Stratified Societies

Macionis discusses explanations of stratified societies including Karl Marx's claim that stratification works against the interests of most people by providing a few people with advantages over others. In Marx's view this invariably produces class conflict between the relatively small group of capitalists (the bourgeoisie) who own the means of production and, therefore, most of the wealth, and laborers, or the proletariat, who own nothing but the labor they can sell to the capitalists. The two groups have separate and opposing interests. The capitalist wishes to make as great a profit as possible and must, therefore, pay as little for labor as possible. In capitalist societies, Marx reasoned, the rich are in constant competition to become richer and accumulate more capital, and this pressure means that the lot of the workers becomes



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