In the article entitled “The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All,” sociologist Herbert J. Gans discusses the strange alliance between the poor and the wealthy in American society. He states that the underprivileged in essence have kept several vocations in existence such as social work, criminology, and journalism. These vocations serve the double pretense of aiding the less fortunate and protecting society from these same individuals. He compares his analogy with that of Richard K. Merton, who applied the functional analysis theology to explain the prolonged existence of the political machine in urban areas.
Mr. Merton’s reasoning was that the political machine continued to exist because it served several positive functions in society. Mr. Gans applies this same logic to the existence of poverty in a society that had so much material wealth and concluded that poverty had 13 functions in society that was beneficial to non-poor members. They … Read More