Conflict theory best defines the trends in social inequality and poverty. According to this theory, social stratification, which leads to social inequality, is threatening the society. The rich and the poor engage in continuous competition for personal economic advantage. Competition and inequality are evitable as they are a creation of the society to attain much of the scarce resources. From the perspectives of poverty, this theory is dysfunctional as it encourages the wealthy and the powerful in the society while it discourages the poor and the unfortunate. Poverty and social status widely affect the society’s stability.
This theory criticizes structural functionalism as it emphasizes that it is tasking to establish the significance of one’s position as every position needs to be filled in to meet the objectives of the society. The society is inter-reliant and therefore every job is significant. Stratification is difficult to implement perfectly as qualified people may face obstacles when ascending the social hierarchy. Additionally, this system is beneficial to the affluent and the powerful only while the pathetic endure discouragements as they plunge in poverty when the rest flourish. According to this theory therefore, the affluent pay wages to the underprivileged who till their backyard and care for their young ones as they continue to enrich themselves through the services of the poor. Conflict theory therefore discourages the social structure and encourages equality. Another instant is when the poor and the less fortunate are able to acquire resources such as education and financial services. This group can improve their living standards over a period and manage to acquire the prestigious positions in the society, which the rich cleave on. A society, which upholds social stratification, cannot develop socially and economically as the lower class are discouraged and denied the opportunity to improve their lives.