The social class structure in the US is as unique as it is in other places. Although most times, the dimension they operate is the same, they bear distinct features as defined by the form of economic and social institutions instilled in the systems.
As it is in the US, other states have a similar social structure: basic upper-class, middle class, and lower class. However, before further elucidation, consideration will be given to Karl Marx’s and Max Weber’s views on the social class structures.
Karl Marx believes that class position is distinguished by their work and their relationship with the means of economic production. The working class sells labor to their owners who provide economic means of production.
The working class hence survive on wages. Hence, class structure and relationship deeply encompass exploitation and unevenness because workers are exploited for labor and it results in a level of alienation by workers who don’t feel recompensed for the works they do.
This hence presents a social class where the capitalist dominates hierarchies of the society while the lower classes persist in the labor force. However, some who are hardworking and educated to a certain degree begin to attain another social class which is identified as the middle-class status in society.
Max Weber explores the concept of wealth, prestige, and power. He affirms that social stratification is primarily founded on personal acquirements. Those who acquire wealth and value better than other people attain an ultimate social class.
In the same vein, prestige and power are associated with the people's respect and regard to such a person’s social status. Power and prestige reinforce the ability to chase goals regardless of opposition from various strata of the societal structure.
Hence, wealth, prestige, and power define the social class of people which is critical because it is what the society identifies with.
In the US like other places, research shows that about 15% – 20% are in the lower class, 30% – 40% belong to the working class, 40% – 50% belong to the middle class, and just 1% –3% belong to the upper class.
The lower class: the people found here are practically poor, homeless, and unemployed persons. They are sometimes dropouts or those who lack adequate feeding or medical care, decent clothing, and without vocational training. They are vulnerable and stigmatized because they ultimately turn out to be abusers of drugs, delinquents and gang stars and are eventually relegated to a position of societal garbage.
The working class, however, epitomizes people who are laborers. They are inexperienced workers in professions such as dishwashing, the waitress in bars, cashiers, or maids. They are usually underpaid, underprivileged, and deprived of opportunities. This makes them belong to the lower class by virtue of poverty although they could afford a level of personal welfare.
In this same class is the skilled laborers who are carpenters, bricklayers, electricians, truck drivers, plumbers, and etcetera. They are also referred to as blue-collar workers and sometimes, because of the nature of their jobs, they earn more than some people in the middle class. They earn more than educators and instructors, secretaries, and technicians, etc. This doesn’t exempt how much risk their job embodies and how much energy they consume when they work.
The middle class: the white-collar class have more money and has a degree of wealth. They are called the sandwich class because they can afford some things people of the lower class cannot afford. However, the middle class is divided into two based on education, wealth, and prestige. They are the lower middle class who are often managers of small independent businesses, entrepreneurs, teachers, and secretaries while the second class, the upper-middle class constitutes highly educated persons.
The people in the upper-middle class are professionals who are either doctors, stockbrokers, accountants of repute firms, lawyers of repute firms, CEOs, and co-founders of quality repute in the American society. The list goes on.
The upper class: which is the last classification comprises only 1% to 3% of the American populace. They hold at least 25% percent of the country’s wealth. This class, like the middle class, is also divided into two: the lower-upper class and the upper-upper class.
The lower-upper class is those who had risen from the upper-middle class through a social structure called “new money”. They make their money from a sea of investment, they are business tycoons, and also multi-represented lawyers and doctors. They are people who have made innovations that have landed them a grand form of existence and social living.
Examples of people with the new money are Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, celebrated athletes, celebrated artists and movie stars, and other rich business owners.
However, the upper-upper class is regarded to have retained “old money”. They are aristocrats and families with high repute in society. Most times, they earn their wealth from previous generations and they live off these inherited riches. This makes the upper-upper class more prestigious than the lower-upper class because of their source of wealth which is different.
An example of those who belong to this class is The Kennedy Family. When Joseph P. Kennedy existed in the 1920s, he amassed a level of grand fortune to pass on to newer generations.
However, regardless of either category of the upper class, the upper class inhabit extremely rich people who have as much money as they want to spend. They live in grander environments and their children attend classic institutions, parade expensive clubs, and belong to nobler and expensive gatherings. They are also informed by their dominance and influence in their country and the world.
Socioeconomic status is a pattern of illustrating the stratification of the class system prevalent in many countries as in the United State. There are generally six classes that spam across the upper class, the middle class, and the lower class poverty level. This class system is defined by the poor and the rich, the amount of wealth, prestige, and power amassed as well as the level of individual exposure and skill acquired by each person in the society.
Sociologists explain the inconsistency of the social class. This is because those from lower classes can transcend to higher classes and those from higher classes can descend to lower classes. This is responsible for reasons which could consist of exposure to newer economic opportunity, promotion, and innovative exercises. In the same vein, people from higher classes can descend to lower classes basically due to financial depression amongst other things.
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