Social inequality has always been a controversial issue, so the opinions on it vary. Functionalists say that the presence of the rich and the poor is the way to organize society and help it survive. However, conflict theorists consider it the bone of contention for the society causing discrimination. For a better understanding of the problem, it may be helpful to see how both theories describe the access of different social groups to such goods as modern technologies.
From the functionalists’ perspective, the world strives to balance, stability, and shared values. They think society consists of interdependent parts, all of which have some functions. Thus, rich people also have roles that are important for the community, for instance, being the first adopters of new technologies. However, conflict theorists suppose that more powerful groups always take over the resources and culture of a weaker group. This means the rich deprive others of the ability to use technologies, making expensive cars, phones, and other technical achievements their privilege. Thus, conflict theorists think that the social structure based on social inequality cannot provide all its members with equal access to goods.
It seems that functionalists have a point in highlighting the benefits of social inequality. While the others may be suspicious about distrustful inventions and afraid of wasting their money, those who have more monetary funds are more likely to give a chance to these novelties and test them. By doing this, the rich may have personal goals, for instance, maintaining their social status, but at the same time, they promote progress. The companies creating new technologies, therefore, gain financial support, which allows them to develop the existing ones and make them more affordable for the rest of society. This demonstrates the connection of social classes highlighted by functionalists.