The Functionalist Theory Of Inequality In Modern Society

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Early theories such as Functionalist theory argue that inequality is functional for society since it makes sure that those who show the most potential talent are encouraged to develop this talent through higher education and training, with the promise of higher incomes when they qualify (deferred gratification). They state that in order for society to function properly, society must make sure that people fully use their talents. Inequalities stem from the fact that society values different roles in different ways, based on the shared norms and values of a society. Davis and Moore argue that inequality is inevitable in modern society because people need to be put into different positions based on merit. They argue that society is a meritocracy and that there is equal opportunity for all, those who are the most talented and have increased their talent via education and training will therefore occupy the most important positions. Davis and More state that this is fair as everyone finds their place in a society which offers different levels of rewards, thus inequality is legitimate. They state that since there is value consensus on the relative merit of certain occupations and the salaries they command, inequality does not cause conflict, but is seen as legitimate by all and is an accepted part of society. Talcott Parsons agreed with this and stated that inequality is inevitable, legitimate and functional for everyone. The strength of this theory is that it allows inequality to

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