Social Question

YoKoolAid's avatar

Do all countries operate on a caste system?

Asked by YoKoolAid (2424points) February 21st, 2010

A small group of powerful people on top, and lots and lots of (seemingly) powerless people on the bottom?

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16 Answers

Just_Justine's avatar

Well I am British born but have lived in South Africa for most of my life. As a kid I arrived here the first time at around 6 then travelled the world some more and came back. So in my early impressions at age 6 I didn’t question nor understand oppression. Nor minority ruling power. As I got older and into my teens, I was angered and desperate about the whole white power scenario.

I felt helpless, most of my school mates, my family and network were racists. Of the worse kind. I am talking brutal slaying, bad language, inferred references toward black people. I got into more and more arguments with my own family and my own friends.

When I got older still I joined the Black Sash. Many of my friends were radical and many were locked up, or went missing. This was the black people that went missing not the white. They would turn up worse for wear. I cannot describe to you what a sick society this breeds. When we handed over government to Nelson Mandela it was a glorious time but also peppered with great sadness. I remember standing in the streets of the city, while planes flew over head and we all held hands together, black, white, coloured, Indian. Many of us have tried to build this nation together. I was studying Marxist theology and I mad that a black white issue. Today we still have racial issues as brought on by a bottleneck of hate generated from our past. But many of us stand firm in the belief that we can make it. Nelson Mandela is one famous person I would love to meet. For many reasons, hope and vision being some of them.

CaptainHarley's avatar

No, as a matter of fact, very few socities function on a “caste system,” although any human society will stratify based on a wide variety of factors.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@YoKoolAid, by definition what you’ve described is not a caste system. A caste system is determined by heredity.

There is social stratification based upon who your ancestors were in all cultures. However, in most education and ambition lead to betterment. I read somewhere the observation that it takes three generations of sustained effort to better your family’s socioeconomic situation, and one generation to fall. That’s certainly true in the US in many cases. People worked factory jobs, sent their kids to college, the kids have management jobs or professionals.

Cruiser's avatar

It is this type of thinking that gets countries into trouble. Many countries including mine, the people even the seemingly powerless have quite a bit of power it’s just most are too damned lazy to get off their ass and do something about it!! It’s appalling the low turn out during elections. I get real fed up with the the “woe is me” hand waving these days. Write your elected officials let them know how you feel what you want and what you expect and how you will vote next time if they don’t listen! That’s power!

CaptainHarley's avatar


Laziness is definitely part of it, but a bigger part is that most people spend so much time and effort just trying to keep body and soul together, they have little or no time to even think much about things political, much less take any sort of action.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think this is an accurate picture of most countries.

YoKoolAid's avatar

@PandoraBoxx you’re right, caste system is not the appropriate term for what I’m trying to describe

ChaosCross's avatar

As long as there is money involved in a system, there will always be those better off who act like they are more important. Part of how most humans work.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Most societies have classes. Usually based off wealth. Kind of a backwards way of running things IMO.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The closest I’ve seen to truly egalitarian societies are in Scandinavia. The stratification that occurs in most western societies is not hereditary but individual. The wealthy can afford to give their children better educational opportunities, but they are largely on their own after that (unless your name is Rockefeller, etc). In south/southeast Asia and much of Africa and Latin America such does exist; a small ruling class and helpless masses kept in place by poor education and force if necessary. A Marxist breeding ground.

gottamakeart's avatar

Other than the caste system, we can also consider “the herd mentality” “cliques” conformists vs. non-conformnists and conservatives vs. liberals. which can create somewhat of a less openly recognized “caste system”

the100thmonkey's avatar

A caste system would likely include legal or religious injunctions against marrying outside your caste. If those injunctions are not in place, then there is a class system, not a caste one. Class is often hereditary, either through the feudal transmission of titles and land, or through the educational and other opportunities afforded to children of wealthier parents.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

There are some countries were one’s social position is still firmly constrained by the social class or racial group into which a person is born. There is still remnants of the Caste system in India (from what I have been told) but many things have changed over the last fifty years.

YARNLADY's avatar

The ‘caste system’ is not what you have described. Many countries have an elite group who run the country, but that is nothing like the caste system.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I think there is some sort of hierarchical system in every country, yes. The mode of expression is different, however, depending on the country.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. In spite of how you call it I understood what you meant there is a pecking order in every nation that I know of unless it would be some very small nation in the Pacific that is the commonwealth of some larger nation. It may not fall under the haves and the have nots, but religion, or race or a combination of both. As one poster said of South Africa’s Apartheid to Iraq’s division between Sunis and Shiites. Here in the US most of the times it is done more supplely on the sly, but every one is looking for that ‘A’ on the report card; which is why so many went into debt buying things they don’t need with money they didn’t have to impress people they did not know.

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