The issue of income inequality and downward mobility of working class has been critical issue in our national politics. According to various statistics, income inequality in the U.S. is on the higher side compared globally with other industrialized countries. For example, see a Pew Research Center articles on different measures of income inequality in America: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/19/global-inequality-how-the-u-s-compares/ You can also see an article about how the U.S. fares on this issue, compared to other countries: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/09/22/the-many-ways-to-measure-economic-inequality/.
In addition, we have economic gaps across races and genders: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/01/racial-gender-wage-gaps-persist-in-u-s-despite-some-progress/ Based on these statistics, pretend that you are a functionalist professor teaching about this issue from his/her functionalist views. What would you say about why we have these various economic gaps (between top and bottom earners, between men and women, and between race groups)? In this essay, try to explain this social phenomenon using the concepts/theories of either Parsons or Merton. Keep in mind that you have to pretend that you hold functionalist views on society. In other words, your essay may not reflect your own positions/perspectives. You will try to APPLY functionalist views on our contemporary society. Also, as the assumption of your essay, you should accept 1) income gaps are fairly big in America (among industrialized nations), and 2) have been growing since the 1980s; these have been well-established by statistics from many different angles, including but not limited to, the links I provided above. Your jobs is to explain WHY this is happening, whether these are functional to society, and/or whether it is likely to continue or change, by taking a functionalist viewpoint.