Social Problems Perpetuated Essay

1142 words - 5 pages

Throughout United States history, power of the upper class has been maintained by assigning “different” people a lower, less desirable, place in society, predisposing them to social inequalities. Social stratification creates a system of social classes in which people born into a specific class have different “life chances” (Macionis 28). These classes are somewhat maintained by the fact that people tend to “take care of their own,” meaning that members of the upper class generally favor other members of the upper class and offer opportunities for advancement in society to those they feel most similar to (Doran). People from lower socioeconomic classes generally experience less life opportunity, have increased poverty and therefore have increased health issues, increased crime, decreased education, and decreased job opportunities (Macionis 38-39) These people are also often politically alienated, and therefore also lack the appropriate government influences to change their current status (Macionis 39).
The fact that United States is a Capitalist country, positions its people to social stratification. In recent history, the effect of this stratification has noticeably increased as income inequality is at its highest level in 50 years (Macionis 29). Technology may have had an impact on income inequalities as computers and machines have decreased the necessary number of workers for many jobs. Many large corporations have also outsourced jobs to other countries, possibly further compounding the issues of income inequality due to a lack of jobs for the lower and middle classes. This has caused a decrease in producers and an increase in consumers, forming an uneven distribution in society that again lends to the development and maintenance of social stratification (Doran). The most recent economic recession has also had a major part in income inequality with many workers who were previously employed full-time now experiencing complete job loss and/or greatly decreased incomes. (Farber 32). This means that the number of people falling below the poverty is increased, therefore the number of people predisposed to the various social problems associated with lower socioeconomic status, is also increased.
It is difficult for those in a lower socioeconomic class to overcome social problems. In fact, many times social inequality perpetuates social problems that created the inequality in the first place. Robert K. Merton’s Theory of Deviance explains that those in a lower socioeconomic class are not given the same advantages and opportunities as others, and must obtain the “American Dream” through alternate methods than that of those in a higher socioeconomic class. This creates a strain on the lower class that is not present in the upper class, and often leads to deviant and criminal behavior (Merton 179). A person with a criminal record experiences an increased social stigma that further prevents them from obtaining legitimate employment, thus...

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