Poverty in Us Essay

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POVERTY IN THE EYES OF A FUNCTIONALIST AND CONFLICT THEORIST There is a high level of poverty within the United States which seems to be rising each year. Compared to other modernized industrial countries combined with our high standard of living, the U.S. has some of the poorest people around. The middle class is shrinking and the poverty level is rising. This explains the enormous amount of inequality. The theoretical perspectives of both the functionalist and conflict theorist show how to understand this in a different light. According to the functionalist perspective, the interdependence of each aspect of society contributes to society's functioning as a whole. Government provides education for the children of families, which in turn pay taxes in order to keep it self functioning. The family depends on the school/government to assist in the education of future generations that will then begin the cycle over by raising children of their own and so on. In the process, the children become law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, who in turn support the government. In a perfect world, the parts of society produce order and provide stability and productivity. In an imperfect world, the parts of society then must adapt to a new order, stability, and productivity. For example, “during a financial recession with its high rates of unemployment and inflation, social programs are trimmed or cut. Schools offer fewer programs. Families tighten their budgets. And a new social order, stability, and productivity occur” (cliff notes). Functionalists believe that society is held together by a social consensus in which members of society agree, and work together to accomplish, what is thought to be best for society as a whole. Emile Durkheim suggested that social consensus takes one of two forms: •Mechanical solidarity is a form of social bond that comes into play when

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