Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Thirteen

Recently I became a Downton Abby fan, scarfing up episodes like I was reading some fantastic novel. I'm just starting Season 5 so no spoilers, please!

One of the things that caught my eye in watching this show is the idea and notion of "class" amongst people. The show has an obvious upper and lower class (the wealthy Earl and Countess above, the servants below) but it is more intricate than that. The butler Carson, for example, is above all of the staff, putting him in a different class than say, the kitchen maid. There are tenant farmers, teachers, and shopkeepers, all of whom have their own type of working class. As the show progresses, there seems to be a growing middle class.

Here in the United States, many people think we are a "classless" society, but I personally do not believe that. It is a nice thought, but all one need do is walk around to see that we are indeed a land full of various classes of people.

At any rate, I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of classes I could come up with for the U.S. I went to Wikipedia, source of all Internet knowledge, if not real information, to come up with a list.

1. Upper class. This includes the wealthy 1 percent that we hear talk of, the owners of Walmart and the Koch brothers, Bill Gates and others who have millions or billions to toss about. This class can be divided into a the upper-upper class and the lower-upper class. I leave you to imagine what that might entail.

2. Inherited wealth class. While rightfully part of the upper class, those who inherit wealth, born with that silver spoon stuck in their ear and all that, are more along the tradition of the English Earls as portrayed in Downton Abby. They differ greatly from the nouveau riche, people who came into money through some other fashion, either work or the lottery or whatever.

3. Corporate elite. These folks are the top executives of big companies, major stockholders, and others who rule the business world.

4. Professional/managerial class. Also called the upper middle class, this class consists of the folks who are highly educated working in largely self-directed positions. These people value higher education and include physicians, lawyers, and professors.

5. Middle class. This has become a catch-all and nobody is actually sure what comprises the Middle Class in the U.S. Some say it would be middle management, clerical staff with degrees, paralegals, and others who are loosely supervised.

6. Lower middle class. These folks work in supporting occupations. Here you find folks in good paying jobs who don't necessarily hold degrees.

7. Working class. Much like lower middle class, the working class people are the "blue collar" joes who probably constitute much of the workers of the nation. They are food service people, construction workers, etc. They may also be considered the working poor.

8. Underclass. These would be the very poorest people in the land, the homeless and others whom certain members of the higher classes disdain and completely ignore.

9. Farm workers. Sociologists place agricultural workers into two different classes, with the farm workers being the lowest class. These are the apple pickers of the world, without whom we would all starve.

10. Farmer. A person in this class would generally own and operate a farm.

11. We also divide people by racial class, whether we mean to or not. While generally speaking, class has to do with income level in the U.S., class also varies not only by race but also by etiquette, education, and professions. I believe we also divide people by health, including weight (obesity), disabilities, looks, dress, and other devices, some of which are subconscious.

12. This is straight from Wikipedia: "Class ascendancy—namely that each successive generation will have a higher standard of living than its predecessor—is a central theme in American literature and culture and plays a key role in the American dream. While social class in the United States is thought to be largely based on achievement, on a relative basis social mobility in the United States ranks below many other countries, and climbing the social ladder is more difficult for those born into less advantageous positions.

Occupation (perhaps the most important class component), educational attainment, and income can be increased through a lifetime. However, factors such as wealth inheritance and local education system—which often provides lower quality education to those in poor school districts—may make rising out of poverty a challenge. Class mobility in the United States decreased between the 1970s and the 1990s coinciding with the rise of Liberalism."

13. Do you think about class? Do you think inequality between the classes is important and should be rectified? Is it a good thing? Do we need to have people who are above and/or below others? Do you think the U.S. has a class system in place, or are those who believe we are a classless society correct?


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Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 406th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

5 comments:

  1. I come from the working class and have always been proud of it. But these days the term is used less and less and "middle class" is used more commonly. In my day "middle class" was more like the upper class now and considered bourgeois, not considered a positive thing in the flower child '60s.

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  2. An interesting post on class, Anita. "Middle class" is becoming an anomaly as the divide between rich and poor continues to widen. My T13

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  3. Interesting post.
    I didn't know there are that many social class. I thought there are only upper, middle and lower classes

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  4. Yes, interesting. I would be middle class if I thought about such things but it rarely occurs to me, except when reading something about mistreatment or abhorrent conditions in some other class.


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    1. P.S. Glad you're enjoying Downtown!

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