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Thread: Just what is "middle class"?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Just what is "middle class"?

    Reading a story about America's new poor got me wondering "What is middle class exactly?"

    According to the writer:
    In the midterm elections politicians have promised to "do something" for the middle class. The kindest thing they could do is tell the truth: Americans have been living a middle-class lifestyle on working-class wages -- and bridging the gap with credit. And it's over.

    In a free-market society the real middle class is always a minority: if your street has a gate and a security camera at the end of it then you are middle class. A real middle-class kid can afford a college education, not a web-based degree. The real middle-class family does not skip meals or find its cars trapped in the repair shop because of unpaid bills.
    I don't know so much. Even that middle class still has its moments when the bills aren't paid and it's a struggle to put food on the table. Maybe it's that distinction that seperates the middle class from the truly rich?

    Of course many years ago "middle class" was an occupation, being self-employed, an employer or something along those lines. Has the meaning of middle class changed since?

    Maybe "middle class" has come to mean a lifestyle? All the kitchen appliances, entertainment systems, lounge, diningroom... perhaps a seperate bedroom for each kid.

    And what's the line between "middle class" and "working class" really? Especially if you move away from the parameters of occupation?

    Don't know for sure

    What do you think?
    Last edited by Dave A; 13-Oct-10 at 08:04 PM.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I know middle class in the UK does not mean the same as middle class in the States. For me it would simply mean not rich and not poor.....somewhere in the middle as the name suggests. This would make it an fluid thing depending on location and general economic circumstances of the country as a whole at that particular time.
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    I think that a good way of looking at it is in terms of the older mine housing where different "working classes" lived in different suburbs.

    Mine management - upper class
    Middle management / upper end of skilled workers (supervisors, long term artisans) - middle class
    Skilled workers (new / young artisans) - lower middle class
    Semi skilled / migrant workers - lower class

    I agree that credit has turned this picture on its head.
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Hey AndyD - Where did that white due go, who's that new dude in your picture?
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    All my avatars on this board have been rappers. This one is 50 Cent Get rich or die tryin' seems kinda appropriate on a business forum:-)
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Eish...shows you what I know!

    ...and here I thought you were doing the Michael Jackson :-)
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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Working class: paid a wage by the week or fortnight.
    Middle class: paid a salary by the month.
    However both of these classes are usually one pay check from financial disaster.
    Upper class: not paid by the month but paid by the profits or interest on a business or investment and recieve dividends annually or half or quarter depending. Also draw on the business if the need arises, repayment through future dividends.
    Professional class: same as upper class but usually paid monthly by a draw on a business or profession and recieve dividends annually or half or quarter depending. Also draw on the business if the need arises, repayment through future dividends.
    Again both the upper and profesional class can earn more in a year than they need to spend on their lifestyle

    Most of us who have a business where we take a monthly draw and partake in profits occasionally are considered upper class or professional, although we don't have the attendant smell under our noses.
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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    Middle class?
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    i must fall into the lower middle class...cause i dont take a salary from my bussiness every month...i just spend all the money quickly before the tax man can take it. when i get paid from the customer.

    i dont pay all my bills every month because it burns my butt having to pay some much on rates and eletricity etc and to think i paid only R300 when i moved in here now its gone up to R1000 per month...in 2 years huh how did they work that out...it seems the rates climbs with the crime rate 3600 %

    i think people who live in estates are middle class...or so some of them try to make it look like that.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Now perhaps this pondering seems somewhat academic - but it does start becoming meaningful when COSATU (champion of the working class, remember) starts talking about a "living wage."

    Just what would a "living wage" be to their minds? One that could support a middle class lifestyle?

    Is our economy so strong it can afford to give unskilled and semi-skilled workers a pay package that could support a middle class lifestyle?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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