Describe the functionalist view of social stratification, and the conflict theory’s view of social stratification:
Then take a pro or con position on each of the following three points: first, social stratification is necessary for societies to exist and prosper; second, the United States functions, overall, as a meritocracy; and third, human beings, driven as they are by human nature, are incapable of ever creating and/or living in a classless society. Provide detail about ‘why’ you are taking the pro or con position for each point.
I would say that I tend more to agree with the functionalist view and therefore to agree with the first statement. I believe that stratification comes naturally and actually benefits society to some degree and I do not believe it is caused by the upper classes systematically oppressing the lower.
Human nature being what it is, I find it hard to believe that a prosperous society could ever be fully egalitarian (at least in terms of economic outcomes). It seems to me that people are too selfish to work their hardest if they are not going to be able to profit from their efforts any more than someone who does not work as hard.
Overall, I think the US does function as a meritocracy, which is a major reason why we have so much inequality.