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Class division

The Class Struggle

The major problem that most people face today can be summed up in one word — poverty. They are denied access to the wealth of society which would enable them to develop and enjoy themselves to the full. They have to make ends meet and make the best of it. The result is a life-style of frustration and boredom — getting up in the morning, the buses, the trains, the traffic, the shop, the office, the factory, the boss, the canteen and so on ad nauseam.

Not everybody has the life of a battery human. There are a small minority who have a life of wealth, ease and luxury. In a recent divorce case, the counsel for a textile magnate's wife who was claiming maintenance, explained to an incredulous judge: "The wife of a millionaire is liable to go to Paris at any time and spend £1,000 on a dress." (Glasgow Daily Record, 19th March 1975) Doubtless, she would leave dinner in the oven and do the washing-up when she got back.

Political Vocabularies

‘How should governments react to winning the lottery? For example, the UK / Norway find oil in the North Sea. Australia finds various minerals and then also gas that they can export. Specialist skills are required to extract the resources. Should the government sit back and let industry do their stuff, whilst skimming off some tax? Should the government take control? Should the people take control?’

Cooking the Books: The Death of the Middle Class

In an article in the Daily Mail (23 August) lamenting ‘the death of the middle classes’ Dominic Sandbrook wrote:

‘One day, predicted Karl Marx, ‘the lower strata of the middle class — the small tradespeople, shopkeepers and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants’, would begin to sink down the social ladder, crushed by the cruel economic logic of modern life. Society, he thought, would inexorably be divided into haves and have-nots, and tension would turn inevitably to violent revolution. Marx gloried in his own prediction. As the founding father of Communism, he looked forward to the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, when the middle classes would be extinguished and capitalism would be torn down.’

Now There are Seven – or are there?

A new study by academics from the LSE and Manchester has come up with the idea that there are seven classes in British society. You can classify people according to whatever criteria you want and the academics have chosen to combine income, security of income, occupation and leisure pursuits. The seven classes they come up with are: elite (6 percent), established middle class (25 percent), technical middle class (6 percent), new affluent workers (15 percent), traditional working class (14 percent), emergent service workers (19 percent), and precariat (15 percent). In fact, in some ways this is just a refinement of the popular division into upper class (toffs and business oligarchs), middle class and working class.

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