U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old Yesterday, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
5,540 posts, read 3,094,276 times
Reputation: 6972

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grlzrl View Post
To me it would mean you still have to work, not independently wealthy or retired.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
That would be my personal definition as well. But I didn't list it because it's so far outside the mainstream. If you can't fund a modest middle class lifestyle through investments, pension, etc. you're working class.
I agree with both of you. Why does this seem to be so offensive to some people? To me, it's perfectly logical.

Last edited by newdixiegirl; Yesterday at 03:09 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old Yesterday, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
6,516 posts, read 2,280,598 times
Reputation: 10138
Quote:
Originally Posted by newdixiegirl View Post
I agree with both of you. Why is this seem to be so offensive to some people? To me, it's perfectly logical.
I don't see any offense in this thread, just the completely to-be-expected lack of any consensus.

So, if that's the working definition, how's about my $250k couple example? Are they 'working class' because they aren't in a financial position to skip a paycheck?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
5,540 posts, read 3,094,276 times
Reputation: 6972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
According to your definition, a professional couple making $250k a year but with little retirement, insignificant savings and proportional debt - living from paycheck to paycheck just like a $40k factory worker - would be "working class." You're free to modify your definition.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
I don't see any offense in this thread, just the completely to-be-expected lack of any consensus.

So, if that's the working definition, how's about my $250k couple example? Are they 'working class' because they aren't in a financial position to skip a paycheck?
Based on your description above, *I* would consider them working class, yes. Would they be widely considered to be working class? Is it socially acceptable to consider them working class? Perhaps not.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 04:14 PM
 
25,689 posts, read 28,040,229 times
Reputation: 24198
Quote:
Originally Posted by newdixiegirl View Post
Based on your description above, *I* would consider them working class, yes. Would they be widely considered to be working class? Is it socially acceptable to consider them working class? Perhaps not.
Yes, I'd say they're working class, too. With a $250k income, they probably have the option to move out of the working class in a relatively short period of time if they save and invest a good portion of their income. The problem is, even many people earning 250k don't save enough to give themselves that flexibility. Instead, their expectations and spending go up, and they lock themselves into the work until 65 grind like everyone else.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 04:38 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,180 posts, read 60,965,760 times
Reputation: 31571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
So, if that's the working definition, how's about my $250k couple example?
No. That's a voluntary impoverishment.
If they wanted to have more from their ability to earn at that level... they could show it.

Working class is about managing despite not having the assets or skills needed to do better.
Managing without public assistance is implied but not likely achieved often or for long.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 05:09 PM
 
7,572 posts, read 4,853,822 times
Reputation: 13031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
I don't see any offense in this thread, just the completely to-be-expected lack of any consensus.

So, if that's the working definition, how's about my $250k couple example? Are they 'working class' because they aren't in a financial position to skip a paycheck?
Speaking personally, I would be offended if I were to be labeled "working class". I would rather be called some ditch-dwelling hobo, or crass and tone-deaf "elite". That is, it is better to be disparaged as being a member of some disliked group at the top, or at the bottom - rather than in the middle.

Foremost for me, "working class" means somebody who dispenses with cultural or mental life, as being something pointless and effete. "Working class" means a disinclination to write, to prize literature, poetry, philosophy. "Working class" is a narrow mercantile embrace of the so-called practical. The working-class attitude towards education, is that education is a route towards employment and business. If it doesn't lead to a marketable skill, then it's a waste.

Your $250K couple could indeed be "working class", if say the wife owns a nail-salon, and the husband is the chief of the country fire-house. In addition, they might own a dozen rental-properties in town. They might even have a couple million dollars in their portfolio at Fidelity.

Where I'd start to get confounded in this narrowly pat class-distinction, is if we learned that the wife only happens to own a nail-salon because formerly she was an aerospace engineer in China. She fell afoul of party politics, just barely managed to escape. Eventually she found asylum in the US, but was unable to continue in her profession. Instead, she started a business that caters to local needs... and eventually met and married the "fireman". The "fireman", meanwhile, started out as a physics-professor. He couldn't get tenure, and lost his academic job. Bouncing around various alternatives, he realized that his knowledge of combustion and flame-propagation could be applied to something practical. After getting an administrative job in the public sector, he transitioned to the civil-engineering side, and eventually to fire-protection. One thing led to another, and now he's fire-chief.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
6,516 posts, read 2,280,598 times
Reputation: 10138
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
No. That's a voluntary impoverishment.
If they wanted to have more from their ability to earn at that level... they could show it.
And that's different from a couple making, say, $50k... how?

All you're doing is making a blind value judgment about their spending habits or lifestyle, which has nothing much to do with the question. If "living paycheck to paycheck" defines "working class," then it really doesn't matter what size the paycheck is.

So maybe all of that stripe of definition is... in error.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
5,540 posts, read 3,094,276 times
Reputation: 6972
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post

Foremost for me, "working class" means somebody who dispenses with cultural or mental life, as being something pointless and effete. "Working class" means a disinclination to write, to prize literature, poetry, philosophy. "Working class" is a narrow mercantile embrace of the so-called practical. The working-class attitude towards education, is that education is a route towards employment and business. If it doesn't lead to a marketable skill, then it's a waste.
This is a standard definition of "working class," which comes from a more sociocultural perspective, and it's certainly more often true than not -- in North America, at least; less so in Europe.

But from a purely economic standpoint, I think that if one MUST work in order to have the means to live in relative comfort, if he/she is not of the independently wealthy/leisure class, then it stands to reason that he/she is "working class."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,701 posts, read 7,457,933 times
Reputation: 11759
My definition is an hourly wage person easily replaceable by another person. It is a job. Not a career nor a profession.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Yesterday, 07:06 PM
 
7,572 posts, read 4,853,822 times
Reputation: 13031
Quote:
Originally Posted by newdixiegirl View Post
This is a standard definition of "working class," which comes from a more sociocultural perspective, and it's certainly more often true than not -- in North America, at least; less so in Europe.

But from a purely economic standpoint, I think that if one MUST work in order to have the means to live in relative comfort, if he/she is not of the independently wealthy/leisure class, then it stands to reason that he/she is "working class."
By my reckoning the term is entirely "socio-cultural". Consider for example a medical-doctor, who gets nabbed in a scheme for writing opiate-prescriptions to "patients" who don't have a legitimate medical need. That can be a serious criminal offence, leading to loss of medical-license, stiff fines, a criminal record, and possible jail-time. The medical-doctor has descended considerably, in terms of earning-power or vocation. Yet he/she doesn't stop reading medical journals. Or enjoying classical music. Or being a good chess-player. He/she doesn't forget how to speak the foreign languages that he/she learned decades ago... and so forth. Socio-cultural class is invariant to the vicissitude of material life.

For a specific example, consider the main protagonist of Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being". Tomas, originally an esteemed surgeon, has a tussle with the ruling regime, in post-1968 Czechoslovakia. He can no longer practice medicine. He becomes, of all things, a window-washer. He's lost wealth, job-security, social-standing. Is he now "working class"?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. | Please obey Forum Rules | Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top