Social Class Differences and Cultural Diversity in Great Britain and India

Essay by mellybHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

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Though Great Britain and India have similar governmental structures, their social systems and cultures differ significantly. Great Britain is an industrialized and wealthy First World power, while India is a vast nation with a population more than sixteen times that of Great Britain and a huge number of its citizens in poverty. The governments of both countries have dealt with conflicts involving social class differences and cultural diversity. To combat these conflicts, Great Britain has reevaluated its bicameral system, established more social welfare programs, and attempted to create antidiscrimination policies, while India has endeavored to augment the growth of the middle class, created affirmative action policies for former "untouchables," and sought to include many subcultures and languages in the policy-making process.

Social class differences are a notorious source of conflict in Great Britain. One's accent or mannerisms are often a giveaway of birthplace and social status, and this creates much resentment in the lower classes.

Moreover, since the 1980s, income inequality between the rich and the poor has been increasing due to high unemployment, immigration, and salary gains among the educated. To combat this potential discord, the British government has moved to make the governmental structure less dependent on social class standing. The House of Lords, previously a powerful lawmaking body, has been virtually stripped of its power. Instead of a legislature partly controlled by wealthy inheritors of titles, almost all political power now lies in the House of Commons, which consists of representatives elected in single member districts. As with social equality, cultural diversity is playing an increasingly large role in British politics. Nonwhite people now make up 6% of Great Britain's population, and an ultra-right wing anti-immigrants movement has begun to form in response. In the summer of 2001, race riots in Brixton displayed the frustrations of both...