The middle class

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The middle class

Postby seladore » Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:19 am UTC

Throughout this US election campaign, both candidates have espoused the values, work ethic, and rights of the 'American middle class'. Obama constantly talks about 'tax breaks for hard working, middle class Americans'

I just wonder if the term 'Working Class' has become a dirty word in America. The people that politicians refer to as the 'Middle Class' would, I think, be called the Working class in other countries.

Thoughts?

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Re: The middle class

Postby Bluggo » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:14 am UTC

Middle class != Working class, I think.

I am not completely sure about the correct semantics of these terms in English, but I would argue that a family is middle-class if it is rich enough to have a second house and/or a second car, and working class if it does not.

By this criterion, for example, the often mentioned "Joe the plumber" is probably middle class.

Just my two eurocents...

EDIT:
Another criterion I would use is "a family is middle class if it is rich enough for paying for its children's college, should the need arise".

As for why politicians do not use "working class" - maybe it is because, historically, this term has mostly been used by socialists/communists?
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Re: The middle class

Postby TheStranger » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:05 am UTC

Bluggo wrote:I am not completely sure about the correct semantics of these terms in English, but I would argue that a family is middle-class if it is rich enough to have a second house and/or a second car, and working class if it does not.


A second car maybe (in much of the US a second car is needed for both adults in a household to get around), but a second house? Middle Class, to me at least, means a family making between 40k (for an individual) and 100k (for a couple).
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Re: The middle class

Postby Marquee Moon » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:27 am UTC

I've always associated working class with people in physical labour jobs. With fewer people working in these areas and more moving to office jobs, it just seems natural for it to be used less. In my country neither working or middle class is used very often. Politicians say "the average New Zealander wants blah blah" instead appealing to the little nationalists in all of us. Is working class used much in European countries?

Also keep in mind that with high fuel and food prices, and this housing mess, the middle class as a whole is in need of a bit of help, not just the people towards the bottom.

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Re: The middle class

Postby existential_elevator » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:28 am UTC

Middle class in the UK is fairly stratified.

At the low end, it's generally people who do not work a manual job.

Middle of middle, it's people who earn within a certain bracket

Top of middle, it's generally professionals who are not quite rich enough or well connected enough to be considered top class.

Of course, beyond that there is a definite difference to be highlighted between old money and the 'nouveaux riche'.

It makes sense that 'working class' is associated with some Marxist sentiments, "the workforce controls the means of production" etc. But, as I have had pointed out to me before, people are not always so willing to identify themselves as working class, and so might not actually feel comfortable being addressed as such.

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Re: The middle class

Postby SlyReaper » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:41 am UTC

A bit of a simplification, but I've always thought of working class being blue collar workers, middle class being white collar workers, upper class being posh people who live in enormous mansions in the countryside.

But remember, we're all middle class now. Prescott said it so it must be true.
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Re: The middle class

Postby spacefem » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:49 am UTC

I think middle class came to be more popular because everyone loves thinking he/she is middle class. if there's working class, that implies that there's a non-working class, with you having-a-job types being the lower rank. if there's a middle class then you're sandwiched between lower and upper.

Statistically, the middle 60% of households make between $20,000 and $100,000 annually... but I know lots of couples outside both those ranges who love claiming that they are still middle class. The line drawn for "evil greedy rich person" is always drawn conveniently above their salary.

Another factor... back in the day before the labor movement, blue collar workers really were a "class" because they were working hard and eeking out a living. But where I work, at an airplane company, plenty of those guys make more than I do as an engineer, thanks to unions, overtime regulations, benefits being even, etc. So if we were going to draw the line and label everyone driving rivets as "working class", it wouldn't mean much economically.

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Re: The middle class

Postby EmptySet » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:28 pm UTC

At least "the middle class" as a term actually makes some sense. Australia's glorious leader is enamored with "working families". I can only assume this means he approves of child labour - or perhaps he's confusing it with Young Labor?

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Re: The middle class

Postby SJ Zero » Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:01 pm UTC

If I remember, the class system works like this:

1. Underclass - Head to the 'hood.
2. Working Class - Minimum wage jobs, low paying factory jobs you can get without a high school education. 'pink collar' jobs.
3. Middle Class - 'grey collar' jobs like trades, some high paying factory jobs that require high school and some additional training. Lower to middle management.
4. Upper Middle Class - University educated people in white collar jobs.
5. Upper Class - Small business owners, government officials
6. "The Rich" - Corporation owners, top government officials

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Re: The middle class

Postby Jebobek » Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:16 pm UTC

I think the problem is that the Middle Class is a buzzword used incorrectly only because there was never a concrete socioeconomic definition. So there's no real correct way of using it. They just use it however the hell they want. I prefer pay-ranges over "class" terms, any day.

Whats the poverty line now in America? $2x,000/yr. What is Obama/Mcain doing for those below it? Right on top of it? $10,000 above it? $50,000 above it? $100,000 above it?

What are their plans doing to those at the poverty line working 60hrs/week? 40? 0?

When I hear "Obama/McCain going to help the middle class" I think, "What the hell does that mean? Give me some numbers."
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Re: The middle class

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:35 pm UTC

I generally go with "whatever wikipedia says must be true", and this is what wikipedia says.

The size of the middle class depends on how it is defined, whether by education, wealth, environment of upbringing, genetic relationships, social network, manners or values, etc. These are all related, though far from deterministically dependent. The following factors are often ascribed in modern usage to a "middle class":

-Achievement of tertiary education.
-Holding professional qualifications, including academics, lawyers, engineers, doctors, and clergymen regardless of their leisure or wealth.
-Belief in bourgeois values, such as high rates of house or long-term lease ownership and jobs which are perceived to be "secure."
-Lifestyle. In the United Kingdom, social status has historically been linked less directly to wealth than in the United States, and has also been judged by pointers such as accent, manners, place of education, occupation and the class of a person's family, circle of friends and acquaintances.
-Cultural identification. Often in the United States, the middle class are the most eager participants in pop culture. The second generation of new immigrants will often enthusiastically forsake their traditional folk culture as a sign of having arrived in the middle class.


I dunno, it seems like a pointless distinction. I own my own home and car, work in an office writing software, and am half-way through my education, and make about 70% of the median income in the US. I guess i'm lower-middle class...? Or something. I dunno.

Not long ago i had ceiling lights installed in my house, which meant hiring an electrician. The guy was probably 20-30 years older than i am. He worked a "blue collar" job, but also made vastly more money than i do. He was able to send all of his children to school without a problem.

My father, for his entire life, has worked in construction. He's not "middle class" because he works with his hands, but he's not "working class" because he owns the company he works for. The company just never got big enough for him to be able to stop working the line and enter a more managerial role.

I contend that the "class" system is broken.

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Re: The middle class

Postby qbg » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:00 pm UTC

seladore wrote:Throughout this US election campaign, both candidates have espoused the values, work ethic, and rights of the 'American middle class'. Obama constantly talks about 'tax breaks for hard working, middle class Americans'

I just wonder if the term 'Working Class' has become a dirty word in America. The people that politicians refer to as the 'Middle Class' would, I think, be called the Working class in other countries.

Thoughts?

The word 'class' is a four-letter word in the US, unless preceded by a word like 'middle'.

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Re: The middle class

Postby Bluggo » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:01 pm UTC

TheStranger wrote:A second car maybe (in much of the US a second car is needed for both adults in a household to get around), but a second house? Middle Class, to me at least, means a family making between 40k (for an individual) and 100k (for a couple).

Maybe it is just a matter of different habits?

In my country, it is extremely common for people to buy a small second house somewhere outside major cities and spend holidays there - they are not that expensive, and on the long term it is cheaper than going in hotels during vacations.
Plus, they are not a bad investment - you can rent them if you need to, and they can sell reasonably well if you really need money (the housing bubble has not burst here yet).

However yes, 40k-100k per year is more or less the range I was thinking of.

Marquee Moon wrote:I've always associated working class with people in physical labour jobs. With fewer people working in these areas and more moving to office jobs, it just seems natural for it to be used less. In my country neither working or middle class is used very often. Politicians say "the average New Zealander wants blah blah" instead appealing to the little nationalists in all of us. Is working class used much in European countries?

I am not sure I agree with this definition - according to it, I would be middle class and my cousin working class, despite that our wages are about the same (I think his is slightly higher, but I am not sure) and that his job requires more or less as much training as mine.

In my experience, "working class" is used quite often in Europe, but mainly from politicians from the far left and from unions - the term is loosely associated with Marxist theories of society, and understandably most center and right-wing politicians do not wish to have anything to do with that (granted, Berlusconi once defined himself "a proletarian", but... but, well, he is Berlusconi)
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Re: The middle class

Postby Zamfir » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:11 pm UTC

I once read an interesting book about the history of 'class concepts' in Britain. The book traces the use of words like 'class' and 'standing' form the 17th century or so on. Some of the conclusions:

Pretty universally, people claim that the true class-based society is something from the past, that has been going away for a while. Some people applaud that, others lament the demise, but they agree that it is on the way out. If people nowadays say that class used to be more important in the past, people have been claiming the same for centuries, so there probably never was a true class society.

Also, people use mainly three models, and individuals switch from one model to the other easily. The simplest is a two-division, where the author could place himself in either group, or a three-division where almost every author places himself in the middle group, or a continuous 'ladder' model where every person can be placed on line and compared to others.

Note the difference between the ladder model and the other models. In the group models, people at the top and bottom of one group have much in common, while the ladder model says that the top of a group has more in common with the lower rangs of the group above.

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Re: The middle class

Postby qinwamascot » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:38 pm UTC

Bluggo wrote:Middle class != Working class, I think.

I am not completely sure about the correct semantics of these terms in English, but I would argue that a family is middle-class if it is rich enough to have a second house and/or a second car, and working class if it does not.

By this criterion, for example, the often mentioned "Joe the plumber" is probably middle class.

Just my two eurocents...

EDIT:
Another criterion I would use is "a family is middle class if it is rich enough for paying for its children's college, should the need arise".

As for why politicians do not use "working class" - maybe it is because, historically, this term has mostly been used by socialists/communists?


Umm...that's pretty hard to make. Most people have to take a mortgage out for their first home, so 2 is out of the question. By this definition my family would be lower class, and we're in the 97th percentile. And we only own two cars because it's necessary; it's not like we could afford another. And about college, most people have to take out loans unless they get scholarships or go to a state school (even then, about 50% still do). What you're describing, at least in my mind, would be the wealthy class.

I just wonder if the term 'Working Class' has become a dirty word in America. The people that politicians refer to as the 'Middle Class' would, I think, be called the Working class in other countries.


The reason is psychology. I don't remember the numbers, but somewhere around 85% of Americans believe they are middle class. The reason is that we see people above and below us, so we think those immediately above are the wealthy and those immediately below are poor. In reality, you may be in the bottom 5%, but there's still a good chance that you'll label yourself middle class.

As for the working class, McCain doesn't want to reveal how bad his tax policy is for them. Likewise, Obama doesn't want the cries of class warfare. So they stick to the middle class.
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Re: The middle class

Postby segmentation fault » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:03 pm UTC

Bluggo wrote: but I would argue that a family is middle-class if it is rich enough to have a second house and/or a second car


uhh i would argue that having one of each is middle class. the upper portion at that. 2 of each is just plain rich.
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Re: The middle class

Postby Jebobek » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:09 pm UTC

Depends where you live. People in the middle class (whatever we're considering THAT at this point of the thread) can build a cottage up in the boondocs in Pennsylvania because its a bit cheaper in some places. And by build I mean Build and maintain using their knowhow. And they don't make more than 50k/yr. Then again I guess it does not count as a 100% house if you turn off the power/water/heat when you're gone.
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Re: The middle class

Postby SJ Zero » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:12 pm UTC

I'd say if you own your home and your car, you're entering the middle class. The working class and the underclass don't have the income nor the stability to say "Ok, I'm going to pay for this house for 30 years and this car for 5".

That said, 2 cars doesn't say anything about class. Cars are cheap. I personally had 2 vehicles until I sold one because I didn't need it, and I'm nowhere near owning a single house, let alone two.

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Re: The middle class

Postby Bluggo » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:24 pm UTC

Jebobek wrote:Then again I guess it does not count as a 100% house if you turn off the power/water/heat when you're gone.

Why? :?

However, I suppose I failed to take in account how much housing pricing varies between localities - what I had in mind would certainly be affordable for a family in the 50-100k/year range.
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Re: The middle class

Postby Jebobek » Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:25 pm UTC

Bluggo wrote:
Jebobek wrote:Then again I guess it does not count as a 100% house if you turn off the power/water/heat when you're gone.

Why? :?
I'm thinking cottage-style setup, not your normal house. Where you're only up there spending money on utilities once every other weekend, or something like that. Paying taxes for the property and paying bills for the power/water/heat only when you kick on a generator is much cheaper than having both things constantly active in two houses. At my friend's cottage we cut down wood and used that as most of our heat, but even with something more sophisticated it can be cheaper than a gas/electric heater+thermostat.

My whole point out of that is that people with middle-class wages can pull off a second house if they build it themselves and its not a timeshare or something.

In general you can't determine "Class" by how much crap people have. Its their socioeconomic level. And you look at quality of life to see if something needs to be done about it.
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Re: The middle class

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:29 pm UTC

Middle Class in my opinion:

No kids
Single 32K-90K
Married 50K-150K

Then just add like 10K per child for married couples.
and Maybe 15K per child for single people.

For example:
Single with 3 kids = 77K - 135K
Married with 2 kids = 70K - 170K

These numbers are based on my own skewed viewpoints.


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Re: The middle class

Postby SJ Zero » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:33 pm UTC

Money is a poor measure. If I lived in Fort McMurray, I'd need to be making more than your middle class bracket just to afford a house. There are people making 80,000 dollars there who are the working poor because of massive inflation.

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Re: The middle class

Postby Jebobek » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:40 pm UTC

Absolute numbers is not a good measure, but how much money you make vs. how much things cost to you, or are even available in your area, is a good measure of "class."

So Ixtellor could put down those numbers and they would make sense if he would tell us what transportation/house/groceries cost in the area.

Edit: Just by the way my brain works, I automatically assume he is American and lives right next to me in Pennsylvania.
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Re: The middle class

Postby 22/7 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:05 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Middle Class in my opinion:

No kids
Single 32K-90K
Married 50K-150K

Then just add like 10K per child for married couples.
and Maybe 15K per child for single people.

For example:
Single with 3 kids = 77K - 135K
Married with 2 kids = 70K - 170K

These numbers are based on my own skewed viewpoints.


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I would agree by and large with your middle class numbers (though I feel like the top end is a little high, but whatever) for no kids. However, I wouldn't agree that you can simply add 10k per kid if you're married and call it even, especially as the kids get to the age where they're needing more food, they're playing sports/participating in activities after school or on the weekends, etc. Then you get into things like a car to drive and extra car insurance. I'd ball park it closer to 15-20k/year for a kid, especially at the upper end of your definition of middle class. Maybe 10k/year would cover it at the bottom end...
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Re: The middle class

Postby Yakk » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

Jebobek wrote:I think the problem is that the Middle Class is a buzzword used incorrectly only because there was never a concrete socioeconomic definition. So there's no real correct way of using it. They just use it however the hell they want. I prefer pay-ranges over "class" terms, any day.

Whats the poverty line now in America? $2x,000/yr. What is Obama/Mcain doing for those below it? Right on top of it? $10,000 above it? $50,000 above it? $100,000 above it?
The 'poverty line' is a measure of relative, not absolute, wealth.

The easiest way to 'eliminate poverty' as measured by the poverty line is to eliminate wealth, not generate wealth or actually make anyone better off.

At least up here in Canada, Statistics Canada calls it the "Low income cutoff line", and refuse to call it the poverty line. That is because Statistics Canada is not a bunch of dumbasses.
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Re: The middle class

Postby Silas » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:47 pm UTC

I feel like 'class' has to refer to something other than how much money you earn or have. Otherwise, there'd be no reason not to just say, "middle income bracket" or, "poor."

Specifically, the class system that made the most sense to me is an adaptation of the Marxist classes; you belong to a class according to where you get your income. Traditionally, you had the:
Proletariat (working class), who get their income in exchange for the use of their time, and the
Bourgeoisie (investor class), who get their income in exchange for the use of the resources they control,

but I feel these classes aren't comprehensive, so I'd add the professional class, who get their income in exchange for the use of their skills and abilities.

I think that, allowing for hybrids, these three classes cover everybody in the general economy (people on communes or in the military are still anomalous). Maybe you want a fourth class for managers, instead of lumping them in with professionals or investors; they're fuzzy.

At any rate, I take the professional class to be the "middle class;" these are the people that do jobs that can't be filled by some guy off the street. And that's where disagreements set in- nobody like to think that he can be replaced easily. I know a guy who delivers pizza, and he doesn't think just anybody could do his job (for the record, he's mistaken).

Policy-wise, I think that 'helping the middle class' is far less important than expanding (or preserving) the middle class.
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Re: The middle class

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:15 pm UTC

SJ Zero wrote:Money is a poor measure. If I lived in Fort McMurray, I'd need to be making more than your middle class bracket just to afford a house. There are people making 80,000 dollars there who are the working poor because of massive inflation.


I was trying to average it for the USA.
Obviously they don't work in NYC or Cali, but they would make you rich in BF Kansas

I live in Texas and those numbers work well for 90% of the State. But it is again an average, because in the big cities they are a little low, but in the pan handle and west texas they are too high.

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Re: The middle class

Postby SJ Zero » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:17 pm UTC

The dollar here is close enough that the same idea applies. When you read "Fort McMurray", think "New York" living costs.

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Re: The middle class

Postby Dazmilar » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:40 pm UTC

Well, obviously politicians don't want to actually define what it means to be middle class. It'd be that much harder to campaign. "I'm going to help the middle class" sounds great to a lot of people when everyone's self-identifying as middle class. A lot of the benchmarks other posters have listed may work generally but suck specifically. Income figures are often meaningless without context. Where do you live? What are your savings? Are you fiscally retarded? Same with owning a house or a car. If I live in New York City, I can be incredibly successful and own neither a house nor a car. Financial obligations can't always be easily identified either. You find yourself having to take care of "insert relative here." You can write them off as a dependent, big whoop. Doesn't change the fact that you can't get them on your health insurance because they're not a spouse or child, and that the only health insurance willing to take them costs 1700/month. Kids are cheap, in comparison.

How exactly do you factor in savings to the equation? If a person makes say 40k-100k a year for their entire life, but is incredibly frugal and tucks away money for retirement at every opportunity, and invests said money wisely, at what point do they suddenly stop being middle class? It's not really odd to think of someone firmly in the middle-class income bracket with a few million in their IRA when they retire. Are they millionaires now? It's not altogether shocking that people who spend 30-40 years of their lives working middle-class jobs and scrimping by to save for retirement consider themselves middle class.

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Re: The middle class

Postby scruff » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:47 am UTC

Silas wrote:Specifically, the class system that made the most sense to me is an adaptation of the Marxist classes; you belong to a class according to where you get your income. Traditionally, you had the:
Proletariat (working class), who get their income in exchange for the use of their time, and the
Bourgeoisie (investor class), who get their income in exchange for the use of the resources they control,


That's how I conceive of class as well, and I'd say that your "professional class" is a subset of the Proletariat, because they get income in exchange for resources intrinsic to themselves, whereas the Bourgeoisie get income from resources extrinsic to themselves.

What I thought "middle class" referred to was people whose sources of income were mixed; eg - if you get paid to work for a company, and you also own some stock in that company and you derive profit dividends from it, then you both work and own for a living.

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Re: The middle class

Postby qbg » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:26 am UTC

scruff wrote:
Silas wrote:Specifically, the class system that made the most sense to me is an adaptation of the Marxist classes; you belong to a class according to where you get your income. Traditionally, you had the:
Proletariat (working class), who get their income in exchange for the use of their time, and the
Bourgeoisie (investor class), who get their income in exchange for the use of the resources they control,


That's how I conceive of class as well, and I'd say that your "professional class" is a subset of the Proletariat, because they get income in exchange for resources intrinsic to themselves, whereas the Bourgeoisie get income from resources extrinsic to themselves.

What I thought "middle class" referred to was people whose sources of income were mixed; eg - if you get paid to work for a company, and you also own some stock in that company and you derive profit dividends from it, then you both work and own for a living.

I've seen the middle class in a Marxist-like system to be defined along the lines as the people who are self-employed or similar.

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Re: The middle class

Postby Silas » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:08 am UTC

scruff wrote:That's how I conceive of class as well, and I'd say that your "professional class" is a subset of the Proletariat, because they get income in exchange for resources intrinsic to themselves, whereas the Bourgeoisie get income from resources extrinsic to themselves.

That's one way of looking at it- I think of the professional class as owning a kind of asset- their skills and experience- that they exploit. But they're not like the investor class, because the assets that generate their income can't be separated from them. I'm pretty sure both sets of definitions are equivalent (though they diverge when you start waging class warfare).

What I thought "middle class" referred to was people whose sources of income were mixed; eg - if you get paid to work for a company, and you also own some stock in that company and you derive profit dividends from it, then you both work and own for a living.

Well, "middle class" isn't really a part of the class structure I outlined- it's a category that we're trying to define within that structure. Now, it's intuitive to me that the guy who sweeps up the factory floor and has pension isn't "middle class," even though he draws income (er, he will, when he retires) from his assets. And that an engineer who's paid a salary and keeps his money in his mattress, drawing no income, is.

I feel like my definitions- three classes, with professionals being called 'middle class'- align more closely with my ideas of who is and isn't middle class (but then, I would think that). Specifically, in borderline cases, my definitions call for a borderline (or mixed) classification. Take a dockworker who's learned to use a complicated unloading crane and earns $60k plus medical- is he middle class (in common English)? Well, kind of- he's definitely a working man, but he's not exactly living in a tenement. Is he in the professional class (my definitions)? Well, again, it's borderline- he's definitely being paid for his time, but he's using a distinctive skill.

Or take Warren Buffett- he's plainly more of a professional than someone who doesn't participate in the management of his wealth (say, Paris Hilton, to stay with famous people). Of course Buffett is primarily investor-class, but- to exactly the proportion that his fabulous income is caused by his brilliant strategies- he's also a professional. Compare to the heiress, who contributes nothing in that sphere, and is strictly investor-class.
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Re: The middle class

Postby JoshuaZ » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:14 am UTC

Since this thread is discussing the semantics of the term "middle class" it might be pertinent to note that the majorityof the United States self-identifies as middle class. Indeed, some studies (which unfortunately google is not helping me locate at the moment) show that upwards of 90% of the United States self-identifies as middle-class. That's probably why so many politicians use the term: almost everyone thinks of themselves when they hear it.

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Re: The middle class

Postby SJ Zero » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:16 am UTC

I just realised, if you believe Obama, the middle class is anyone making from some arbitrary bottom value to 250,000 dollars, since that's where his tax plan stops being a plan for tax cuts.

Honestly, looking at economics from a thermodynamic sort of view, it makes sense. The movement of money in the system travels from the poor and middle class back to the rich. If you increase the amount of money the poor and middle class have, they'll spend more, causing the rich to make more money. This in turn will cause the rich to hire more people, increasing the number of jobs.

As hot travels to cold, those with little means to get money will find their money travelling to the people with great means to acquire money.

Since we're trying to make the quality of life as high as possible, it's best to help the regular people, since the rich will always be rich.

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Re: The middle class

Postby segmentation fault » Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:01 pm UTC

SJ Zero wrote:Honestly, looking at economics from a thermodynamic sort of view, it makes sense. The movement of money in the system travels from the poor and middle class back to the rich. If you increase the amount of money the poor and middle class have, they'll spend more, causing the rich to make more money. This in turn will cause the rich to hire more people, increasing the number of jobs.


in the eyes of a republican, no matter what good comes of it, taxing the rich is bad, just because.
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Re: The middle class

Postby Jebobek » Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:36 pm UTC

SJ Zero wrote:I just realised, if you believe Obama, the middle class is anyone making from some arbitrary bottom value to 250,000 dollars, since that's where his tax plan stops being a plan for tax cuts.

Honestly, looking at economics from a thermodynamic sort of view, it makes sense. The movement of money in the system travels from the poor and middle class back to the rich. If you increase the amount of money the poor and middle class have, they'll spend more, causing the rich to make more money. This in turn will cause the rich to hire more people, increasing the number of jobs.

As hot travels to cold, those with little means to get money will find their money travelling to the people with great means to acquire money.

Since we're trying to make the quality of life as high as possible, it's best to help the regular people, since the rich will always be rich.
Republicans would probably use thermodynamics to say that money in a high concentration will dissipate to places in low concentration. (Trickle down) but i guess we'll save that for a Red vs. Blue thread.

JoshuaZ, qamwamascot beat you to it:
The reason is psychology. I don't remember the numbers, but somewhere around 85% of Americans believe they are middle class. The reason is that we see people above and below us, so we think those immediately above are the wealthy and those immediately below are poor. In reality, you may be in the bottom 5%, but there's still a good chance that you'll label yourself middle class. As for the working class, McCain doesn't want to reveal how bad his tax policy is for them. Likewise, Obama doesn't want the cries of class warfare. So they stick to the middle class.
Although you are right to repeat it, of course. I believe that the psycology behind it all really does answer the OP's question. The rest of this thread is us trying to grasp what we should REALLY consider the middle class as, and if we need better names, no names, etc. Its an interesting concept.
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