Posts Tagged ‘class’

The Next Class War

March 20th, 2015

I have seen it up close. I have seen it on social media. I have seen the birth pains of the next class war, and it dismayed me. It was inevitable. Us against them is inevitable even if we are all “us”. If this is too long, skip to the last two paragraphs.

 

There used to be three classes of society. The upper, middle and lower class. There weren’t so many of the upper class, neither were the lower class although there were more of them then the upper class. The middle class, being the middle, had the most people in it. They were functioning reasonably well, worked steadily and earned enough to save some money and have their own houses and cars.

 

As you get older, you learn about subdivisions in this basic structure. You learn about the differences between the upper-middle class and the lower-working class. You learn about the upper-lower class and lower-lower class. Some people think they’re lower-middle class when they are actually upper-lower class, and vice versa depending on how they perceived their situation. Some people could afford to take their families on a nice vacation every year while others had just enough to buy a boat (probably a lousy puttering pontoon) while a lot of folks had just enough for one of those inflatable above-ground pools you can buy from Wal-Mart that you have to clean yourself but nobody does and they get dirty within two weeks.

 

Pictured: the good life.

Pictured: the good life.

 

Who was who depended on which expert’s model you paid heed. Other factors are involved like level of education and type of employment but the big hinging factor was how much you have and is it enough. Each expert saw the percentages differently but the same basic idea: a minute number of wealthy elites, a larger percentage of rich people or “upper-middle class” and the vast majority falling into middle class or working class, even though they’re both essentially working. At the bottom, the lower-class or “poor” who account for 10 to 15 percent of the population.

 

I don’t know why the people who make these distinctions made them but I have the feeling that more class distinctions will be made in the future. We can’t help ourselves. Three or five or six sub-groups will never be enough for those who are trying to distinguish themselves from other people. There will be a larger focus on the bottom third of the chain. The working class and the poor. This will be the next class war. The people who live paycheck-to-paycheck against the ones who are on government assistance or borrow money from family. Resentment fosters. “My taxes pay for your welfare” vs. “At least you have a job/can work”. Familiarity breeds contempt, and these are the people who see each other. Like crabs in a barrel. If only all of them could get their own reality TV shows, they’d be millionaires.

 

Lest you think I’m looking down on anyone, I would have you know that no matter what class model you subscribe to, I rank at the bottom. I live below the poverty level. Perhaps there will even be a further struggle between those of us at poverty level and those at near-starvation level. Perhaps I’ll yell out “Hey, hungry! Think fast!” and then I whip a can of pork and beans at their heads as I drive by in my 1995 Taurus.