The Concept of Social Imagination and Inequality in the United States of America

The Concept of Social Imagination and Inequality in the United States of America

The readings covered over the last weeks mainly focused the theoretical concept of social imagination as captured by C. Wright Mills, who is one of the most influential sociologists in the country. He is a powerful scholar who came up with the idea of social imagination that we are used extensively in this essay to explain the issues of inequality in America in the 20th century. He describes social vision as a concrete way of analyzing and evaluating the society by understanding the history and uses it to understand the current situation (Mills 1). He clearly points out that individuals face different situations due to what is happening to their outside world that is beyond their control.

This is quite clear and relevant after watching the film’ Inequality for all’ by the renowned Robert Reich. The film main focus is to explain the causes as well as the effects of inequality in the lives of American people over few decades. To start with, the film shows that most economic situations were entirely different especially in the 1970’s. For instance, the labor unions were very powerful and fought for the rights of all workers in all sectors of the economy. There were strong labor movements which fostered and enhanced a collective bargaining power with the employers of the workers in the economy. Hence, workers would enjoy better wages and benefits. Secondly, the film illustrates that all the revenues that were collected through taxation were later reinvested in the economy to provide public goods that would be used by all people to improve the quality of life. These revenues were used in the construction of public learning institutions with the aim of proving quality and low-cost education to all American citizens (Mills 4). Other revenues would be invested in the construction of social amenities such health facilities, roads, bridges and many others. This tenure was coupled with a better life as families lived a better life as the breadwinners were getting a better wage which they used to support their families.

Further, the film explains the period of ‘The Great Prosperity.’ During this time, the lowest levels of inequality among all citizens were observed. This was the period before the 1970’s where the federal government had various ways of ensuring this. The wealthy people were heavily taxed. Taxation was a powerful tool that was used to enhance equality which led to the growth of the economy. This technique enabled the federal government to elevate the status quo of both the level and the middle-class citizens of the country.

However, the situation changed after 1970 where there were radical transformations of the society which ruined the American economy. This period was coupled with low taxation for the wealthy people which increased the gap between the rich and the poor people in the country. Further, workers received low wages and their collective bargaining power through labor movements was deprived of them. The rich people became richer while the poor became more inadequate. The film illustrates 400 American families had more wealth that the half of the country which was estimated to be 150 million inhabitants.

From the movie, we can learn that the current economic conditions were created. Therefore, it is the role of the policymakers, experts in various fields and all the wealthy people to join hands and discuss the possible solutions that would help transform the current economic conditions to enhance equality of all individuals. Through this, we will be able to define the political circles where the rich people in the country will not be able to buy political candidates and influence them to pass legislative laws that will protect their interests and business empires against the wrath of the federal government and that of the poor citizens (Horace 504). Workers will not be harassed and denied better wages and their rights to form unions without any fear that they will be fired by their employers. To achieve this, we must strengthen the institution of labor unions as their fight rights and represent the interest of their members to their workers. Additionally, we will be able to change the current situation where most companies are posting very high profits at the end of every financial year while their workers crumble with low wages, and they have no say.

The film created by Reich presents the current economic conditions coupled with high levels of inequality regarding low taxes for the wealthy and low wages for the workers. On the other hand, Mill provides us with possible solutions which could be achieved when we start thinking sociologically. By thinking more sociologically, we will be able to evaluate the larger structural forces and their impacts and come up with ways in which we can change the situation. We should focus more on fundamental issues especially the taxation system and change the current economic conditions for the better.





Works Cited:

Horace, Miner. American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 58, No. 3. (1956). pp. 503-507. Print.

Mills, Wright C. “The Promise of Sociology.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1950. Print.

Mills, Wright C. “The Sociological Imagination.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959. Print.

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