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  1. 22 Jan '15 01:41
    According to Wikipedia, "In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class. The common measures of what constitutes middle class vary significantly among cultures."

    What is the working class? Are well-paid self-employed plumbers in, and less well paid bank tellers out? Are the middle class generally those who can afford to pay a mortgage, but can't buy their home without one?
  2. 22 Jan '15 02:48
    Originally posted by JS357
    According to Wikipedia, "In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class. The common measures of what constitutes middle class vary significantly among cultures."

    What is the working class? Are well-paid self-employed plumbers in, an ...[text shortened]... le class generally those who can afford to pay a mortgage, but can't buy their home without one?
    Some interesting questions. Personally, I think the term in America is intentionally squishy in order to appeal to that class from a variety of ideologies.

    Can it be defined by income? I don't think so, because cost of living varies so much from one region to another. A two income family employed by Walmart can live "middle class" in some regions, and in others they would be in near poverty with twice the income.

    Some folks relish being labeled middle class, while others would rather be classified as poor to get the benefits of that classification, and after adding the safety net benefits, they are often better off than those official middle class people.

    Where does middle class end at the top end? Where the President and first lady middle class before the Whitehouse? There seems to be a large group above middle class that aren't yet rich in the one percent terminology of Stiglitz, or in Obama's own speech classifications.
  3. 22 Jan '15 03:35
    Originally posted by JS357
    According to Wikipedia, "In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class. The common measures of what constitutes middle class vary significantly among cultures."

    What is the working class? Are well-paid self-employed plumbers in, an ...[text shortened]... le class generally those who can afford to pay a mortgage, but can't buy their home without one?
    Soon it won't matter, they will all be gone.

    And it's all the fault of the Tea Party!
  4. 22 Jan '15 03:39
    Middle class is the working class.

    You know, the guys who make enough money to be taxed, but not enough money to get any government benefits. They are the shmucks getting worked by both the Republicans and the Democrats.
  5. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    22 Jan '15 04:28
    Middle class can pay the bills but lack so much money that they need to invest it in large amounts.
  6. Subscriber kmax87
    You've got Kevin
    22 Jan '15 05:22
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Some interesting questions. Personally, I think the term in America is intentionally squishy in order to appeal to that class from a variety of ideologies......
    I thought that class distinctions were based on what you did for work and not necessarily how much you made. And if you did white collar work, the amount of grey matter required to do your job also mattered. From a British colonial perspective, the middle class was too broad a label and was further split into upper middle, middle and lower middle classes.
  7. Subscriber kmax87
    You've got Kevin
    22 Jan '15 05:41
    Originally posted by kmax87
    I thought that class distinctions were based on what you did for work and not necessarily how much you made. And if you did white collar work, the amount of grey matter required to do your job also mattered. From a British colonial perspective, the middle class was too broad a label and was further split into upper middle, middle and lower middle classes.
    This edited from wiki kind of sums it up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_structure_of_the_United_Kingdom#Middle_class


    Informal classifications and stereotypes

    Middle class

    Lower middle class


    The British lower middle class primarily consists of office workers and their families living in less affluent suburbs. They are typically employed in relatively unskilled service industry jobs such as retail sales, travel agents, factory and other industrial building owners and low level civil service jobs in local and regional government.
    Prior to the expansion in higher education from the 1960s onwards, members of this class generally did not have a university education.
    Members of the lower middle class typically speak in local accents, although relatively mild. The comedy character Hyacinth Bucket is a satirical stereotype for this social group.

    Middle middle class

    The middle class in Britain often consists of people with tertiary education. They may have been educated in either state or private schools.
    Typical jobs include accountants, architects, solicitors, surveyors, social workers, managers, specialist IT workers, engineers, doctors or civil servants. Displays of conspicuous consumption are considered vulgar by them; instead they prefer to channel excess income into investments, especially property.
    Members of the middle class are often politically and socially engaged and might be regular churchgoers, sit on local committees and governing boards or stand for political office. Education is greatly valued by the middle classes: they will make every effort to ensure their children get a university education; although they are sometimes unable to afford private schooling, they may go to great lengths to get their children into good state or selective grammar schools, such as moving house into the catchment area.
    They also value culture and make up a significant proportion of the book-buying and theatre-going public. They typically read broadsheet newspapers rather than tabloids.

    Upper middle class

    The upper middle class in Britain broadly consists of people who were born into families which have traditionally possessed high incomes, although this group is defined more by family background than by job or income.
    The upper middle class are traditionally educated at independent schools, preferably one of the 'major' or 'minor' "public schools" which themselves often have pedigrees going back for hundreds of years and charge fees of as much as £33,000 per year per pupil (as of 2014).
    Many upper-middle-class families may have previous ancestry that often directly relates to the upper classes. Although not necessarily of the landowning classes – as a result, perhaps, of lack of a male heir – many families' titles/styles have not been inherited and therefore many families' past status became dissolved.
    Although such categorisations are not precise, popular contemporary examples of upper-middle-class people may include Boris Johnson, David Cameron (politicians), Helena Bonham Carter (actress), and Matthew Pinsent (athlete).
  8. 22 Jan '15 12:48 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    According to Wikipedia, "In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class. The common measures of what constitutes middle class vary significantly among cultures."

    What is the working class? Are well-paid self-employed plumbers in, an ...[text shortened]... le class generally those who can afford to pay a mortgage, but can't buy their home without one?
    Wiki is just plain out to lunch in their definition, as you pointed out working class people like plumbers, mechanics, etc can make damn good money and are certainly middle class and can even make upper middle class.
    Bank tellers make squat, typically minimum wage to start with very small raises over the years.
  9. Subscriber kmax87
    You've got Kevin
    22 Jan '15 13:08
    Originally posted by FishHead111
    Wiki is just plain out to lunch in their definition, as you pointed out working class people like plumbers, mechanics, etc can make damn good money and are certainly middle class and can even make upper middle class.
    Bank tellers make squat, typically minimum wage to start with very small raises over the years.
    I suppose no definition is set in stone and they eventually mean what most people ascribe to them. If you want to define class in terms of how much people make then sure, but originally the distinctions were not made on money alone, even though money tended to go with an education and white collar professions.
  10. 22 Jan '15 13:37
    Having not defined what upper and lower class is, the definition is fairly meaningless isn't it?
  11. 22 Jan '15 14:29 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by kmax87
    [b]This edited from wiki kind of sums it up.
    Middle middle class

    The middle class in Britain often consists of people with tertiary education. They may have been educated in either state or private schools.
    Typical jobs include accountants, architects, solicitors, surveyors, social workers, managers, specialist IT workers, engineers, doctors or civil servants.
    OK this sets everything I've ever considered middle class on it's ear.
    Doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects are considered middle class?

    To me middle class is someone in the middle income range no matter what their job. They make enough to get by just fine and have a modest amount of disposable income.
  12. 22 Jan '15 16:09
    Originally posted by FishHead111
    OK this sets everything I've ever considered middle class on it's ear.
    Doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects are considered middle class?

    To me middle class is someone in the middle income range no matter what their job. They make enough to get by just fine and have a modest amount of disposable income.
    I think the Brits' definition is affected by the erstwhile presence of a genuine aristocracy of people whose only "labor" was the management of their wealth and the of the assets that wealth allowed them to own. More or less the upstairs family of Downton Abbey. The middle class included their physicians, lawyers, financiers, and other professionals, successful businessmen, and untitled members of the political establishment. Today's British royalty is like an animated wax museum of those days.
  13. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    22 Jan '15 16:38
    Originally posted by FishHead111
    OK this sets everything I've ever considered middle class on it's ear.
    Doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects are considered middle class?

    To me middle class is someone in the middle income range no matter what their job. They make enough to get by just fine and have a modest amount of disposable income.
    Yes most doctors lawyers and engineers are upper middle class.

    Paris Hilton, the Koch brothers and Oprah's children are upper class.
  14. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    22 Jan '15 16:40
    Originally posted by JS357
    I think the Brits' definition is affected by the erstwhile presence of a genuine aristocracy of people whose only "labor" was the management of their wealth and the of the assets that wealth allowed them to own. More or less the upstairs family of Downton Abbey. The middle class included their physicians, lawyers, financiers, and other professionals, successfu ...[text shortened]... e political establishment. Today's British royalty is like an animated wax museum of those days.
    It's similar in the USA
  15. 22 Jan '15 17:09 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    It's similar in the USA
    Of course. And dynasties in both countries start with money. Two differences are the number of years since a given financial dynasty is established (not as much time in the US to blur the story) and the existence in Britain of governing royalty (an uber-dynasty) that could directly confer titles and power on the founders of a dynasty instead of having the nuisance of elections.

    Edit: And in Britain there was not so much of a fantasy that anyone could rise to the level of the aristocracy, like there is in the US.

    I look at archetypes like the Downton Abbey crew and wonder how much of the wealth of such dynasties came from the Triangle Trade of the 16-19th century.