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Australia's Social Fabric Myth Deconstructed

Discuss about the Social Status And Morbidity In Australia.

The Australian community has been fed with this fat big lie that our community is an egalitarian which by definition is a society based on the ideology and principle that all mankind are equal and should be treated as equals where such thing as social class and status is hardly considered(Thompson, 1994). The citizens have been fed this myth that in Australia the social fabric of the community lies in each and every member of the society and all the member are considered first among equals. A recent study however deconstructed this myth as several factors have changed from the good old Australia to the modern based Australia which has not only gradually metamorphosed into a completely Aristocratic society where there is a continuous power struggle among the rich and the poor but also among the poor themselves(Daniel, 1983). The community leader and the policymakers have blindfolded us to believe that we are our brother’s keeper and that it doesn't matter who you are to be able to get government services. For a long time, the rights of every Australian has been protected to the letter as well prescribed in the society to ensure equality of all the members of the society. But this has just been a mirage as the very fundamental rights an freedom of every Australian is now more of a state privilege given based on your social status in the community(Buckley and Wheelwright, 1988). This essay stands to wash out all this myth and infer a harsh reality of the situation in Australia that makes it more of an exceptionalism society than its glory of egalitarian. Reading through the essay you will no doubt be convinced that the Australian community has actually lost its glory just like the Frenchmen lost it in their French revolution of equality and brotherhood and the society has embraced capitalism which a conspicuous separation of various social classes and niches. The essay summarises in its conclusion the very core reasons why Australia qualify to be called an Aristocratic state just like the Britons are well known for where social classes and status is the order of the day and affects almost all the social-economic and political fabric of the society(Western, 1983).

To fully support the argument for thesis above, the essay has established evidence, facts, and figures that can help the average Australian understand their social classes better and wake up from their sleep and face the harsh reality that we do have classes Australia. The very first evidence is drawn from a survey on how the Australian get their income, the amount they manage and their valued assets. In a study, it was found the top richest 10% owns a massive 45% of the  Australian economy(Saunders, 2004). The same class of people owns 86% of shared and other investments in the Australian community. Leaving the other classes of citizens to divide the 14%. In addition to that, this class owns 62%  of the country’s rentals investments, inferring that they influence most of the housing policy made in the country(Saunders and Siminski, 2005). Lastly, this group has more cash flows to invest and cumulatively owns 60% of the interest-bearing deposits in our financial institutions(Wilkins et al., 2011). The above statistics justify that inequality exists in our society and it has been stratified according to class. The rich always have the final say in most decision making discourse and the middle class and the poor have to join their bandwagon since to rich they are more of slaves than equals.

Evidence for Egalitarianism Fallacy

According to the Oxfam Australian fact sheet, on wealth and income, further proves that the no class myth. The top richest among the community generates a disproportionately high income compared to the other citizens setting up a class of their own that every Australian wants to be. The study shows that the richest 10% enjoy a whopping 28% more than their poor class counterparts(Morley and Ablett, 2016). The figure below summarises this evidence,


Using the Marxisms approach which provides a framework to fully stratify a society bring a fresh evidence to the discourse, the analysis shows there is a big class difference in our political dispensation shows a different class preference for a particular party. A pollster done by Ipsos Synovate show a bigger percentage of 34% who are self-described working class not knowing who they will vote for if the election were held today(Poulantzas and O'Hagan, 1973). They were rather undecided. This percentage represents twice what the upper/ middle-class report. The latter reported 15% undecided rate for their preferred candidate. Those who were able to explicitly identify with the various political parties were 50% among the upper/middle class while the working class had 42% preference for a particular political dispensation. The labor party had its support base among the working class with a 41% acceptance rate thanks to their soft policies on the working conditions while the upper/middle class had relatively lower acceptance rate for the labor party with a 31% relative to the working class(Bottomley and De Lepervanche, 1984). This brings the premise that our choice for political parties is largely dependent on the social class we live in. The working class associate with the labour party since it promises to deliver better working conditions while in power, while those in the lower social strata had a lot of preference for the green party partly because they think the green party shall equitably redistribute the national cake among the citizens to reduce the shameful social class stratification which according to Marxism theory has its origin in the new capitalist economy. This again proves our society is actually based on classes(Baldwin, 1990).

This paragraph in particular is a bombshell for the doubting Thomas who still think we don’t have social classes in Australia, A study on the thought of the Australian class system has revealed very compelling evidence that is hereinafter discussed, The study which surveyed 1200 Australians made the following new discoveries, 50% of the Australian population identify themselves as the middle-class strata(Connell et al., 1992). Another group who identified themselves as belonging to the prestigious working class comprised the 40% of the correspondences. In addition to that, 3% of the guinea pigs identified with the fortunate and called themselves as the upper class. The research further conducted an analysis of the research and mined some new discoveries that have further suggested six social strata, Analysis shows that 25% of the respondents belong to the different social strata(McGregor, 1997). These classes are described below

Political Space In The Aristocratic Society

 


  1. The precariat: These group according to the survey represent 13% of the correspondents and they mainly made up of the low income earning bracket who mostly are unemployed or receiving some government subsidies since most members of this class do not have adequate income to afford basic services(Denny and Churchill, 2016).
  2. The Ageing Worker- This social class of the population is majorly comprised of the retired members of the society who have given their service to the country and are comfortable receiving some form of reward from the government in terms of pensions. The class constitutes 14% of the total population. Their dependency ratio on the working class is high and mostly receive benefits from their son and daughters. Though they have reduced strength, their experience in the country makes them vital source of information for some policymakers and opinion leader who use them to champion their political interests(Australia, 2011).
  3. New Workers: This class of people is unique, They mainly comprise of the recently graduated students in their entry-level jobs or some form of an internship. Their net pay may not match their counterparts in the higher social strata, but their hard work and determination make them successful low pay notwithstanding. They are vital voting block since they usually vote for one political outfit and usually as a block, this makes them a key strategic class for the greedy political class who use them to champion for their selfish interests(Mummery et al., 2005).
  4. Established Middle: Although this class usually score below the new workers based on their fulltime employment rates, this class is more comfortable and lie relatively luxurious life, thanks to their accumulated wealth they have earned during their prime working days. This class always enjoy good vacations in some five-star hotels since they usually have enough disposable income. Their children are also schooled in prestigious institutions where they get to mingle with the sons and daughters of their mates in this strata.
  5. Emerging affluent: This class of the Australian community is reported according to the survey to earn relatively more income their counterparts in the established middles class. But something worth knowing, according to the survey, they generally accumulate less income in matters of savings and their assets.
  6. Established Affluent: This class in the Australian society is by far the closest Australia has to become an Aristocratic state. This capitalist mafia is the movers of the economy, reporting the best social, political and cultural life scores. They are mainly CEO billionaires of some of the going concern in the country. Their accumulated wealth represent 45% of Australian GDP. This class is a strategic voting class for those with political ambitions as they are mainly approached to finance and sponsor most of the campaign. They are the opinion leaders and policymakers of the Australian community.

I know most readers like our grandparents still dream of egalitarian Australia, But looking at a report by ABC, the number of people enjoying the national cake is diminishing. A good can only be judged by the number of people in the top social; strata, The study shows most Australian population is between the poor and the middle class(Broadhead, 1985).

Conclusion

There is so much being talked about concerning whether a class system exists in Australia or not. Many scholars have put this patented argument that class is no longer of much value in our society and then an individual identify and trademarks and chances in life are established on a factor such as intelligence, lifestyle, values and the level of education. They have made us believe our society has transformed from a consumption to production based society. This myth has been deconstructed in the essay by providing facts and figures that point to the premise that actually class system is here to stay and the Australian community is not spared. Those who are lucky to be in the top social strata enjoy most benefits with the widespread of capitalism philosophies. Your social class determines which hotels you can accommodate in, what kind of cars you should drive, the amount of property you can have, the type of schools your children should board. The political space is equally not spared and most decision to vote for or vote against a particular candidate is majorly based on the fact that you identify with the class of the aspirant. This sorry state of affair has affected the Australian core social fabrics and made lost the glory of being an egalitarian state and has since metamorphosed into a near aristocratic state with capitalism ideologies.

References

Australia, S. W. 2011. Compendium of workers’ compensation statistics Australia 2008-09. Canberra: Safe Work Australia, 24.

Baldwin, P. 1990. The politics of social solidarity: class bases of the European welfare state, 1875-1975, Cambridge University Press.

Bottomley, G. & De Lepervanche, M. 1984. Ethnicity, class, and gender in Australia, Allen & Unwin.

Broadhead, P. 1985. Social status and morbidity in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 9, 87-98.

Buckley, K. D. & Wheelwright, E. L. 1988. No paradise for workers: capitalism and the common people in Australia, 1788-1914, Oxford University Press, USA.

Connell, R. W., Connell, R. W. & Irving, T. H. 1992. Class structure in Australian history: poverty and progress, Longman Cheshire.

Daniel, A. E. 1983. Power, privilege, and prestige: Occupations in Australia, Longman Cheshire.

Denny, L. & Churchill, B. 2016. Youth employment in Australia: A comparative analysis of labor force participation by age group. Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 1, 5.

Mcgregor, C. 1997. Class in Australia, Viking Penguin.

Morley, C. & Ablett, P. 2016. A critical social work response to wealth and income inequality. Social Alternatives, 35, 20.

Mummery, W. K., Schofield, G. M., Steele, R., Eakin, E. G. & Brown, W. J. 2005. Occupational sitting time and overweight and obesity in Australian workers. American journal of preventive medicine, 29, 91-97.

Poulantzas, N. & O'hagan, T. 1973. Political power and social classes, NLB London.

Saunders, P. 2004. Examining recent changes in income distribution in Australia. The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 15, 51-73.

Saunders, P. & Siminski, P. 2005. Home ownership and inequality: Imputed rent and income distribution in Australia. Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy, 24, 346-367.

Thompson, E. 1994. Fair enough: egalitarianism in Australia, Thomas Telford.

Western, J. S. 1983. Social inequality in Australian society, Macmillan Co. of Australia.

Wilkins, R., Warren, D., Hahn, M. & Houng, B. 2011. Families, incomes, and jobs, Volume 6: a statistical report on Waves 1 to 8 of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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