Dysfunctional society

Spreading the awareness of inequality in the U.S.

Ferris students and faculty gathered to watch a movie that shed light on some of the huge inequalities that exists in today’s society.

The screening of “Dysfunctional Societies” was hosted by program assistant Shana Schadler to spread awareness to students about the injustices in the world.

“We want everyone to know about the inequality that exists because until there is awareness it will not get corrected,” Schadler said.

The film touched on topics such as wage gaps, levels of health, happiness and stress. The event was designed to spark conversation among the viewers to gain perspectives from all angles.

“In the United States, we’re one of the only industrialized countries in the world where one major illness can put you living in a cardboard box,” said Ferris Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology Penney Nichols-Whitehead. “It is one of the biggest drivers of poverty.”

Some professors shared their thoughts on inequality. They included data statistics to support their claims. Students, on the other hand, spoke about how inequality should be fixed based on personal preferences.

“I don’t think everyone should be paid equal, but they should be paid enough that they can actually afford their house, the food that they have, and be at least able to save up to do other things,” said Ferris psychology and criminal justice sophomore Jessica Erlandson.

“Economic inequality affects people in different ways,” Schadler said. “Having a discussion can help reveal how people think the issue can be handled.”

The discussion about “Dysfunctional Societies” was not limited to U.S. economics inequality, but also its health measures.

Nichols-Whitehead said stress can push pregnant women into labor, and if they’re already under chronic high levels of stress, the probability of reaching that tipping point and entering early labor is much higher than average. 

The reason for these health disadvantages such as early labor could be the result of economic inequality between rich and poor people.

“I hear a lot of people referencing this term ‘the poverty trap,’” said Ferris Adjunct Economics Professor Alex Cartwright. “The idea is that you don’t make enough. You have to consume everything that you earn. You don’t make enough to save, to accumulate capital, to invest in yourself, to better yourself, etc. And to this I’d like to say that poverty traps are a real thing, but the actual number of people that are in a true poverty trap is few and far between.”

For more information on Dysfunctional Societies, visit the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning in FLITE 408.