Functionalism is premised on the assumption that society is akin to a living organism, with different parts performing different functions for the general well being of society. Barbara has criticized society for allowing low-wage jobs where people are paid lowly while doing a lot of work. However, low-wage jobs are necessary and functional for society. Society has established a mechanism through which it gives people different positions and responsibilities in society, depending on their abilities. Education, which is a function of society helps in differentiating society through a meritocracy. The most skilled persons are given the most important jobs while the lesser skilled ones perform the less demanding tasks. The structure of society is such that it requires more menial workers than skilled workers. Since menial work does not require specialized skills and can be done by practically anybody, it makes sense functionally to pay these workers lowly because not only are they many but also they can be easily replaced. In addition, paying them lowly makes functional sense since it is very difficult for society’s economy to support highly paid menial workers.
However, it has to be noted that having low-wage jobs can also be dysfunctional for society. A society exists only because of its people, who form the basic building unit. The people doing low-wage jobs form a significant portion of society. When they are paid low wages, their lifestyle is likely to be poor as they cannot afford the necessities that constitute a comfortable existence in society. When people are unable to afford basic life comforts, they are pushed from the mainstream and only eke a living in the fringes. A society cannot be said to be functional when a significant portion of that society cannot afford a comfortable life. Therefore, having low-wage jobs leads to a dysfunctional society through the creation of an underprivileged class, that cannot fit into the society.