Structural Functionalism In Poverty

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Poverty: is it functional? There are about 45 million Americans living in poverty as of 2013. According to Business Dictionary, the definition of poverty is “a condition where people’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met” (Poverty). There are two different kinds of poverty, absolute and relative poverty. Absolute poverty is defined as the lack of or severe deprivation of the basic means of survival, such as food, shelter, safe drinking water, and education. Relative poverty is when a family’s income and way of living falls below the standard of living that is deemed acceptable within a society. Of course, poverty is not something that people want, and is tragic for those who are affected by it. However, some structural…show more content…
Those that have not adapted and cannot compete will encounter difficulties and will, eventually, die.” (Basirico, Barbara, and J. Ross, 2014) According to this aspect of it, poverty would be seen as functional because it essentially “weeds out” the weaker members of society. One other idea supported by structural functionalism would be that poverty provides other jobs for members within a society. Programs like the salvation army, the United way, and Medicaid all provide jobs for a variety of people. Also, social workers are provided with a lot of work cases that result from families that are impoverished. If poverty did not exist, there would not be a need for organizations like this. The argument is not that poverty is a good thing, but poverty would not exist if it didn’t serve a function in society. It can be beneficial in a way that motivates those to work harder to achieve higher status. It can also function as a way of weeding out the weaker members of society according to the survival of the fittest. Also, it can be beneficial because it can provide jobs to organizations or individuals who are dedicated to helping those affected by
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