourgeoisie abuses people. The governments collect them enough to cover housing and food, and the employees, who are unaware that they are being exploited, have a cultural hegemony, or a false sensation, that they are well-off (Cottrell, 2019). They believe they can rely on their capitalist’s superiors to act in their best interests. The Bourgeoisie factors of production are the industries, businesses, and machinery needed to produce wealth and the laborers are known as the Proletariat. People are abused by the Bourgeoisie in capitalist cultures. The government levies enough to cover room and board, and the individuals who are ignorant that they are being oppressed enjoy a cultural hegemony or a false sense of wealth.

According to Marxist theory, economic disparities are significant elements of the capitalist financial system: capitalism develops unequal social power institutions. Inequality is passed down to the next generation by the ecosystem of services and opportunities (Marx, 2007). The causes of social disparity vary, but they are frequently comprehensive and far-reaching (Wright, 2019). Inequality in society alludes to inequality in the prevalence of economic income or assets, as well as differences in the general quality and luxury of each human living within a community (Starmans et al., 2017). In contrast, economic inequality is produced by uneven wealth generation. The city’s cultural environment is built up of a system of community settings that replicate the stratified class hierarchy. Poverty in American cities persists as a result of the system’s ongoing need to develop and perpetuate a commercial professional army (Rodriguez-Bailon et al., 2017). Inequalities and economic hardship cannot be abolished until the system of production changes significantly.

Unlike Karl Marx, who considered inequality to be the driving force behind the development of society, Charlotte Gilman viewed this phenomenon as a negatively influencing factor. The American sociologist was a supporter of the criticism of gender inequality and considered two aspects in this vein – economic and political. The first was the difference in the financial component, the second was the difference between the legal rights of men and women. Gilman also stressed that the difference in the position of the sexes is due to the fact that the idea has taken root in society that the position of a woman is determined by the closest male relatives.

The researcher, unlike Marx, considered this concept in the light of the different levels of economic independence among men and women, which was directly related to gender inequality. The sociologist believed that in order to prevent the degradation of humanity, it is necessary to strengthen and develop the rights of the female sex and equate them with the male. Gilman also argued that financial independence should play a primary role in this process and will help to achieve greater results.

Furthermore, gradually, men and women were able to live any form of life they desired. This is evident in our present day, with women in the workforce and males as residence fathers (Gilman, 2020; Heise et al., 2019). Moreover, Gilman believed that sexual equality is a fundamental human right, and sexual identity discrimination violates it. The challenge the patriarchal males had with the matriarchal women was comprehending that there were no disparities in her book Herland (Karima and Boutouchent, 2020). Additionally, gender discrimination has been an issue for thousands of years, wreaking havoc on cultures throughout the world. Women have been branded as the lesser being, the second gender besides the man, the weaker and less valuable specimen from ancient times. This gender disparity created a significant difference between men and women, giving males influence over reproductive rights and limiting what women could and could not do.

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In conclusion, this scientific work considered the opinions of two authors on the topic of social inequality. Thus, Karl Marx believed that this phenomenon is necessary for society and exists directly with it. On the other hand, Charlotte Gilman considered gender inequality from the economic and political side. The sociologist argued that differences between the two sexes have a negative connotation and should be minimized.


Block, F. (2021). The ruling class does not rule: Notes on the Marxist theory of the state. In The Political Economy. Routledge. 32-46.

Cottrell, A. (2019). Social classes in Marxist theory. Routledge.

Christensen, A. G. (2017). Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland and the tradition of the scientific utopia. Utopian Studies, 28(2), 286-304.

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Gilman, C. P. (2020). Women and economics. University of California Press.

Heise, L., Greene, M. E., Opper, N., Stavropoulou, M., Harper, C., Nascimento, M., Gupta, G. R. (2019). Gender inequality and restrictive gender norms: framing the challenges to health. The Lancet, 393(10189), 2440-2454.

Karima, A., & Boutouchent, F. (2020). Economic Independence and Female Autonomy in Selected Short Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Marx, K. (2007). Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. In B. Lawrence & A. Karim (Ed.), On Violence: A Reader (pp. 63-77). New York, USA: Duke University Press.

Rodriguez-Bailon, R., Bratanova, B. A., Willis, G., Lopez-Rodriguez, L., Sturrock, A., & Loughnan, S. (2017). Social class and ideologies of inequality: How they uphold unequal societies. Journal of Social Issues.

Starmans, C., Sheskin, M., & Bloom, P. (2017). Why do people prefer unequal societies?. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(4), 1-7.

Wright, E. O. (2019). The conceptual status of class structure in class analysis. In Bringing Class Back In. Routledge. 17-37.

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