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Australia possesses social inequality due to the uneven
distribution of its resources. The social inequality within Australia will be
measured through earnings, where the dispersion of labour market incomes will
define social classes. This will be further explored through Karl Marx’s social
theory of class, sociologists measure of inequality, and the consequences of
inequality.

Earnings inequality
within Australia can be identified through Karl Marx’s social theory of class.
Marx distinguished class by its mode of production, such as the division of
labour and earnings. The working class is “exploited? and alienated from work
produced by capitalist organisation that seeks profit (Andrew 1983: 577).
These categories are produced when repeated transactions across the boundary
both regularly yield net advantages to those on one side and reproduce the
boundary. For example, Australian
mine owners hire hewers to send coal up from underground but don’t pay
the hewers the value of their efforts. Instead, the owners use profit to reinforce the boundary
between management and workers. This alienation produces an inequality of
labour and earnings between the classes where power and control are controlled
by the upper-class society (Tilly 2005: 183). The unequal dispersion of
labour market incomes within Australia has consequently created social
inequality.

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Sociologists measure social inequality through
multiple qualitative and quantitative methods. The most widely used aggregated
measure of dispersion is Gini Coefficient which represents the wealth distribution of a nation’s residents. This method measures inequality
within scores between 0 and 1, where the higher score indicates inequality (Mierlo
et al. 2016: 3). HILDA survey data show that Australia’s Gini
coefficient was 0.303 in 2000-01 and 0.296 in 2014-15 (University of
Melbourne 2016: 29-37). Although the Gini coefficient identified
Australia’s overall household income inequality has barely changed, the ABS has
identified that wealth
distribution of Australia’s residents still indicates a difference in social
classes. The ABS also identified the labour market has become more socially unequal through a sample (University
of Melbourne 2016: 29-37). Therefore, sociologist’s measurements of inequality attests to the notion that the
dispersion of labour market incomes define social classes and reiterate social
inequality within Australia.

Australia possesses a wide variety of value-producing
resources that serve as bases of earnings inequality. Resources such as the
financial capital currently remain under the control of a small network of
persons, compare to Australia as a whole. This control has created unparalleled
potency in the production of inequality by those who control it and those who
do not (Tilly 2005: 184-188). For example, the working class have smaller
access to technology, education and information due to earnings inequality
which ultimately prevents them access to the same opportunities, qualifications
and earnings than those who control the financial capital (Tilly 2005: 188).
Tilly (2005) states that without access to these bases, persons are limited to
social change and are subject to social inequality (2005:188). Consequently,
Australia’s uneven distribution of earnings continues to create the social
classes and the earnings inequality.

Social inequality within Australia produces an inequality of
labour and earnings between the classes where power is controlled by the
upper-class society. Sociologist’s measurements
of inequality attests to the notion that the dispersion of labour market
incomes define social classes and reiterate social inequality within Australia.
Consequently, the working class are unable to break free from their inequality
because their inequality prevents them access to the same opportunities as the
upper-class society. Therefore, there is social inequality in Australia
and it has social consequences, as seen with earnings inequality.  

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