Although degrees of equality of condition vary markedly in modern societies, it is clear that even the most egalitarian societies today have considerable degrees of inequality of condition.
Equality of opportunity, on the other hand, is the idea that everyone has an equal possibility of becoming successful.
(Photo courtesy of Alex Proimos/Flickr) Sociologists use the term social inequality to describe the unequal distribution of valued resources, rewards, and positions in a society.
Key to the concept is the notion of social differentiation.
When he died in 2008, Ted Rogers, CEO of Rogers Communications, was the fifth-wealthiest individual in Canada, holding assets worth $5.7 billion.
In his autobiography (2008) he credited his success to a willingness to take risks, work hard, bend rules, be on the constant look out for opportunities, and be dedicated to building business.This is the belief in equality of opportunity, which can be contrasted with the ideal of equality of condition.Equality of condition is the situation in which everyone in a society has a similar level of wealth, status, and power.They too aspired to getting the money that would give them the freedom to make their own lives.However, as one of the inmates put it, “the only job I ever had was selling drugs.” The consequence of that was to fall into a lifestyle that led to joining a gang, being kicked out of school, developing issues with addiction, and eventually getting arrested and incarcerated.These people make the decisions and earn the most money.The majority of Canadians will never see the view from the top.By the time of his death, Rogers Communications was worth billion.At that time, just three families, the Rogers, Shaws, and Péladeaus, owned much of the cable service in Canada.However, when a social category like class, occupation, gender, or race puts people in a position in which they can claim a greater share of resources or services, then social differentiation becomes the basis of social inequality.The term social stratification refers to an institutionalized system of social inequality.