What class are you?

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What class are you?

Über-rich
0
No votes
Rich
0
No votes
Upper Class
1
2%
Upper Middle Class
8
19%
Middle Class
14
33%
Lower Middle Class
5
12%
Upper Lower Class
2
5%
Working Class
8
19%
Working Poor
2
5%
Underclass
3
7%
 
Total votes: 43

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linguoboy
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What class are you?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-30, 16:34

[Poll categories are based on the social structure of the United States and may be limited in their applicability elsewhere. As always, you may elaborate on your answer in comments.]

IpseDixit suggested a thread on Classism and this seems like the most productive way to introduce the topic. What do you see as your socioeconomic class and why?

Even within my own family, we can't agree. My sister seems to believe we were Upper Lower Class growing up because we were "poor" compared to many of our peers and our father grew up on a farm. But I at least completely assimilated the petit bourgeois values of my mother's family and would calls us Lower Middle Class. After all, our parents owned their own home and, with the exception of my older brother (who dropped out and lives on the dole), every one of us went to a four-year college and has held a professional job. (My mother is currently a stay-at-home mother; her husband is a software engineer for a major defence contractor.)
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Re: What class are you?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-30, 17:43

I'm actually not sure. I guess the reason why I chose middle class is because that's what I've always heard from my parents that we were. :? Also, if I understand correctly how UniLang polls work, even if I was wrong, there's no way I can go back and change that in the poll now that I've already submitted a vote. :lol:

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Re: What class are you?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-30, 17:50

vijayjohn wrote:I'm actually not sure. I guess the reason why I chose middle class is because that's what I've always heard from my parents that we were. :?

I've often joked that everyone in the US considers themselves "middle class" to the point where the term almost has no meaning. The term doesn't have the same negative connotations as it does in British English. (We use other words to sneer at middle-class people like "bourgeois" or "bougie", "liberal", and even "White".) On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be a "working class" identity here--at least not like what you find in the UK and Ireland. Americans, as the saying goes, are divided into the "rich" and the "soon-to-be-rich".

vijayjohn wrote:Also, if I understand correctly how UniLang polls work, even if I was wrong, there's no way I can go back and change that in the poll now that I've already submitted a vote. :lol:

Actually, that's not true: there's an option which allows you to change your vote, but it seems most poll-creators just let it default to "no". I chose to allow this in case people wanted to change their mind on account of the ensuing discussion.
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Re: What class are you?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-30, 18:23

linguoboy wrote:I've often joked that everyone in the US considers themselves "middle class" to the point where the term almost has no meaning. The term doesn't have the same negative connotations as it does in British English. (We use other words to sneer at middle-class people like "bourgeois" or "bougie", "liberal", and even "White".) On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be a "working class" identity here--at least not like what you find in the UK and Ireland. Americans, as the saying goes, are divided into the "rich" and the "soon-to-be-rich".

Yeah, that's probably true.
Actually, that's not true: there's an option which allows you to change your vote, but it seems most poll-creators just let it default to "no". I chose to allow this in case people wanted to change their mind on account of the ensuing discussion.

Oh, OK. Thanks! :)

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Re: What class are you?

Postby md0 » 2014-12-30, 18:38

It's true that perceptions of class can differ between societies. Home ownership for example is not matket middle class here, because mortgage/loan is far more common than rent, and houses are eventually paid off without any change in the income level of the people.

Now, my mum finally owes her home and her car after 15 years of mortgage payments. She still lives paycheck to paycheck, without any savings. We had a few winters that were very tough, but it was about having food on some days, there was no risk of becoming homeless.
The situation would be different if we didn't have a refugee status in Cyprus (my family having been displaced by the 1974 war), which gave us significant assistance (a free plot of unclaimed/state land to build a house on for example). She identifies as working class.
My dad has been in jail for debts to the state and to my mum a few times. He's even less financially stable because she's a construction worker. Working poor probably more like it.

As for me, I'm not the first generation to go to college, but I'm the first generation after the 1974 war to do so (grandad from mum's side was middle class before the war, but lost everything). Still, that's not a marker in Cyprus because of public education here in Cyprus being relatively accessible (quite hard to do it without working in parallel though). I've been working in the unskilled labour sector for two years now, with only a few savings which I am currently burning through because I left a job that had terrible safety conditions. Financially I will probably be better off than my mum in 10 years time, as I will probably enter mental labour sector after uni, but thats a 100EUR difference way things are heading now. I will still be working class, and more gnostically than her.
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Re: What class are you?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-12-30, 19:35

Growing up, I would have said my family was working class (my dad being a contractor and my mom a postal clerk). Now I would say they're definitely middle class, since he owns his own business now (albeit a small one) and she's in a middle-management position. I guess that makes them lower middle class by the definitions used by sociologists who study this kind of thing. According to them, upper middle class means highly educated professionals like doctors, lawyers and architects. Since there isn't this culture of "anyone can strike it rich if they pull themselves up by the bootstraps" here, I think of those people and anyone else making well over six figures as upper class, with the super-rich being the long tail of that curve.

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Re: What class are you?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-30, 21:11

mōdgethanc wrote:According to them, upper middle class means highly educated professionals like doctors, lawyers and architects.

This equation of "highly education professional" with "wealthy" always amuses me, because my father never once earned more than my mother even though he practiced as an attorney and she was "only" a nurse. There's a huge difference between being the kind of legal professional my father was (a small town lawyer) and the kind my friend BigBones is (an international patent attorney).

Although many people say that education is the defining characteristic of the middle class, my friend Zompist says it's planning, and I think he's right. (They're just intertwined in the USA since getting into "good schools" takes more work and saving than it does elsewhere.) Poor people can't plan; any money you try to set aside is easily wiped out by the next crisis, whether that's breaking an arm, burning out your transmission, or running a red light and getting ticketed. Rich people don't need to; unless they're incredibly profligate, they're not going to run through it all and, besides, they pay people to do that work for them. It's the middle class that need to husband their funds carefully if they're to meet their goals of comfort and stability (which is why they get stereotyped as narrow-minded, conservative, and dull).
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Re: What class are you?

Postby loqu » 2014-12-30, 22:50

Working class here.
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Re: What class are you?

Postby Varislintu » 2014-12-31, 13:11

I don't know, we're definitely middle class, but where in middle class is harder to pinpoint. We lack the things I associate with being upper middle class: a spacious home, two cars, a prestigious career that involves social networking and thus comes with a certain amount of power.

But we are very comfortable and can put a nice chunk into savings each month. But we also keep a close eye on where we are financially, and evaluate all non-routine spendings.

So I suppose we're middle class.
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Re: What class are you?

Postby Lada » 2015-01-01, 20:58

linguoboy wrote:[Poll categories are based on the social structure of the United States and may be limited in their applicability elsewhere. As always, you may elaborate on your answer in comments.]

This is not applicable for Russia as workers may earn more than people with high education because all the country is highly educted and there's lack of those who can mend something or simply work at factories. That's why most workers are from Middle Asia, Turkey or other countries, even Moldova, Ukraine. Value of high education goes down as incredible number of economists and lawyers have to sell something or get additional education as the labour market doesn't need them. Most people have their own appartments/houses and dachas because it's the Soviet heritage, so you can't say, he's upper class because he owns 3 appartments.
Everything depends on how you are assimiliated to the new capitalist regime. If you know how to sell yourself you have money and it doesn't depend on your education at all.
I have no idea where I'm according to this scale, according to where I live I'm the same like all other big city inhabitans, that's probably higher than those who live in villages, but villages are also very different. I'm definitely not rich though.

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Re: What class are you?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2015-01-01, 22:13

linguoboy wrote:This equation of "highly education professional" with "wealthy" always amuses me, because my father never once earned more than my mother even though he practiced as an attorney and she was "only" a nurse. There's a huge difference between being the kind of legal professional my father was (a small town lawyer) and the kind my friend BigBones is (an international patent attorney).
That may be so, but in general, doctors, lawyers and pharmacists are highly paid here, which makes sense given the education required for those professionals. Nurses are highly paid because they're in the healthcare field and Western countries are full of dying old people who need constant care. I've often wondered how it would affect their wages if they had to compete with men for their jobs instead of the profession being 90% women.

The most overpaid profession, IMO, is engineers, and professors (untenured) are way underpaid for the level of education they have.
loqu wrote:Working class here.
I thought you were an engineer or something.

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Re: What class are you?

Postby loqu » 2015-01-01, 22:22

I am an engineer indeed. But coming from a working class family, I don't own any property and I depend exclusively on my work. If I lost my job I'd be in serious trouble since I don't have any relatives to support me.

Based on my profession you could consider me 'upper working class' if such a thing could exist, but I don't qualify for middle class.

(Apart from that, engineers don't earn THAT much here)
Last edited by loqu on 2015-01-01, 22:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What class are you?

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-01, 22:22

Lada wrote:
linguoboy wrote:[Poll categories are based on the social structure of the United States and may be limited in their applicability elsewhere. As always, you may elaborate on your answer in comments.]

This is not applicable for Russia as workers may earn more than people with high education because all the country is highly educted and there's lack of those who can mend something or simply work at factories.

That's why income alone isn't a good measure of class status. 19th-century novels are all about the conflict between the traditional aristocracy (whose wealth lay primarily in agriculture holdings) and rising bourgeoisie, who were often wealthier--sometimes by a couple orders of magnitude. Today in the USA we're seeing the increasing impoverishment of the middle class, so you've got people with advanced degrees who have trouble finding any work which pays more than minimum wage. Their income may be the same as the working poor, but their attitudes to their situation (and the non-monetary resources they have, such as social networks and family homes to move back into) are completely different.

mōdgethanc wrote:Nurses are highly paid because they're in the healthcare field and Western countries are full of dying old people who need constant care. I've often wondered how it would affect their wages if they had to compete with men for their jobs instead of the profession being 90% women.

We may soon find out. A little over a decade ago, the profession was 94% female. In my mother's day, "male nurses" were all but unheard of outside of the army. But now anyone walking into a hospital an assuming the males in a room must be doctors (or orderlies) and the women must be nurses would be considered boorish.
Last edited by linguoboy on 2015-01-01, 22:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What class are you?

Postby Saim » 2015-01-01, 22:26

"Upper-class" is a different thing to "rich"?

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Re: What class are you?

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-01, 22:35

Saim wrote:"Upper-class" is a different thing to "rich"?

As I said, it depends on the social structure of your civilisation. Since the USA never had a landed aristocracy (except--arguably--in the antebellum South), the two categories are essentially one and the same. We don't really talk about the "upper class" here, though, only about the "wealthy" or the "1%".
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Re: What class are you?

Postby Ciarán12 » 2015-01-01, 22:58

Irish society is not stratified as rigidly as English society, but there are still discernible gaps in the wealth continuum and stereotypes associated with the groups those gaps form. I'm not really sure what I am, I usually say "Lower Middle Class", though I've never heard of "Upper Lower Class", so maybe that would be more appropriate(?). My mother left school at sixteen and stop working as soon as she married, my dad left school at 18, never went to college but got a decent job as a civil servant. Both of my parents were most definitely working class growing up. So for me growing up there was 1 bread-winner, 1 family car, a small 3 bedroom house on a housing estate in an area that is well connected transport-wise (thus raising house values) but not so great crime-wise (thus lowering house values). I am the first one in my family with a university degree. I went to a small private school, but the fees weren't high. Also, if I had had to go to college in the US my family would never have been able to afford the fees without being crippled by debt.

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Re: What class are you?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2015-01-02, 1:11

loqu wrote:I am an engineer indeed. But coming from a working class family, I don't own any property and I depend exclusively on my work. If I lost my job I'd be in serious trouble since I don't have any relatives to support me.

Based on my profession you could consider me 'upper working class' if such a thing could exist, but I don't qualify for middle class.

(Apart from that, engineers don't earn THAT much here)
Here at least, engineering is probably the most highly paid profession where the only education needed is a bachelor's degree. Nevertheless, engineers love to brag about how incredibly difficult their program is and how important and well-paid their job is, which has earned them a reputation for arrogance that probably doesn't exist in other countries. You'd think the job was practically equivalent to a PhD from them.

I think I see now why there is a distinction between "working class" and "working poor". Being middle class isn't so much about wealth as it is having assets (a house, two cars, a boat and maybe stock investments) as much as a profession or an education. Here owning your own home means you've "made it" and everything is smooth sailing from then on, instead of living paycheck to paycheck.

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Re: What class are you?

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-04, 2:29

mōdgethanc wrote:Nevertheless, engineers love to brag about how incredibly difficult their program is and how important and well-paid their job is, which has earned them a reputation for arrogance that probably doesn't exist in other countries. You'd think the job was practically equivalent to a PhD from them.

I thought that reputation existed here, too. :hmm:

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Re: What class are you?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2015-01-04, 8:45

vijayjohn wrote:I thought that reputation existed here, too. :hmm:
I'm talking about North America in general here. I don't know about other countries. Likewise, I don't know if other stereotypes like the greedy, unethical lawyer and the rude, arrogant doctor exist in other countries (though I wouldn't be surprised if they did).

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Re: What class are you?

Postby Marah » 2015-01-04, 20:03

I don't know how widespread these stereotypes are in North America in the first place, but I don't think they exist here.
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