Are there any advantages of social stratification?

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kateanswers eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Whether or not there are any advantages to social stratification really depends on who you are and where you fall in that system. By its very nature, social stratification limits access to power, prestige, and privilege by systemically oppressing and exploiting particular groups of people. Though complex societies rely on the differentiation of labor, there does not necessarily need to be a differential distribution of wealth based on irrelevant characteristics like race, gender, ethnicity, bodily ability, religion, health status, or socioeconomic background. 

I would say that there are advantages to social stratification for those who fall into the preferential categories and higher ranks of stratification. Though there may exist advantages in access to power, prestige, and privilege, they are not justified in a system of social stratification. Where there are systemic advantages, there are also disadvantages. For example, in the United States, there persists a racial and ethnically based system of social stratification which gives preferential access to health, wealth, and education to white people, while placing People of Color in a cycle of poverty. For every one white person who does well in the United States, there is a handful of People of Color who have been denied the opportunity and resources for achievement.