Middle Class MythsteemCreated with Sketch.

in Deep Dives2 months ago

What is the "middle class"? I'm sure that if asked, most people in developed countries would say that there is a middle class, probably that it contains a majority of the population, and that they are not poor and not rich, and that their lifes are fairly comfortable in the sense that they have enough discretionary income so that they do not live from hand-to-mouth and can afford to occasionally go on vacation and pay for their children's education.


source: YouTube

I'm sure you'll agree that this is a rather vague definition. And it doesn't help to look it up because the term "middle class" is subject to a lot of ambiguity, sometimes defined in terms of occupation, income, education, social status or combinations of two or more of those. The definition by any author is often chosen for political connotations, while modern social theorists—and especially economists—have defined and re-defined the term "middle class" in order to serve their particular social or political ends. In this post I would like to consider the possibility that the term lacks a firm empirical definition because the "middle class" doesn't actually exist, and that it serves only to further capitalist culture and capitalist class relations, by dividing the very real "working class".

The nonsensical nature of the term "middle class" becomes apparent when we realize that an elevator repair person earns a higher wage than a manager at a MacDonald's or Starbucks, while the first is identified as "working class" and the latter as "middle class". We've even gone a few steps further, as we've now divided the "middle class" into "lower middle class" and "upper middle class", with "comfortable middle class" in between. And to go even one step further in dividing ourselves up into ever smaller groups, we now speak of a "professional-managerial class"; will we next see class-denotations linked to specific professions? It wouldn't surprise me at all.

You see, in capitalism there are only two classes; those who own the means of production and the rest of us who sell their labor to those owners. There is no "middle class", and it only hurts all of us who are members of the "working class" that we look down or up to one another. The whole idea of a "middle class" only hinders the process of building the class-consciousness we so dearly need in order to build a better, fairer and more just world. There are even good arguments to count small business owners as part of the working class, as explained in the below linked video, even though Marx identified them as "petite bourgeoisie". Throughout human history there have only ever been the two classes, with the "middle class" only occupying a single blip on the time-line. It's a modern, capitalist invention to divide the overwhelmingly large group of the "working class" and to rob them of their class consciousness. Please watch this video, as it explains all this much better than I can, and it goes into much more detail as well.

The Middle Class doesn't exist | How a fabricated myth divided the working class.

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