The Great British Class Calculator

July 2024 Forums General discussion The Great British Class Calculator

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #81973
    jondwhite
    Participant

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/shortcuts/2013/apr/03/what-class-are-you

    What class are you?

    A new study divides Britons into seven social classes – but not everyone is convinced by the new categories, or the way they are decided. What do you think?

     

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22000973

    I got precariat

    #92784
    Ed
    Participant

    First time I did it I was a little genorous with my answers and I got Emerging service workers. I did it again giving slightly harsher answers and I got precariat. The questionaire is rubbish it's even worse than the political compass, far too narrow. And as ever they draw no distinction between social and economic class.

    #92785
    J Surman
    Participant

    Traditional Working Class – Hooray! – (with revolutionary tendencies)

    #92786
    ALB
    Keymaster
    jondwhite wrote:
    I got precariat

    I got a joke result too — technical middle class, just because I don't go the opera or know a solicitor. The whole thing is rubbish, or at most a game. Or maybe something more sinister: an attempt to create the illusion that a wage and salary working class no longer exists or is only a dwindling 14% of the population.

    #92787
    ALB
    Keymaster

    This seems a idea worth pursuing:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spintcom/message/14650Questions could be on these sort of lines:1. What is your relationship to the means of production? (a) owner (b) non-owner (c) I own some shares.2. What is your annual income?3. What is the source of your income (you may tick more than one): (a) employment (b) self-employment (c) dividends or interest (d) pension from employment (e) State benefits (f) charity.4. How much of your income comes from (c) ?If over £20,000 no need to proceed further: you are a member of the capitalist class.5. If (a) or (b), how long could you survive without it?6. Do you own or are you buying your own house?7. Do you derive any income from it? If not, then it makes no difference.8.  Do you wear (a) a cloth cap (b) a top hat? It doesn't matter.Seriously, if someone did this properly with weighting for the answers, would it be possible to put it on this site?

    #92788
    jondwhite
    Participant

    Great idea. Hope the Internet site admins get on it.

    #92789
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

     £20,000 income from dividends or interest makes you a member of the capitalist class?Quite a poor member of the capitalist class unless its weekly or monthly income, wouldn't you say, Adam? Less than 400 hundred quid a week? Before or after tax?I usually say when asked who is a member of the capitalist class – they are people who never need to look to look at what their bank balance is, no matter what they buy . Didn't some wag say if you know  how rich you are, you aren't.

    #92790
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I don't know. To get an income of £20,000 from investments, you'd need, with a 5% rate of interest, a capital of at least £400,000 and that's it addition to your non-interest-bearing house (which might be worth that too), You'd hardly be a member of the mythical middle class, let alone the working class with that. I do agree, though, that you'd fall into the lower end of the capitalist class, the "lower upper class" that George Orwell said he came from. On the other hand, he went to Eton and the fees there are now over £30,000 a year.This does raise another problem. We've been prepared to concede that some top executives and bureacrats are also members of the capitalist class receiving their share of surplus value as "bloated salaries" and bonuses.  So any questionnaire would need to try to distinguish between what part of these people's income was genuine payment for the value of their labour-power and what was a share in surplus value.

    #92791
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Which bank is paying 5% interest these days, Adam? The drop in interest rates exposed the precarious nature of many living on a private-income. They too could be deemed part of the the precariat.i know a number of  workers, humble postmen,  who have assets of half a million in the shape of their house, bought when property was relatively cheap in the 70s and their mortgages now paid off. Surely you are not saying that if they sold the house and went into rented accommodation and lived off whats left after rent, they are members of the capitalist class.I know some people mostly Londoners or Home Counties where rents are high who can afford to rent their houses out, and  live abroad as absentee landlords and ex-pats on that limited income.  It would be all akin to saying living off an occupational pension (or private pension) because it invests in shares and bonds makes you a capitalist.I sold my house, although not for the above price, a lot less in fact,  took the equity and put  it into an income bond and took an early retirement occupational pension. I live in a third world country relatively comfortably compared to the majority of the local population, even if i still have to keep to a budget.Shall i now re-designate myself as a capitalist rather than a fortunate worker?We cannot set the bar for being a capitalist too low or we will encounter so many exceptions and contradictions to the rule. 

    #92792
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I agree that £20,000 a year as a property-income is an arbitrary figure (and I was excluding pensions). Any figure will be. In any case, class is defined not by income but by relationship to the means of production, so we are just trying to find an indirect way of indentifying this.But you do realise that the lower the rate of interest the more your capital will need to be to get an income of this amount. If it's 4% then you'll need a capital of £500,000. If it's 3% you'll need one of £666,666 and if it's only 2% it's £1,000,000.

    #92793
    DJP
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    Seriously, if someone did this properly with weighting for the answers, would it be possible to put it on this site?

    Bristol anarchist federation have a nice and simple quiz on their website:http://bristolaf.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/the-great-british-class-calculator/

    #92794

    In some ways, the project is not as nonsensical as it seems, it has identified, empirically, several major groupings within the British community, and it's terming these 'classes': in reality, you can classify people any way you want, by hair colour, height, hand span, etc.What came out of their list is that really, they were differentiating between different types of people according to their job, with only the Elite (and to some extent the Precariat) outside that.  It is fair, in a way, to look at non-monetay factors, such as personal networks, which can be associated with power and ability to play a system.We've never claimed, unlike some leftists, that the working class has a monolithic culture (or that there is some virtue in that culture), but that everyone who receives a wage/salary has the same interest.  This is demonstrated most in that the employment case law is often made up of fairly well heeled workers taking their employers to court, and shaping how the rest of us are treated.

    #92795
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I agree of course that we have never regarded the working class as a monolith identified only with those labelled (as in this research) "the traditional working class". This is as a sub-section only of the working class properly so-called (all those obliged by economic necessity to try to sell their mental and physical energies for a wage or a salary). As are the so-called "middle class".

    #92796
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here's a comment from another comrade on this:

    Quote:
    The ‘elite’ of 6 per cent isn’t necessarily to be equated with the capitalist class. The latter is much narrower than this. In fact most people who own their own house and have a few quid in the bank will end up being classified as either ‘elite’ or ‘established middle class’ in the test. To be a capitalist I’d say you’d need to own your primary residence and have capital to live off which would give you the average UK income at the very, very least – which would mean £500k +  in investable assets, and they don’t test for this.
    #92797
    ALB
    Keymaster

    By co-incidence there's another measure of class differences in today's media, for instance:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/454603/20130408/uk-household-wealth-lloyds-tsb-private-banking.htm

    Quote:
    Household wealth in Britain passed a net total worth of £7tn for the first time last year, according to research by Lloyds TSB Private Banking, though the ever-bloating headline number hides a precarious reality for family finances in the country's comatose economy.Incomes for the poorest households have been squeezed by a high cost of living, below-inflation wage growth, and welfare cuts under the government's austerity drive as it seeks to erase the Treasury's budget deficit."While wealth has soared, there is a large divide in where it has accumulated," said Nitesh Patel, economist at Lloyds TSB Private Banking, pointing to the fact that the wealthiest 10 percent of households hold 22 times more wealth than those in the bottom half – at an average of £1.82m versus £82,000.

    Note that this is a figure for all wealth not just ownership of titles to means of production as it includes houses and other household possessions. If these were excluded, so as to get a more accurate measure of the ownership only of means of production, the inequality, the basis of capitalism, would be even greater.

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