ASSIGNMENT SIX: U.S. STYLE SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
*Adapted from notes from Prof. Melissa Bonstead-Bruns, Soc/Anthro, U of Wisconsinâ€“Eau Claire
1) To demonstrate the interplay and effect of inequalities of opportunity (different rules) and â€‹ â€‹ condition(different material or financial resources).
2) To consider the social psychological impact of social structure on behavior and personality.
1. You will need a Monopoly board game and 4 to 8 players. Play the game for at least 75 minutes according to the rules below. You are welcome to be one of the players, but try to jot down your observations while you play to incorporate into your final write-up.
First, randomly assign one or two players to each of the following four socioeconomic statuses (SES) below. Members of the same class play as a team and should be seated beside each other. Social classes should be arranged in ascending order, with the lower SES members seated on the side of the board with the lowest property values (e.g. Baltic Avenue). Distribute starting cash accordingly:
Social Classes (SES)
Upper SES – Starts with $2000, gets $250 for passing GO
Middle SES – Starts with $1500, gets $200 for passing GO
Working SES – Starts with $1000, gets $150 for passing GO
Lower SES – Starts with $500, gets $100 for passing GO
take turns in descending order, beginning with the upper SES.
upper SES handles all banking and fee collecting.
the lower SES can buy only the purple and the light blue properties; the Working SES can
buy lower SES and maroon and or
ange properties; the Middle SES can buy lower and working SES properties plus red and yellow properties, plus utilities and railroads; the Upper SES can buy any properties it can afford.
If a family of any class is ineligible or declines to purchase a property, the property is auctioned off to the highest bid
ding eligible SES class family
LANDING ON OR GETTING
GO TO JAIL CARD: Lower SES must go directly to jail and remain there until doubles are rolled; Working SES must go directly to jail but can pay $50 to get out on the next or any of the following turns, or remain there until doubles are rolled; Middle SES must go directly to jail and roll greater than 7 to be released or pay $50 on any following turn. Upon receiving instructions to GO TO JAIL, the Upper SES immediately rolls the dice. If an even number turns up, they do not have to go to jail and remain on the space. If an odd number turns up, they go to jail but can roll again immediately. If the second roll is greater than 7, they are released; if less, they must remain until a number greater than 7 is rolled or pay $50 on any following turn.
Lower and Working SES may NOT save their â€œGet out of Jail Freeâ€ cards, but must return it immediately to the bottom of the pile.
family landing on the Free Parking corner must pay a flat tax f
ee of $200 each time to the bank. There is no lottery or other winnings associated with Free Parking in Monopoly rules.
other regular Monopoly rules apply.
Your name: __________________________
Provide your answer after each question below. Do not delete the questions. Use narrative form when responding (i.e. complete sentences and paragraphs).
2. At the end of the game, calculate the wealth of each SES. Properties are worth their purchase price, houses and hotels are worth half of what they cost, mortgaged properties are worth half the purchase price. To this value, add the amount of the cash on hand. Report the final net worth here:
Final Net Worth:
Middle SES â€‹$________________
Working SES â€‹$________________
Lower SES â€‹$________________
3. LESSONS LEARNED: Answer the following questions, dedicating at least one paragraph to each:
escribe the process and outcome of the game (each group)
What does the difference in final net worth tell us about the importance of rules in influencing success or failure in the U.S.?
Did the behavior, comments, or attitudes of members of each social class differ? If so, in what way?
Did anyone try to cheat?
What, if anything, do your observations in this exercise tell us
about the effect of social class on personality and life outlook?
do you feel most close
ly resembles life in the U.S.; the original, or the one you have just played? Explain.
Is there equality of opportunity in the U.S., or is there more work to be done?
USING TAXES TO REDUCE INEQUALITY:
Reagan Administration of the
1980s, the U.S. has been changing tax policies, reducing the amount of tax that the wealthy pay while increasing payroll taxes for the lower and middle class. We
also used to have an
additional â€œinheritance taxâ€ that
applied on estates worth more than $1 million
after a person passed away. This
the amount of money wealthy
people would inherit.
Justification for removing these tax policies was that the rich would create more jobs if they inherited more money. Good data reveal that this hasnâ€™t happened. The graph below, for example, shows the decreasing maximum tax rate on the rich over the years (the yellow line) compared to the number of jobs created, which has generally declined in the last 30 years. The rich have collectively taken home billions more each year as a result of these decreasing taxes.
The U.S. currently has a progressive tax system, where the rich are taxed a higher percentage of their salaried income than are the middle or lower classes. The rationale for this is that the capitalist system plays a part in creating rich and poor, just like the Monopoly game you just played.
Others say a flat tax system is the fairest, where everyone, richest to poorest, would pay the same percentage of their income (say, 25%). If this policy were implemented, the rich would pay even less in taxes than they do now, while the poor and middle classes would paymore.
Given this situation, which tax policy (progressive or flat) create
less economic inequality