Underclass, overclass, ruling class, supernova class<sup>1</sup>

Danny Dorling

in Fighting poverty, inequality and injustice

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427151
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302353 | DOI:
Underclass, overclass, ruling class, supernova class1

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  • Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility


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This chapter picks up the theme of structural inequality by focusing not on the poor but on those who, through their high incomes and their wealth, have disproportionate power and influence: the rich. It shows that the total wealth held by the top half of the population (excluding the top 1% which would make the comparison even less favourable) has consistently been between five and six times greater than that of the bottom half of the population. It notes that the top 1% hold riches eight times greater than the total wealth of the bottom 50% put together. It further notes that this picture of gross inequality between the very rich and the rest and between the rich and the poor has widened not only nationally but also internationally. It points out that Peter's early work on income and wealth inequality is published in the 1970s, a period when Britain was most equal, or at least, relatively, least unequal.

Keywords: structural inequality; poor; rich; gross inequality; income and wealth inequality; Britain

Chapter.  8451 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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