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Old Yesterday, 05:44 PM
 
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Generally accepted definition of working class are those who are employed /earn their living paid in hourly or otherwise waged labor. There are various subsets such as (some) white, blue and pink collar employment, but basically if you are engaged in a trade, industrial labor, manual labor, are a salaried white collar employee and so forth, then you are "working class". You can add to this legions of various union both private and government civil servants ranging from LE, firemen and so forth. Basically anyone who earns a living with their hands (no matter what is being done) can be considered working class. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_class


OTOH you have the level above known as the "professional" class. These are persons who earn their living basically via their education with little to no manual labor. Supervisors, managers, the various professions and so forth. Professional classes are often the ones who supervise/manage working class persons. They also largely are responsible for designing, managing, evaluating and so forth. An architect for instance draws up the plans for a building, but it is the contractors and other working class persons who are responsible for the actual construction.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profes..._United_States


Wages paid have little bearing today on what is "working class". Indeed many of those employed in trades or other jobs earn *very* good wages. Enough to put them firmly into the middle class.


Some careers have been fighting a war for ages to elevate themselves out of "working class" into being recognized as a profession. Nursing in particular registered nurses have been fighting for decades to get their "profession" recognized as such, instead of the pink collar ghetto of working class they were (or still are) often associated.


Historically nurses did much work with their hands, in fact nursing was once considered a "task oriented" job. However over past few decades registered nurses have upped their game in terms of education (many hospitals now require a four year degree ), self autonomy (contrary to what many believe physicians have no direct authority over the nursing service) and so forth.


What we are seeing in the United States is same as Europe and elsewhere; the gap between professional/educated and working classes is growing. That is those who earn their living from their wits are doing well as a group on average. OTOH people engaged in manual, service or whatever work are falling further and further down the economic ladder. This is pretty much what the "Yellow Jacket" protests in France are about.
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Old Yesterday, 06:32 PM
 
Location: MN
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Working class=class that is economically productive i.e. labors to produce value.
In modern times this is chiefly the proletariat;in earlier times was chiefly the peasant or slave classes.

Most other definitions are hazy because they define the working class arbitrarily such as things on income, education, attitudes, or tastes. I am worker in a factory, but some one has once told me I'm not actually working class because I don't watch football.
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Old Yesterday, 06:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
In the United States, “working class” refers to people who do blue collar jobs and are not college-educated. It is usually a label given to whites and not so much blacks or Hispanics.
Something like that, save that I'd reject ethnic/racial labels, or anything to do with citizenship-status.

Working class = proletariat. As opposed to the merchants, boureoisie, clergy or aristocracy.
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Old Yesterday, 06:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C24L View Post
Hello everybody,
What exactly does "working class" mean?Does it mean people who work for a living?Or does it mean people that did not go to college and work blue collar jobs?Can it mean both?Thanks in advance.
Does it mean anything between new money and those who inherit in the $10s of thousands.
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Old Yesterday, 07:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
There's an awful lot of high wage earners who are neither of the latter, living more or less paycheck to paycheck, who would not be considered "working class" in any meaningful sense.
I definitely agree they wouldn't be. But in reality, the higher earners who must work to maintain their lifestyles often have the same lack of time flexibility as the more traditionally defined working class.
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Old Yesterday, 07:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
Does it mean anything between new money and those who inherit in the $10s of thousands.
Back in the "old days" say the 18th and 19th century then yes, inherited money versus "newly made" (via industry, trade or whatever) was seen as more socially desirable, but that distinction began to drop with rise and strength of industrial revolution.


Forces unleashed by the industrial revolution allowed those from common, working and middle class to amass great fortunes, this was especially true in the United States which did not have (in theory) a landed aristocracy, nobility and royalty. Famous example of this would be Andrew Carnegie but there are scores if not hundreds of others. Today it would be Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and the scores of other tech multi billionaires.


Old money was able to look down upon new but for so long. Various forces such as wars, revolutions, economic depressions/recessions, coups, not to mention changes in tax and other laws meant many of the former were going broke.


One prime example of old money mixing with new was the wave of American heiresses who married penniless British/European royalty and or nobility during the Gilded Age through just around WWI.


https://www.history.com/news/america...ish-aristocrat


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ican_heiresses


https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-re...hanged-Britain


These women all came from backgrounds that previously wouldn't get them past front doors of great European or British houses. But hard up for money scores of princes, dukes, earls, counts, viscounts or whatever "married beneath themselves" socially in order to get at much needed cash.


Today outside of a few mostly European circles no one really cares about old money versus new. Prince Harry married an American African American former actress with *some* money. Jeff Bezos who has more money than God is getting ready to marry a nobody.
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Old Today, 02:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
Does it mean anything between new money and those who inherit in the $10s of thousands.
Somebody working class who inherits “$10s of thousands” is still working class. If your net worth isn’t north of $1 million, you’re still going to need to work or you’ll eventually run out of money.

I think the type of work is the best way to define working class. Repetitive task unskilled or semi-skilled labor.
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Old Today, 03:26 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Something like that, save that I'd reject ethnic/racial labels, or anything to do with citizenship-status.
The thing is that black Americans were probably “supposed” to become part of the larger working class. But I think that maybe for political reasons, it didn’t work out that way. Instead, blacks dominated the urban lower income population and many of them moved into the middle class.

Hispanics are generally considered to be an immigrant class in the United States. So, people don’t really think of them as working class Americans. Even though in my area, the working class population is almost entirely Hispanic. Salvadorans and Guatemalans.
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Old Today, 06:32 AM
 
Location: England, UK
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Default Across the pond...

Quote:
Originally Posted by C24L View Post
Hello everybody,
What exactly does "working class" mean?Does it mean people who work for a living?Or does it mean people that did not go to college and work blue collar jobs?Can it mean both?Thanks in advance.
Hi, I'm not sure if you want a British take on this... but IMHO working class tends to be the following:

- living in rented accommodation (usually from social/ council (what you would class as government) housing)
- working in an unskilled job with no formal additional education last school (in years before I was born it would include leaving school earliest you could, which at that time would be aged 14yrs.. this was altered to 16yrs only in the early 1970's). - this was usually to go to work to bring in extra money into the home.
- not having the same opportunities in education/ health/ work
- have more challenges in trying to advance themselves and trying to raise themselves out of this 'class'

Some other classifications tend to bridge over into the middle classes:

- children attending government run schools
- owning a car
- some further education

IMHO again, I don't consider it fair to attach ethnicity to any particular class.

One could also argue that certain socioeconomic groups have a particular penchant for a particular food/ drink. Stereotypically in the UK beer and lager, and fast food are seen to be for the lower classes, and spirits and wine for the upper classes. Smoking is stereotypically the lower classes.

There are people of all classes that have a wide variance of IQ (and there's a huge debate in itself about testing IQ), but to try to compare socioeconomic and other factors of different classes I personally believe to be impossible. To do this I believe that each person should be exposed to the same education. Some may say that a strong regional accent is attached to social class.

For the most part I believe there isn't much in the way of judgement regarding 'class' systems in the UK. There is the odd person I have come across that is incredibly judgemental, but they're judgemental of everything about everyone, not just the perceived 'class'. I tend not to have those people in my life for long, lol. At work some people are a bit harsh about others, mostly going by their perceptions of the others 'intelligence'. This absolutely infuriates me. I work in a neurosurgical intensive care unit and I cannot possibly imagine why or how anyone can class anyone who visits a relative as less than intelligent. I find it preposterous to expect a relative/ friend of an emergency patient to come in (when their world's just fallen apart), and understand what on earth has just happened. There's so much more going on that could be affecting the persons memory/ retention/ understanding of what has happened, that to judge them in any way is ridiculous. These people, thankfully, are in the minority.
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Old Today, 08:32 AM
 
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In his book titled, "Class, a guide through the American status system" author Paul Fussel pokes fun at the notions we have about our social ranking amid the myriad of Madison Avenue's attempts to sell the idea of class mobility. He classifies the lumpenproletariat in terms of high, middle and low, the higher ranking proles are those who seek a pretentious facade of gated community living, while the low proles are struggling to properly fit themselves in a suit, and dining choices range between KFC and Applebee's.

It's a tongue in cheek treatment of our American fetish with social class and how that all plays out in the daily lives of a decidedly socially insecure populace. Working class, the term itself speaks to the fact of a delineation between workers and those who are beyond the bounds of work as a necessity. The low, middle and high separations between those in the working class produces much more anxiety than any aspirations having to do with rising beyond working class.

I was taught in Public schools that we had no real class system here in America, and I believed that, up until I worked at the local country club. It was there that I got my education regarding the fact of class as a very real divide. At any rate, class remains as a culling factor in all kinds of social considerations, your job, your education, your address, and yes, even your physique. The old adage that one can never be too rich or too thin still exists as an upper class mantra.

Being overweight, and under-educated, is a sure ticket to low prole-ville where the notions of class anxiety or wondering which fork to use, is seldom expressed. And in that realization, we discover an underlying current of anxiety in those who seek to bear all the accouterments of upper class signaling. The high proles are often desperate in their attempts to set themselves apart, driving too much car, living in an ostentatious home, flashy dress, and practicing their pretensions, as though their lives depend on it. But most of us have heard the old saying, "rich and wrinkled, pressed and poor.." People can make outlandish attempts at rising above their notions of class--but-- If you work, for yourself, or others, you are working class...

A lot of us still believe that America's melting pot was forged at Ellis Island, and that erroneous notion gave rise to that idea of America as a classless society, but James Gray had it right in his observations on American class:

"At Ellis Island, I mean, you didn't go there if you arrived in first class. It was only the poorest, the people in the worst shape."
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