The conflict theory in sociology states that income inequality arises from the ways in which the societal elite are systemically able to control and manipulate the poor. For example, the elite are able to perpetuate their wealth through tax dodges that allow them to pay a lower percentage of their income to taxes, while the poor toil at jobs which earn so little that they cannot hope to educate themselves or their children or gain the capital to ascend the economic ladder. These factors keep the working class poor.
From the functionalist perspective, parts of the society are meant to work together to contribute to the overall functioning of the society. Therefore, although an income gap exists between rich and poor, each person has their role to play, knitting society into an interdependent whole. Although the poor might earn less, there are also charities, both public and private, to help them, as all of society works together.
From the symbolic interactionist perspective, the white-black...
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