There is a lot of positive functions poverty and the poor have on society. The existence of poverty makes sure that “dirty work” is done. “Dirty work” is classified as dangerous, physically dirty, temporary, undignified, a dead-end, underpaid, and menial jobs. In America, poverty functions to provide low-wage labor pools that makes people, willing or unwilling, to perform dirty work at lowest costs allowed. The poor subsidize tons of activities that benefit the wealthy. They have supported the consumption and investment or the private economy by virtue of the low wages they receive.
Barry Schwartz pointed out, “the low income of the poor enables the rich to divert a higher proportion of their income to savings and investment, and thus to fuel economic growth. This, in turn, can produce higher incomes for everybody, including the poor, although it does not necessarily improve the position of the poor in the socioeconomic hierarchy, since the benefits of economic growth are distributed unequally. ” Poverty creates jobs to help serve the poor and shield them off from the rest of the population.
Activities flourish because of poverty; examples would be anything considered a “number game” like the sale of heroin, cheap liquors and wines, prostitutes, pawnshops, and a group called Peacetime Army (this group only enlists poor men). The poor buy foods and other items that other people do not want, for instance day-old bread, fruits and veggies that would be thrown out at grocery stores, second-hand clothing, and deteriorating cars and buildings. The poor also provide incomes for lawyers, teachers, doctors, and other people who are either too old, incompetent, or poorly trained to attract the more wealthy clients/patients.
There is a group of poor people called the “deserving poor”, these people are disabled or just have plain out bad luck. They provide the rest of the population with emotional satisfaction. They Induce compassion, charity and pity thus allowing the people who help them feel as though they are moral, practicing a religious ethic, and that they are philanthropic and generous. The “deserving poor” let those people feel fortunate for not having to deal with what they have to being struck within the poverty hole. Poverty also promises the status of the people who aren’t poor. In a stratified society, social mobility is an important goal.
People need to know where they stand in the level of classes; poverty functions as their reliable/permanent measurement tool for status comparison. To end this long list of positive functions poverty adds to society, I have one last thing – the poor have played a large role in the shaping of America’s political process. They vote and participate far less than other groups in the economic standings. The system is free to ignore the poverty-stricken because of this; this has not only made politics more reasonable and centrist but it has added more to the stability of the processes involved in the American politics.