New Forms of Inequality and Structures of Glam-Capitalism


Author: Ivanov, Dmitry
Almanac: Globalistics and Globalization Studies Global Evolution, Historical Globalistics and Globalization Studies

The long history of capitalism can be interpreted as an evolution driven by per-manently mutating socioeconomic structures. The article is devoted to new forms of inequality that emerged during the postindustrial phase of the capitalism evolution and increase the structural complexity of contemporary societies. The spatial configuration of inequality transforms while globalization has resulted not in the ‘world society’ but rather in a transnational network of the globality enclaves: the largest cities connected by the flows of material, symbolic, and human resources. Compared to their countries as a whole, the metropolitan areas have no boundaries and are more successful with respect to economic growth although they are most unequal in terms of the Gini coefficient. The ‘onion-like’ stratification with dominant middle strata is substituted with the ‘pear-like’ bimodal stratification. This new stratification results from the rise of the glam-capitalism. The glamour is transformed from an extravagant aesthetics into a new rationality of postindustrial capitalism. Now the value creation is more related to trends than to brands or products. The owners of trends and creators of trendy goods/services compose new status groups: glam-capitalists and glam-professionals who dominate over the shrinking middle class. The flows of people, money, goods, and information are structuring the social life under the glam-capitalism and involvement in these flows becomes a factor of social differentiation. The flow-structures make inequality temporal. Rising social significance of access to trendy goods creates new configuration of inequality as traditional quantitative gap between ‘having more’ and ‘having less’ is combined with the temporal lag between ‘having now’ and ‘having later’.

Keywords: capitalism, Gini coefficient, middle class, glam-capitalism.