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The etiology, maintenance and propagation of social inequalities is not certain, given the now decades, nay, several centuries-old debate regarding the subject. Henslin (2012), rather than searching for a panacea to the problem, offers an overview of functionalist and conflict theories so students may choose between them or synthesize the information with their own ideas to develop their own hypotheses. A paraphrase of Henslin's functionalist argument is as follows: Some positions are more important than others. Because these important positions require greater responsibilities, they require extensive training. Extensive training is time-consuming and burdensome. People need incentive to complete time-consuming and burdensome activities; therefore, people who assume these positions must receive greater emolument than those who fill less important positions. It is in this way that hierarchy benefits society. Without stratification, according to functionalists, society would suffer ( Henslin, p. 239). Detractors of this theory posit that labeling one job as more important than another is inherently biased. I agree with such a sentiment. I cannot understand why reputable theorists would make such an emotionally-charged and subjective attribution. They should have said some positions require more training and those who hold them have more responsibility than many others. They also assert that society would be a meritocracy if positions were filled by the "most qualified" people. Instead, they aver, poverty precludes those with inherent abilities from developing them. I completely disagree with the detractors. Davis and Moore, the developers of the theory, do not equate the most qualified with most potential. Qualification arises fro... ... middle of paper ... ...tric. Secondly, rue meritocracy cannot exist in any industrial or post-industrial nation. Such societies are so large and bureaucratic and there is so much competition for excess and even survival in the case of the poor that inherent inequalities will preclude the able from receiving the proper socialization to succeed. Can anything be done to change this? My position is that little can be done, other than a minor re-distribution of funds that will make the life of the poor less miserable. Inequality ill always exist. The more funds are re-distributed and the more people are removed from ideologies of violence, drugs, and other nefarious practices, the more they will have a chance to enter the no spin zone, a place where they can see the world objectively and compete on an even-playing field against others who strive to succeed in an inherently competitive world.
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