Social Stratification

“Meritocracy is an ideal system based on social stratification as the result of personal effort” (Openstax, pg. 188). From this definition, I do not believe that America has meritocracy. I say this because although people get far with putting forth a lot of effort, they don’t move up in the social ladder due to their efforts. Say a man starts out as the dishwasher, he will begin by putting in a lot of effort to show his worth to the company, and he will be promoted to server. This may then lead him to becoming manager, but he will never truly get up to a new level in the social ladder because of his ability to do well at his job. Another example would be from the book, “While meritocracy has never existed, it is the ideal system” (Openstax, pg. 188). This example from the book, shows that even though we can get close to meritocracy, you can never truly move up to a new social class just due to your personal efforts.

With respect to each theoretical perspective, I would have to lean more towards the conflict theorists point of view. I do not believe that a basketball player should be paid more than the person who teaches the youth of tomorrow how to function in society. Although I can see that basketball players are paid for entertainment, the teachers who work tirelessly to help advance the next generation should be paid more highly. As the book says, “Conflict theorists assert that stratification benefits only the few, not the all” (Openstax, pg.197) Also, Marx’s ideas still stand that the upper class get paid more, while the lower working class are paid so much less.

Mosca’s idea that humans are innately self-centered is very true in my opinion. We may say that we are doing for others as just a way to be kind, but do we really? I see it as you may do something nice for someone, but you have a reason for doing it. Maybe you know that if you help them this time, they will help you next time. Or maybe you could see it as a way to prove that you can do nice things for others, which helps yourself image. I’m not saying that everyone is like this, but I believe that in everything that we do, we have some sort of motive that may help us later on if we do something for someone else.