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Wealth Inequality and Stratification in the World Capitalist Economy

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
Author:
Jenny Chesters University of Canberra jenny.chesters@canberra.edu.au

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Abstract

Social inequality is generally conceptualized in terms of economic disadvantage related to income, however this approach ignores another equally important dimension of social inequality: wealth inequality. Drawing on world systems theory and a Marxist perspective on social class, in this article I examine the interrelationship between stratification in the world economy and stratification within national economies with a view to developing a global class schema. This examination of trends in the net worth and the location of the wealthiest individuals in the world indicate that the rapid expansion of the world economy in the past three decades has affected the global distribution of wealth with an increasing proportion of the transnational capitalist class residing in semi-peripheral nations.

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