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The Middle Class Doesn't Really Exist

Updated on November 10, 2018

With the fall of feudalism making way for the rise of capitalism, the majority of body politic in any given nation has placed a considerable amount of value in a status that has come to be familiarized as the middle class. The middle class is a socio-economic status presumed to lie between the upper class and lower class. Defined by a life filled with monotonous routines of 40 plus hour work weeks, bills paid on time, the modest accumulation of material assets such as a car and house, as well as backyard BBQs and baseball games on the weekends, the middle class has been framed as the ideal honest and honorable life. The entire idea of working hard to live a middle class life has been one popularly conceptualized as virtuous. With the incipient European colonization of North America and the subsequent inception of the United States, a centuries long propaganda campaign to generate voluntary assimilation into a life of middle class servitude was created as the "American dream". This so-called dream became the aspirations of an entire country of people and widely considered to be the very definition of freedom. For a good portion of the centuries that followed the rise of the United States empire, the existence of the middle class flourished and has been held in high regard as that which any average person could strive, achieve, and be respected for. However, due to one of the many inherent flaws of capitalist economy, the increasing wealth disparity in America has all but completely disintegrated the existence of the country's so-called middle class demographic and spawned an underlying indignation within a population that clamors for a resurgence of the so-called middle class. The issue of middle class life in the United States and its assumed respectability is one of the most common issues that contemporary politicians use as a platform in election campaigns. Appealing to the hearts and minds of the so-called middle class, politicians and public dignitaries openly pander to the average working person and promise to restore the middle class existence in shameless attempts to win their votes. But winning votes and gaining notoriety by catering to the egos of those who have been duped into believing their socio-economic status to be respectable is merely a facade. There lies a hidden agenda behind the endeavor to restore the so-called middle class. This agenda seeks to maintain the division among working class people that the perception of a middle class provides. This division prevents the working class from unifying and organizing. It promotes victim blaming and shaming.

The so-called middle class doesn't really exist. It's a pseudo class; an artifice created by the ruling class to fool the working people. The so-called middle class maintains divisive attitudes among the rank and file working class people but, more than that, it's an apparatus by which to increase the profits of the ruling class. By using the existence of the middle class as an ostensible method of proof, the working class is, by and large, convinced that ruling class status is attainable if they just work hard enough. By increasing labor capacity, production output subsequently increases. The workers are producing more and more under the guise that their labor efforts will eventually be rewarded with status among the elites who currently reign as the people who profit from their increased production output. Considering status is demonstrated by the possession of material assets, the increase in consumption will naturally correlate to the increase in production output. This increase in consumption will result in more profits for the elite class and, in fact, widen the gap between the workers and the elites as has been clearly exhibited by the wealth disparity. There is no such thing as the so-called middle class. It does not actually exist. It is a sectarian misnomer given to some working class in order to eventuate in higher profits and a further chasm between the working class and the ruling class.

Any politician or public figure that touts the existence of the middle class or promises it's restoration should be considered a clear and present enemy of the people. Restoring and maintaining the existence of the so-called middle class is an explicit effort to preserve capitalism and the class exploitation that comes from it. There is no such thing as the middle class and the perception or conviction that there is one threatens the unity and organization that is needed to procure a mass movement orientated to end capitalist oppression by the elite class. You may become relatively rich through anachronistic virtue of hard work and pecuniary frugality. But no one has ever become wealthy from it. Hard work does not equal upward mobility into the ranks of the elite class and success must not be defined by an existence that finds itself comfortable in it's own oppression.

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    • Caleb Murphey profile imageAUTHOR

      Caleb Murphey 

      4 weeks ago from MInneapolis

      Wrong. There can be no discussion when you keep skewing the facts of the story to fit your classist and racist narrative and calling them "basic truths". You clearly have no understanding of what the psychological effects of poverty are or how those effects are passed down from generation to generation. Capitalism has existed for less than 1% of human history. There were (and are), in fact, better economic and social systems that worked for centuries before Europeans colonized the world and forced capitalism through imperialism and neo-coloniaslism. It is not the best system we have. It is just the best system that myopic, unimaginative, closet white supremacists can come up with and defend.

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 

      4 weeks ago from Florida

      Again, there can not be a discussion when you want to ignore basic truths.

      https://www.studymode.com/essays/Generational-Welf...

      https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/terence-p-jeffr...

      Now that can be broken down into various categories, of which only a portion of the 100+ million who receive benefits actually exist only on benefits, however there is a good number of disabled (SSI), single moms, etc. that have always lived on benefits alone, and always will.

      This portion of society numbers in the millions, and they are not of the working class. They do not, and never will contribute production to society in any measurable way.

      Capitalism is a crappy system, the biggest problem we have is that nothing we have come up with works better, not close.

      There are no socialist states, communal states, or free societies that exist in absence of capitalism. Those states that have tried to go in a different direction have all failed, have all caused great misery and suffering to their populace, and have or will eventually revert to a capitalist state.

      It is the only system in which reward is given for production, for merit, without which there is no incentive to be productive.

      There is corruption and theft, the capable and the criminal become rich while the less capable and more complacent members of society do not fair so well, but again, it is the best system we have, and nothing else comes close... there is no utopian alternative because humans are imperfect creatures, from psychopaths and social degenerates to genius inventors and savants.

    • Caleb Murphey profile imageAUTHOR

      Caleb Murphey 

      4 weeks ago from MInneapolis

      Furthermore, your entire argument is predicated on the 2 false assumptions that A. The division of labor is necessary, and B. Capital must exist. Neither of which have any place in free society.

    • Caleb Murphey profile imageAUTHOR

      Caleb Murphey 

      4 weeks ago from MInneapolis

      No. No we don't have millions who have never worked. We have millions who work jobs that are only necessitated by post modern capitalism and don't actually produce anything beneficial to progressing the fabric of society. 42% of all profits in this country go to banks. Banks produce nothing of tangible use value. You stating your classist and racist opinions as fact does not actually make them a fact. I'm the only one in this discussipn who has used empiracle data to support their argument. That's actual facts. Also, as I previously stated, welfare is not a bad word.

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 

      4 weeks ago from Florida

      Speaking facts is not racist, my comments may be classist perhaps, but that seems to be what the discussion here was about.

      We have millions who do not work, who have never worked, who will never work, this is fact.

      We have people so rich that they tell the world leaders what to do, not the other way around, this is also fact.

      So your efforts to classify non workers as workers is, bluntly, bogus.

      And while it is debatable whether those that are worth hundreds of Billions are actually the 'ruling class', I suspect saying someone like Soros is the ruling class would be accepted by many, I however see him as a purchaser of those who rule, he dictates to governments, not the other way around.

      Sorry if my stating the facts does not fit into your compartmentalized theories of politics and economics.

    • Caleb Murphey profile imageAUTHOR

      Caleb Murphey 

      4 weeks ago from MInneapolis

      Oooh. My fault. I didn't realize I was debating with a classist and a racist. First of all, if you had any idea of how exhausting and expensive it is to be poor, you would understand that everyone works. EVERYONE. Second, if you had any understanding or compassion for intergenerational poverty and defeatism, you might be able to wrap your narrow classist mind around the obstacles that keep people from getting off welfare. Thirdly, welfare is not a bad word. Have you ever heard of a mortgage on a teepee? Or renting an igloo? No. That's because the entire world understood that shelter, food, clothing, transportation, and health care were human rights. Rights that white people privatized in order to maintain superiority with the status quo. Lastly, the labor theory of value disregards skill and knowledge because neither are aspects of effort. Ergo, the labor theory of value does not suggest we need more than 2 classes. It suggests that we need no classes. It costs the average tax payer $35 a year for food stamps. It costs that same tax payer about $4000 a year for corporate and oil subsidies. When is the last time you heard of a CEO going down to the shop floor and actually helping to run the machines and produce the commodities?

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 

      4 weeks ago from Florida

      Well lets consider 'the workmanship theory of value'. Workmanship is a human attribute relating to knowledge and skill at performing a task.

      So, just from that definition it would appear we need more than the two classes you are noting.

      As I noted in the second paragraph of my initial reply, we have an entire class of people who exist on welfare, have always existed on welfare, and whose children and grand children exist on welfare.

      They don't contribute workmanship value, so I have a problem with them being lumped in with the 'working class', as they don't work.

      We have a permanent class of non workers, they consume resources without being productive to society.

      In addition, you note the ruling class, well, I contend there are those who rule... and those who rule the rulers. The likes of the Rothschild family, do not answer to the ruling class, they dictate to them.

    • Caleb Murphey profile imageAUTHOR

      Caleb Murphey 

      4 weeks ago from MInneapolis

      Once you understand the workmanship theory of value and consider that post modern capitalism has given rise to a myriad of jobs that don't actually produce anything of real social value, it becomes clear that there are only two classes. The working class and the ruling class. You can divide the working class up all you want, but all you're doing is complicating the fact that these people still work to produce the profits that are taken by the people who don't.

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 

      4 weeks ago from Florida

      Welcome to Hubpages Caleb,

      I get what you are saying, but I don't feel you have encompassed the entirety of the situation.

      How do we distinguish the difference between those who generationally exist on welfare and 'under-the-table' incomes from those who work and uphold the infrastructure and support systems from which our society survives?

      I would say there are at least four tiers of economic existence, in our system one is not usually confined to any one tier, and those of exceptional intellect or ability can move upward... in other systems such mobility was/is restricted and opportunity limited.

      You have the supremely wealthy, worth hundreds of billions or more, the type of wealth that will last generations and puts those individuals above the law, as they can move anywhere unless the entirety of the world's governments turn against them.

      You have the 'elite class', the wealthy or extremely gifted, the class of politicians and intellectual elites that control the day to day operations of our government, and international corporations.

      Then you have the working class, which itself could be broken down into different tiers. This is probably where most of the movement between classes occur, the working class to elite class. Folks that work for a living, whether its a multi-million dollar paycheck or a $300 dollar paycheck... they live off what others pay them. They sell their time for money.

      And then there is the largest class, those that do not work at all, or who work 'under-the-table' doing oddball jobs, selling drugs or other illegal items, making money that is not reported or taxed. The majority of this class collects some form of social benefits and government support.

    • Caleb Murphey profile imageAUTHOR

      Caleb Murphey 

      4 weeks ago from MInneapolis

      You clearly didn't read the article.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      4 weeks ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      The middle class is divided into three subcategories-lower middle, solidly middle, & upper middle. The lower middle class is like the lower class in terms of purview and mindset. The lower middle class is a branch of the lower class although they are loathe to acknowledge the fact. The lower middle class have some brutishness among them, particularly in their ideology and the way they raise their children. They are the least educated of the middle classes. This is the class that teach their children to obey & not question authority as authority knows best. They also teach their children not to aspire too high educationally & socioeconomically but to SETTLE educationally & socioeconomically.

      The solidly middle class are what people would associate with the name middle class. They are the lower to middle level white color professionals while the lower middle class are oftentimes the less educated, blue collar people. The solidly middle class are college educated lower level professional classes such as teachers, nurses, civil servants, etc. They embody stereotypical middle class values, teaching their children to follow the rules if they want to succeed. They also teach their that a good education equals good jobs. They are also the class that believes in postponing gratification to save for tomorrow and indemnity.

      The upper middle class is the highest level of middle class. They consist of highly educated, specialized professionals such as lawyers, doctors, high level managers, executives, and other specialists. They are usually in senior and managerial positions at their jobs. This is the middle class that espouses upward mobility and that education lead to such upward mobility. They teach their children that the world is their oyster and they can succeed if they want to. This is the middle class who is proactive as opposed to the other two middle class levels.

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