Sunday, January 19, 2014

Income Inequality and the Sinking of the Titanic


This PBS video was so interesting, especially when it reported that the sinking of the Titanic gave the greatest exposure of income inequality during the beginning of the 20th century. The highest loss of life came from the second and third class passengers while the wealthy, first class had the best chance of escaping death. In other words, those with money were in the best location on the ship for survival (upper decks) and those with the least amount were located on the lower decks and were literally locked-down by gates in the third class compartments, so they could not escape to the top where the lifeboats were stored. It makes me wonder if we are not cruising upon a Titanic today. Those with wealth at the top flourish while those at the bottom, who cannot get by, perish.thinkingblue
Please watch the video at this link:

The Titanic was carrying 2,223 passengers on board when it sank, and out of those 1,517 died. The guests were split into first, second, and third class, and the higher classes had an advantage when it came to boarding lifeboats and being closer to the top of the deck where the lifeboats were being deployed. In addition, a locked gate that separated second and third class sections inhibited the escape of many third class individuals.
As a result, of all of these factors, there were as many deaths in the third class as the first and second classes put together. Most of the Titanic survivors were women, children, or members of the higher class within the Titanic.
As far as actual numbers go, 130 first class passengers died, 166 second class passengers died, and 536 third class passengers died. Most of the third class women and children died and most of the first and second class women and children lived. The highest casualty rate aboard the titanic was men. There was a strict women and children first rule when it came to boarding the lifeboats.
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Titanic disaster: class division and inequality. One hundred years has anything really changed?

This is my 100th blog post on WordPress and the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage. To commemorate both of these anniversaries, I decided to write this blog around the theme of this maritime disaster. A topic that still evokes passion today, as it did back then in the previous century. It is the subject of class: social class and the huge inequality between rich and poor; the divide of wealth against poverty, privilege against opportunity, social fortune against hardship.

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