The Davis-Moore thesis is a sociological theory that suggests that there is a relationship between social stratification and economic productivity. The thesis was first proposed by Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore in 1945, and it has been a controversial topic ever since.
There are three main parts to the Davis-Moore thesis:
1. Social stratification is necessary for society to function.
2. The more important the job, the higher the salary should be.
3. Inequality is functional for society because it motivates people to work harder.
The first part of the thesis has been widely accepted, even by those who disagree with the rest of the theory. The second and third parts, however, are much more controversial.
Critics of the Davis-Moore thesis argue that it justifies inequality and fails to explain why some jobs are more important than others. Supporters of the thesis argue that it is a realistic theory that explains how society functions.
The debate over the Davis-Moore thesis is likely to continue for many years to come. Sociologists will continue to study the relationship between social stratification and economic productivity, and new research may help to shed light on this complex issue.
Social inequality has several practical results. Inequality in society is frequently caused by uncontrollable factors such as race, gender, inheritance, and financial resources accessible to the individual. Because these elements are uncontrollable yet are still determined by society to have a specific worth, highly skilled individuals may lose the advantages of their superior intellect.
The Davis-Moore thesis argues that inequality is necessary in order to motivate individuals to attain the most important and hardest to obtain jobs in society. The higher the stakes, the more likely people are to work hard to achieve them. Therefore, inequality is functional for society because it provides a way to motivate individuals to do the jobs that keep society running smoothly.
While there are some functional consequences of inequality, there are also many negative consequences. Inequality often leads to discrimination and prejudice, as well as economic instability. Sociologists have long debated the role of inequality in society, and whether or not it is ultimately beneficial or harmful. The Davis-Moore thesis is one of the most famous arguments in favor of inequality, but it is by no means the only perspective on the issue.
Furthermore, establishing an artificial hierarchy ensures that certain groups of persons will not succeed in society as long as the creators of the caste system remain in control. Finally, this value reduces individual striving for success (Huaco 1966). Natural competition drives society, and with artificial limits imposed by uncontrollable factors such as quality by which we judge value, the society will not expand or develop.
The Davis-Moore Thesis has been met with much criticism since its conception. One of the most common arguments is that the theory does not explain why some people are born into high status families while others are not, and this lack of explanation creates a class system that is difficult to break out of (Lukes 1973).
Additionally, many argue that the Davis-Moore Thesis is elitist in nature, as it suggests that those who are in power deserve to be there because they have more value. This way of thinking leads to a justification of inequality and can create an environment where the powerful abuse their positions (Sidgwick 1874). Finally, some argue that the Davis-Moore Thesis does not take into account the fact that people can change their social status, and that mobility is not as static as the theory suggests (Rosenberg 1955).
While the Davis-Moore Thesis has been met with criticism, it is important to remember that the theory is based on the idea of functionalism, which is a widely accepted sociological perspective. Additionally, the theory does provide a way to explain why inequality exists in society, even if it does not provide a complete explanation.
To illustrate, the Davis-Moore Thesis claims that everyone has the ability to learn a subject like medicine. Salaries for physicians in highdemand specialties are higher than normal when there are few specialists available. This idea suggests that money be given as a reward since the job is highly useful in society, and because there are few who can perform it (Hauhart, 2003).
Nurses who have less education and expertise than a doctor earn less money. Teachers, on the other hand, are highly valued throughout society, but they are paid far less than professional athletes. Every individual knows something about a specific topic or field; nevertheless, those professions that the society considers most essential should be compensated the highest.
It is also worth noting that the most highly rewarded individuals are not necessarily the most skilled or knowledgeable, but those who are in the highest demand. The Davis-Moore Thesis attempts to explain this phenomenon.
The Davis-Moore Thesis has been met with criticism by many sociologists. One of the main criticisms is that the theory does not take into account jobs that are important but not scarce. For example, teachers are important but there are many people qualified to do the job, so they are not paid as high as doctors.
Another criticism is that the theory relies on a meritocracy, which does not always exist in reality. Finally, some argue that the theory does not explain why some jobs that are important and scarce are not highly paid, such as social work. Despite the criticism, the Davis-Moore Thesis is a widely accepted theory in sociology.
There are several faults with the idea. Assum ing that individuals’ skills are inherent rather than earned is a logical fallacy in determining someone’s competent based on society’s rewards, such as money or power. Furthermore, the principle does not clarify which jobs are more honorable in society; it simply states that all societies must have these roles to operate. Based on their level of rewards offered by society, these occupations are merely assumed to be more valuable.
Finally, the Davis-Moore Thesis suggests that social stratification is functional, yet there are many societies with little to no stratification that function quite well.
The theory has many fallacies. Determining that an individual is qualified based on the rewards chosen by society that they have, such as money or a position of power, assumes that their abilities are inherent rather than merited. Furthermore, the theory does not clarify which positions are worth more in society, yet states that all societies must have these positions in order to function. These positions are merely assumed that they are more valuable based on their level of the rewards society gives them.
Finally, the Davis-Moore Thesis suggests that social stratification is functional, yet there are many societies with little to no stratification that function quite well. Sociologists have critiqued the Davis-Moore Thesis, stating that it does not accurately reflect reality. While the theory may have some truth to it, there are many factors that contribute to social stratification and functionality that are not taken into account.