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Describing social inequality through the movies elysium and comparing it to australia nowadays Essay Example

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Name of the Class

Name of the School

8 April, 2014


The film Elysium is a projected future of the behavior of earth’s population. Considering the increasing population and reducing resources in the earth, the movie provides a scenario of the social class stratification with the basic theme of the existing gap between the wealthy and poor society. Social inequality entails availing unequal opportunities to people such that one group (based on statuses, age, class and ethnicity among others) is made superior over the other in the society. Minority privileges can be realized easily in the film and though exaggerated with the majority wealthy living in luxurious space platforms, it is not far from present reality. This culture of social inequality is reflected in the modern Australian society and demonstrates the existing social stratification of the society. The following section elaborates the themes of social inequality between space and earth’s life as projected in Elysium film and compares it to the Australian society through poverty and unemployment themes

Poverty vs. luxury

The movie makes use of class in society to expose the privileges afforded by the rich and poor people. The wealthy people have lots of privileges and afford luxurious life in Elysium space society, while the poor are restrained on Earth, which is an overpopulated place suffering from poverty and executions of high crimes. The two settings elaborate the kind of life the people living in enjoy or have to cope with for survival. Max and his girlfriend’s childhood and the rest of his lifetime depict the hardship and sufferings of humans in Earths. It’s a place characterized of environmental ruins, majority in slums and scrambling of the limited resources, while the rich enjoy comfort and power in their elevated lives in space stations, away from spoils and exposure to hazards in the Earth. Max wishfully desire to be Elysium, but he is categorized as one of the other kind that dwells on Earth. He is tired of oppression and engages in a mission to save planet Earth. The film brings out the most concealable and disturbing ideas of reality, and demonstrates how the lives of the wealthiest groups in society affect those of the poor beneath them.

The movie is closer to reality of the living conditions of people within wealthiest and poorest areas of Australia. Edgecliff and Mosman regions of Sydney reflect Elysium’s lives of the modern wealthy community while that of Liverpool region and its congested lifestyle depicts the society in earth from the film. According to Sowey (2013), opportunities, income and wealth in Australia is unevenly distributed, which sets different living standards for people in Sydney society; people from Liverpool region among other indigenous Australians suffer systematic inequalities with wide gaps on their healthcare, employment, housing and education when compared to the Edgecliff and Mosman in NSW (p.1-2). The lifestyles of the two different worlds of rich and poor demonstrated greater differences through their financial and social indices.


Unemployment is well linked to social inequality considering that the income generated from the job would dictate what kind of resources a people can access in their lives. High unemployment and underemployment are contributing factors to social inequality; they not only reduce people’s bargaining power, but make people to live in impoverished conditions due to their low purchasing power. The film Elysium shows the high cases of unemployment by the black society in earth, other disadvantaged like Max have low income jobs in factories; his girlfriend (a nurse) is underpaid and is unable to provide sufficient healthcare for her sick daughter. The people of Elysium have robots and technology working for them, while those on earth are denied their rightful place in employment by the same technology they strive to develop. It replaces and manages them in factories, not available to heal their sickness as in Elysium and keeps them off from accessing suitable privileges from space station.

Unemployment in Australia can be adequately explained in political terms rather than individualistic concept. People are not unemployed because they lack creativity or skills to perform various high jobs, but because of uneven resource distribution across the different parts of Australia. Politically and economically, resources are directed for investment in specific areas of the regions, which makes those areas to develop more than others. For example around Liverpool neighborhoods, long term and youth unemployment remain high and made far worse by the closure of industrial plants that created jobs for the surrounding community. Effectively, incomes for households in within Liverpool remain very low compared to areas like Mosman, which economically gives an explanation to their social division. However, government policies such as pensions and allowances have been assisting households with at least a single person with long term unemployment to boost their income and living standards (ABS, 2011, p.5). Political efforts are coming in to enhance individuals’ economic wellbeing, where federal and state governments are working close together to provide financial aid for new entrepreneurs and investors. Unlike in Elysium where immigrants are restricted, Australian immigration allows people through various categories for temporary or permanent migration, which contributes to the Australian employment, spread of business, healthcare and technology skills to the society.


Social inequality is a distinctive feature of Movie Elysium and markedly shows the division of society as those who have and those without. It exposes how the elites of the society access honorable privileges while the disadvantaged are denied similar benefits. The social stratification of the rich vs. poor in Elysium firm is well replicated in modern Australians society. Though the film challenges social inequality through an individual mission to bring equality to the poor society, this is achieved in Australian society by political and economic means. Besides individuals’ efforts, they can together strive for equality in a divided society through social policies.


ABS. 2011. Australian Social Trends September 2011: Long term Unemployment.
[Online] Available at: <http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/LookupAttach/4102.0Publication21.09.113/$File/41020_Longtermunemployment_Sep2011.pdf>[Accessed 8 April 2014]

Sowey, M. 2013. A Fair Australia. [Online] Available at: <http://www.australiancollaboration.com.au/pdf/FactSheets/Fair-Australia-FactSheet.pdf>[Accessed 8 April 2014]