Social constructionism is fundamental to challenging beliefs that individuals in society hold to be true in terms of inequality due to economic, racial, and gender disparity. It is, indeed, what C. Wright Mills coined as the “power elite” that control, not only money, but power. This power includes the ability to influence large scale political decisions in the global market down to the more micro-level ideals for individual entitlement. Essentially, the idea of entitlement can be encompassed in conflict theory and is evident in corporate competition and rifts in the balance of power among individuals and states.
Functionalist perspectives do not allow for the challenge of ideas and instead look at the power structure of evolutionary Capitalism as an essential part of growth and these outlooks simply break down the stages and interacting pieces to make sense of these systems. Finally, symbolic interactionism is becoming more helpful in an increasingly globalized world to demonstrate the ideas of different cultures in what is considered indigenous or Westernized and whether or not these totems of culture are acceptable or a part of a new type of Imperialism.
Social constructionism, though, is by far the best lens to view and dialectically deconstruct destructive ideas that further inequality and disparity. The roots of inequality founded within globalization are mired in individual desires (i. e. the need to acquire wealth), but generate into a much larger issue that spans the entire continent. Power is placed in the hands of wealthy corporate leaders and the nations in which they inhabit. Powerful economic nations equal powerful political nations, creating an unstable and unpredictable state of affairs for the world.
Countries that are marginalized, because of so-called “under-development” are taken out of the global playing field completely and lack the ability to ever become developed without the needed power and political voice. Individuals run the risk of exploitation in various forms, workers can have little power over wages locally in a global market and many workers are forced out of jobs for lower paid workers and even modern-day slaves. The objectification of individuals for slave labor hints to the extent of the conflict and crushing fall-out from global Capitalism.
This extreme form of exploitation is many times individually justified, as the slave-holders believe they are masters in the world of business and need to tend to those, who are not equipped with business-sense with guidance. People are, also, traded just as commodities in the world of human trafficking and the latter two examples should give pause to any person in favor of globalization and the extent of actions taken to compete and cash-in in countries throughout the world. Hyper-consumption and the spread of mega-chains locally and globally have similar devastating effects on individuals, communities, and countries.
Individuals and countries are increasingly moving into situations of disparity due to increasing debt from hyper-consumption and the Imperialistic spread of chains, such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds. Smaller companies are put out of business due to the power of these large corporations and communities suffer from outsourced jobs. Additionally, states offer incentives for corporations to come to their area, remain there, or grant money for improvements to factories and plants known as corporate welfare.
The effects of this allocation of state expenses to this area always creates a deficit for the individuals living within those areas, whether it be in higher taxies levied or the lack of funding for other needed services in the community. Many times the promise of increased jobs in economically challenged areas are embraced and accepted, but the reality is many corporations will move on to obtain the most money available elsewhere in terms of incentives or lower-wages in other countries.
GM, in particular is notorious for this type of behavior. While the state incentives given to companies are accepted and approved by the “power elite” in terms of corporate welfare, welfare given to the individual poor is scrutinized and best explained in the scope of inequality due to race and gender. Disproportionate numbers are reflected in the percentages of African-American, Asian and Latino families in the U. S. in poverty, largely due to the social systems surrounding them.
Job scarcity, poor living conditions that compound crime, violence, and drug abuse issues in these marginalized groups enhance an already problematic situation of basic survival in the American economy. From a gender standpoint, it is mostly women and their children in poverty. The social construction of the personalities of the poor encourage welfare reform and discourage the families involved in the welfare system. Those in poverty are used as scapegoats to describe the multitude of America’s social ills.
It is in this way, the elite can focus attention to the poor and shift attention away from their role in perpetuating economic inopportunity and incorrect labels on those affected. The poor are many times accused of being lazy, morally deficient, and simply lacking in the desire for achievement. From a socially constructed standpoint the fundamental truths of global, local, and individual inequality are masked by the “power elites” to further alienate the marginalized while at the same time shunting attention away from corporate and political goals that only enhance the well-being of a few.
Promises of products and personal gain of consumers and workers worldwide are many times taken at face value. It is of the utmost importance to re-evaluate this claims and current controversies. This is a critical time in our nation’s history. It is all but a hope that we can begin to deconstruct these destructive views and begin to construct a healthier globe.