Social stratification of modern societies: from economic classes to rental groups?

Social stratification of modern societies:
from economic classes to rental groups?

Martianov V.S.

Cand. Sci. (Polit.), Director, Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the RAS, Yekaterinburg, Russia

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For citation:

Martianov V.S. Social stratification of modern societies: from economic classes to rental groups?. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2016. No 10. P. 139-148


The article is devoted to the analyses of change in determinating factors of modern societies’ stratification. Global transformation of competitive market capitalism into rental model immediately affects changes in social structure of society. Reaching the limits of saturation of global markets as a resource repository of capitalism, increase of competition over resources determines the change of predominating mechanism of resource distribution: market is supplanted by directive distribution. Due to transformation of key factors of post-industrial economy contemporary societies face risig challenges to the foundational model of social stratification, based on market-based class aggregation and class relations. It is shown that optimistic attempt to stabilize conventional social structure by co-opting excessive working class (blue collars) into middle class (white collars) that is oriented to employment in service economy predictably failed since technological segments of post-industrial economy need no mass labor occupancy. Due to the lack of alternatives mass wage labor ceases to be income source for increasing number of unwanted people united within precariat concept. Protest activity of precariat can be partially compensated by social state activity: by strategies of gross working time reduction, introducing of basic income not linked to work etc. But this strategy is only possible in the most developed post-industrial countries. In the rest of the world strategies of precariat cooptation into dominating social order by opening access to various rents are economically restricted. It is posited that the new social stratification will be determined mainly not by the exhausted market economy interactions but by political and authoritative opportunities of different groups to get access to resources (capitals, wealth, rents etc.) that are distributed hierarchically. It is prognosticated that this trend will result in increase of alternative authoritative political factors of stratification (estate-based, neopatrimonial, rent-based) distributing the access of social groups to resources. In Russia economic and political power factors lead to hybrid model with market-based stratification which did not succeed to become dominating in post-soviet period is being expelled to periphery by neopatrimonial and rent-estate-based factors of social groups stratification.

stratification; labor society; rental capitalism; social inequality; middle class; precariat; resource; rents; neopatrimonialism
Content No 10, 2016