For this paper, you are to write a paper of at least 750 words that relates to 1 of the sociological theories reviewed in this course: symbolic interactionism, class conflict theory, or functional analysis. Any citations used must adhere to current APA format.
Complete the following for the Current Event Paper:
• Locate a current event article (6 months or less) that addresses a social problem of your choice. The article can be from a local newspaper or through an online search such as Yahoo, Google CNN, etc. The article selected cannot to be a research article.
o Use Liberty University Online Student Library Services to assist you in writing your paper.
• In the first half of the paper, you are to summarize the main points of the event discussed in the article from the sociological perspectives reviewed in the textbook (approximately 375 words).
• In the second half of the paper, you are to analyze the main points of the event using 1 of the 3 main sociological theories reviewed in the course (approximately 375 words).
Class Conflict Theory
This article examines the effects of the widening gap between the rich and the poor in the United States. According to Elliot (2017), eight billionaires who are among the world’s richest men control wealth equivalent to that held by about half of the world’s poorest population. This means that the eight riches billionaires control the wealth equivalent to that of 3.6 billion people. The article asserts that in the U.S., wealth is concentrated among a few individuals, while the masses suffer. Although the U.S. is branded as the land of opportunity, various forces have combined transforming it to the land of inequalities. The article argues that the recent trends in income inequalities could be dangerous in the long run if they remain unchecked. The article recommends for a new economic model that can help reverse the growing income gap.
A key point raised in the article concerns the factors propagating the current wage inequalities in the societies. Elliott (2017) examines two factors that contribute to the growing wage inequalities. First, wage inequalities are the result of aggressive wage restraints by corporations. This means that corporations are exploiting their workers by paying minimal wages, which makes it difficult for the workers to achieve economic mobility (the ability to improve one’s economic status and move to a different social class). By exploiting the workers, the corporations acquire more wealth that ends up with the ruling class or the property owners. The second factor contributing to the rising inequality is tax dodging by the corporations. This prevents the redistribution of income to the poor in the society, and concentrates wealth to the few who are rich.
Elliott (2017) argues that inequality is a major concern to the social stability of the United States. With the ever-increasing income gap, social stability appears to be under a serious threat. The article notes that rising racism and disillusionment among the proletariat are some of the key indicators of social instability. The rate of economic mobility in the U.S. is still low. This means that majority of people in the lower class have stagnated in their respective economic conditions and are likely to continue living in similar or worse conditions in the future. Thus, one is highly likely to remain in the social class in which he/she is born throughout their lives due to the low economic mobility. The author also argues that the government is more responsive to the needs of the privileged compared to the low and middle-income groups.
Class conflict theory asserts that exists a dominant class that controls the society’s resources, creates belief systems, and establishes rules that acts as a scaffold to remaining in power (Andersen & Taylor, 2008). The class conflict theory argues that the economic organization of the capitalist states lead to deviance among a segment of the population. This is because the rich control the resources while the poor lack access to vital resources that they could use to improve their standards of living. Elliot (2017) highlights this point by examining the high inequalities in the U.S. society. Conflict theory further argues that in capitalist societies, corporations are used to appropriating profits ill gotten through exploitation of the poor and those in the working class. Elliot (2017) contends this by highlighting the issue of aggressive wage restraints by the corporations.
Class conflict theory propounds the idea that the privileged yields great power that enables them create rules and belief systems meant to protect their interests. As such, they yield tremendous power to shape the political and economic arena of the country. Elliot (2017) contends that the privileged in the U.S. holds great economic and political power. There are thus able to influence decision making in a way that favors them, rather than looking at the interests of the underprivileged. According to class conflict theory, there exist two conflicting groups: the rich and the poor. While the poor grows smaller and richer, the richer group grows larger and poorer (Andersen & Taylor, 2008). This point is highlighted in the article, where Elliot (2017) notes that the poor in the society are experiencing low rates of economic mobility. On the other hand, the rich keeps getting richer.
The class conflict theory holds that the dominant class in the society controls the resources or means of production. On the other hand, a group of people (in this case the majority) can only access fewer resources (Andersen & Taylor, 2008). This creates tension and leads to deviance or crime. Thus, according to the theory, crime in the society is the result of social inequalities between the few rich people and the poor majority. This, however, does not necessarily indicate that the upper class does not engage in deviant acts. Rather, those in the upper class are able to mask their criminal acts due to their wealth. As Elliott (2017) asserts, instability is a recipe for social instability since it leads to deviant acts such as racism, disillusionment, and can even lead to mass protests. As the theory indicates, those in the upper class still commit deviant acts. For instance, the article notes that corporations engage in tax dodging, exacerbating the inequality problem.
Andersen, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2008). Sociology: Understanding a diverse society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Elliott, L. (2017, Jan. 16). World’s eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/global- development/2017/jan/16/worlds-eight-richest-people-have-same-wealth-as-poorest-50