How can solidarity bind the rich and the poor?

The rich and poor can bind in solidarity through nationalism, warfare, a perception of common interest, and being educated in an ethic that emphasizes the worth of all people.

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Although philosophers such as Karl Marx insisted that the rich and poor were natural enemies who could have no real solidarity, history has thus far proven otherwise. Nationalism, for example, can create a sense of shared identity that unites both rich and poor. Having the same language, values, and culture...

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Although philosophers such as Karl Marx insisted that the rich and poor were natural enemies who could have no real solidarity, history has thus far proven otherwise. Nationalism, for example, can create a sense of shared identity that unites both rich and poor. Having the same language, values, and culture can pull people of sharply different economic classes together in a sense of common identity that transcends wealth. In a successful society, nationalism convinces the populace, rich and poor that their own society, in one way or another, is better than others, and therefore worthy and worth preserving.

Warfare accentuates nationalism and is another factor that can bind rich and poor into solidarity against a common enemy. Especially when the threat is dire, such as the Nazis posed to the British in World War II, people tend to stop fighting with each other and do everything they can to help defeat a common foe.

In conflict resolution theory, theorists have shown how uncertain results can bind together rich and poor, at least on temporary basis. If for example, two housing developments are to be built on two tracts of land, one for the poor and one for the rich, and neither side knows who will get what tract of land, common interest can bind both sides together, to, for example, reject a site where radioactive matter has been buried: if the rich know that even they might end up with that site, it won't ever come into play.

Finally, education and ethics can play an important role in binding rich and poor. One of Marx's objections to capitalism—and a reason he thought a revolution was inevitable—was that capitalism destroyed the ethical bonds of mutual obligation that he said united feudal lords and serfs. If the rich are strongly inculcated with the idea that the poor are people of worth just like them who deserve to be treated decently, the two groups are more likely to achieve solidarity.

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Some political observers believe that an underlying tension does exist between the rich and poor in America and that it is being exacerbated. How can these differences be narrowed through solidarity?

First, patriotism could play a positive role. This united the country during World War II (1939–1945) and during the economic expansion of the 1950s and 1960s. The growing divide between rich and poor does not help the nation, so patriots should work together to promote unity.

Second, a shared understanding of fairness and economic realities can unify different classes. CEO pay has skyrocketed over the past several decades, while average workers' pay has barely increased. Both rich and poor need to support the passage of a living minimum wage. If all workers' basic needs (food and housing) are met, class divisions decrease. The old Horatio Alger story of "rags to riches" is a myth.

Third, it is paramount that rich and poor understand their common needs. For example, efficient public transportation benefits the whole society and economy—not just one social class. And good public education is essential for modern-day American society.

In summary, patriotism, fairness, and common needs could bind America more closely together.

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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.

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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.

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