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An Exerpt From The Book "Down To Earth Sociology" It Explains How The Existence Of Poverty Is Benefical To The Affluent In American Society

807 words - 4 pages

The Uses Of Poverty: The Poor Pay AllHerbert J. GansThere is much more to poverty than having to "tighten your belt". In fact, sociologists that have studied the poor have found that they are faced with such dangerous and damaging social conditions that within their subculture there is a higher divorce rate, more frequent health problems, a higher rate of school dropouts, and a higher rate of crime.As sad and horrible as this may seem, poverty has a number of functions in our society. Associating poverty with positive functions seems at first to be unimaginable. However, the author, Gans, helps to shed some light on exactly how the poor can help satisfy a number of positive functions for the ...view middle of the document...

Included in this category may be day-old bread, secondhand clothes, and cars and housing that is old and/or deteriorating.5.)They fulfill the norms of society as being deviant. Although there is evidence that the poor are about as moral and law abiding as everyone else, they are more likely to be caught and punished for participating in deviant acts because they do not have the financial or political power to correct these things.6.)They can be stereotyped. The poor are thought of as being more sexually uninhibited, and participate in more alcoholic and narcotic behavior.7.)The existence of poverty serves a cultural function when the more affluent people in society adopt it. Rich persons often collect artifacts from poorer cultures. Perhaps a better example in America would be the listening of blues, Negro spirituals, and country music, all of which evolved from poor cultures.8.)Poverty helps to establish and guarantee the status of those who are not poor. In a society like ours, there is always somebody that has to be at the bottom. In this case, the function of the poor...

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