How can solidarity bind the rich and the poor?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The wording and classification of the question is confusing.  I think that solidarity refers to the aspect of coming together and unifying, demonstrating a sense of cohesion amongst one another. This will be the position from which.  I also think that this is a challenge given the economic conditions that play a determinant role in rich or poor and how these factors impact how individuals see themselves and one another.  There can be elements that help to wash over such divisions.  Nationalism can be a part of this.  For example, in the days following the attacks of September 11, there was an amazingly high amount of solidarity amongst all Americans.  There seemed to be a social cohesion that transcended class or economic status in defending national honor.  On a much smaller level, international competition can, to a certain extent, provide the basis for solidarity between rich and poor.  For instance, Spain's pride at its recent World Cup win is a setting where rich and poor can bond over a collective element that speaks to both ends.  In my mind,  that there are situations that can provide a fertile ground for solidarity between rich and poor, but I also believe that the division between both classes is so strong and stark in so many aspects of consciousness that these situations are rather few and far between.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Arto Laitinen and Anne Birgitta Pessi, authors of Solidarity: Theory and Practice, solidarity roughly conforms to the French idea of "fraternity," which was part of the French Revolution along with liberty and equality. Solidarity can bind the rich and the poor together through the idea of justice posited by philosopher John Rawls. According to his theory, social justice requires structuring inequality in the society so that the situation is best for those who are most disadvantaged, not most advantaged. This principle supports the idea of solidarity because in a situation involving true social justice, rich and poor want what is best for each other and for everyone. If the idea of solidarity is supported in society, then the rich and poor will be bound together because everyone will be looking out for the least advantaged. This situation puts everyone on an equal footing because everyone is working together to protect the disadvantaged. In this scenario, if a person lost his or her advantages and became disadvantaged, the society would try to protect them. Therefore everyone in this society would have protections, and the rich and the poor would be united in a common interest.