Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Social Class

Social Class in America is still a vital part of society. It’s what distinguishes people from one another and helps people meet and gain valuable life experiences. Having several different classes allows those more fortunate to be grateful for what they have and allows people of lower classes to become inspired to reach newer/higher classes, if they want to.

I believe my family is in the upper middle class in American society. I was privileged enough to go to a private all-boys school for 10 years and attend a very good college for two years playing sports, but eventually left to transfer to another school for personal reasons. The people I tend to associate with are from the same class. However, just because I’m from a more fortunate class, doesn’t mean I’m content with where I’m at. I’m inspired by my grandparents and parents to do better than where they are currently. As with most parents, they want better for their children. I want to outgain and live better than my family has in the past. Unfortunately, this isn’t the same for all Americans. Some people aren’t as privileged as I was and cannot escape their class. In my opinion, there’s always room for improvement and I tend to look down at people who remain stagnant and aren’t trying to achieve a better life.

On the People Like US website I can somewhat relate to the story about the Italian immigrant family and the daughter trying to help her family. My goal for when I’m older is to be able to take care of my family financially and emotionally. I’d like to be able to have my parents retire comfortably knowing I’m there to support them and give them nice things. However, I won’t be able to achieve this without a drive for perfection and greater things. Like Val, I have a very supportive family. Unlike Val, my family isn’t terribly stubborn and will hopefully be able to accept my gifts knowing I’m not trying to rub my success in their faces.

In the end, a class system is very important and still relevant in American society. Its liquid enough for people to jump from class to class based off of their own ambition. The US Government does everything in its power, in my opinion, to help out the less fortunate by providing the means financially and institutionally to change classes, it just all depends on their persons own ambition to become a better citizen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I believe as technology increases we will become more and more isolated. The days when you could have hour long conversations on the phone with someone is rapidly getting further away and being replaced with text messages and online communication. I’ve noticed that in attempts to talk on the phone with people my own age there’s several awkward pauses at times. Texting allows us to wait to respond or respond immediately. However – in business, direct communication, face to face, is very important. Although, as our book stated, telecommunication is growing rapidly and allowing for more production in certain industries.

I firmly believe that the further away we get from direct contact with people; society will suffer as a whole. People are able to establish relationships through internet dating sites. In my opinion, if my ancestors were perfectly content going out and finding their wife, why can’t I do the same? I do believe, however, technology will benefit the world as a whole in the business world. It’ll allow the global market to expand greatly which will benefit everyone.

In the end, I believe communication w/o technology will still benefit us as a society and we need to keep remembering that. Technology has its place in the world as far as production and telecommunications concerned, and it’s growing, but we need to make an attempt to not let it overtake formal communication which would isolate us as human beings.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week 5 - Prisons

According to our book, it costs $25,327/year to keep a person in the prison system for one year. I personally think this is an outrageous number and think we need to find a way to reduce the cost of keeping these criminals behind bars. I believe the prison system helps keep Americans safe, but I also think that by using our tax money to pay for these criminals to still live is absurd.

I firmly believe in capital punishment. In all honesty – what’s the point of keeping a person in jail for life? Assuming someone’s incarcerated at age 25 for life, and they’re going to die at 75, we’d be paying well over a million dollars to keep him in prison. Prisoners cannot vote, they don’t have jobs, they basically are locked in a room until they pass. It’s almost cruel to keep them locked up with no hope for release back into the American population. Since 1977 the number of individuals on death row has grown, due to few executions per year because of inmates trying to appeal their cases. Even if they win an appeal, they will be in jail for life. I understand the human rights point of view, but what’s the point on keeping someone in prison and trying to reform them if they can’t become a member of society?

Many people who go to prison come out better people. I have a relative who did a number of years in prison and has come out a successful businessman living in Naples, Florida. Such cases are common, but other cases where the person comes out with no hope for a better life and continues living a criminal life. As the book says, “prisons often make offenders more hardened criminals.” They come out of jail and don’t change the people they hang out with or where they hang out and get put back into the criminal system.

If we want to “cure” the problem of hardened criminals being let back onto the street we need to develop a national rehabilitation system which would help criminals get jobs and learn how to be decent members of society w/o allowing their past to determine their lives. Otherwise, we need to find a way to keep them locked up for a low price to the law-abiding taxpayers of America.