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Thread: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by point1percent View Post
    Isn't the foundation of capitalism basically about capital and those that have it own the means of production and pay those who don't have capital to work and produce? So, basically we only need two classes, the capitalist class and the worker class. So what is this middle class and why is it relevant? What bothers me is that this middle class keeps harping on equality but they certainly don't want to be equal with the working class, they only want to be equal with the capitalist class and could care less about the working class below them. But they do not have the capital to be part of the capitalist class. Obviously they want something they don't rightfully deserve. Wouldn't society be much better off without these troublemakers?
    I'll go with three.

    Moe, Larry and Curly. Says it all.

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrae View Post
    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - The Communist Manifesto

    "[COLOR="#0000FF"]
    While I've neither read the book, nor consider communism the best approach, it must be acknowledged that the aspirations you mention - the dream of becoming rich, or the corresponding discontent with what we already have, which is not-so-subtly fed to us from childhood in all forms of advertising and much of our culture and society at large - certainly do help to perpetuate the current systemic injustices: How can a person reasonably object to someone cruising around in their luxury yachts while others starve, if they yearn to do the same thing? Perhaps not quite the "bribed tool of reactionary intrigue," but it seems even Marx might have agreed with you that their disappearance might be mostly beneficial to society.

    Indeed I've seen the argument made that much of the harm inflicted by the Soviet Union on its people resulted from efforts to shape society through that lense of binary class distinctions. Probably not a good idea.
    Interesting opinion. Of course Marx lived at a time when people did struggle. Today, in the OECD countries, basically everyone has their fundamental needs met. Maslow's hierarchy of needs lists, in order, physiological, safety, love, self-esteem, and self-actualization and of these only the first 2 require money. The other needs get confused by not just advertisers but politicians trying to mobilize supports by telling them how poor they are. In Marx's time the proletariat were workers who earned little and got all of it through work. Now those people are middle class, or at least in the middle quintile if they actually work the equivalent of one full time job. And the lower 2 quintiles get a large % of their income not from work but from government benefit paid precisely because they work so little.

    The recent CBO report on the PPACA seems to concur. The lower quintiles will drop the number of hours they work by the equivalent to 2.5 million jobs. At an guesstimate average of $30K/yr, this means they are leaving voluntarily $75 billion on the table. I think that Marx would not consider these people proletariat when they voluntarily abandon work.

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurmugeon View Post

    The Accident of Birth does not give someone a natural skill set of being able to manage money and invest wisely. Some Aristocratic inherited wealth Capitalist will have it, or learn it, others will not.

    Some Aristocratic inherited wealth Capitalist will invest poorly, and squander away their fortunes, and they, or more likely, their children will be dropping into the working class, a demonstration of downward social mobility.

    Some of the Worker class will have the aptitude, interest, and talent to manage money and invest wisely, i.e. be a high functioning Capitalist.

    But! Without a significant sized, competitive rewarded, and robust Middle Class, there is no upward social mobility, bringing new blood, insight, competition, and techniques into the Capitalist class.-
    I think that you are hinting at something that bothers me. It is one thing to raise taxes progressively on people who presumably earned it but it is another thing to raise estate or inheritance taxes. Either no politician talks about this or both parties like the idea of continuing a classed society based on the conservative idea of birth and ancestry. Conservatives who value hard work and self reliance and liberals who value equality should both seriously look at what happens when we allow so much wealth to be inherited. You can not have any equality when a descendent of, say, Michael Jordan, is guaranteed money for life. What would the world be like if everyone started from scratch? Of course, that is impossible since some would still have better genes, better education through private schools, and a better start as a young adult but do they need more?

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by point1percent View Post
    Isn't the foundation of capitalism basically about capital and those that have it own the means of production and pay those who don't have capital to work and produce? So, basically we only need two classes, the capitalist class and the worker class. So what is this middle class and why is it relevant? What bothers me is that this middle class keeps harping on equality but they certainly don't want to be equal with the working class, they only want to be equal with the capitalist class and could care less about the working class below them. But they do not have the capital to be part of the capitalist class. Obviously they want something they don't rightfully deserve. Wouldn't society be much better off without these troublemakers?
    We seem to have 3 classes now. Capitalists who live on investments, workers who work a full work week but don't save enough to get to the investment stage, and the lower class who can't really be called workers as they generally work less than full time and rely on government subsidies. Much of Latin America was like your 2 class society with rich landowners and peasants but there wasn't any investments or sufficient consumers with money to spend.

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anomalism View Post
    That's called Feudalism; we tried it a while back and decided we didn't like it.
    could have fooled me.

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric7216 View Post
    I think that you are hinting at something that bothers me. It is one thing to raise taxes progressively on people who presumably earned it but it is another thing to raise estate or inheritance taxes. Either no politician talks about this or both parties like the idea of continuing a classed society based on the conservative idea of birth and ancestry. Conservatives who value hard work and self reliance and liberals who value equality should both seriously look at what happens when we allow so much wealth to be inherited. You can not have any equality when a descendent of, say, Michael Jordan, is guaranteed money for life. What would the world be like if everyone started from scratch? Of course, that is impossible since some would still have better genes, better education through private schools, and a better start as a young adult but do they need more?

    Any Wealthy person who cares about his progeny will give them a completely paid for good education, not cash, an opportunity to work, a job, not cash, and an absolutely ruthless requirement for them to perform competitively at that job, or lose it.

    If you love your children, or grandchildren, you give them resources, and opportunities, not the option to have no responsibilities.

    BUT!, I would not want the Government forcing wealthy people to do that, and I certainly would not want the Government to end up with the money, if it doesn't go to the decedents.

    There is no spoiled, drug-addled, irresponsible, wastrel, playboy grandson worse than the best government agency.

    You would do the world more good to take out your total assets in cash, and use it for your funeral pyre, than let the government take it.

    -
    Last edited by Kurmugeon; 02-13-14 at 05:48 PM.

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurmugeon View Post
    Any Wealthy person who cares about his progeny will give them a completely paid for good education, not cash, an opportunity to work, a job, not cash, and an absolutely ruthless requirement for them to perform competitively at that job, or lose it.

    If you love your children, or grandchildren, you give them resources, and opportunities, not the option to have no responsibilities.

    BUT!, I would not want the Government forcing wealthy people to do that, and I certainly would not want the Government to end up with the money, if it doesn't go to the decedents.

    There is no spoiled, drug-addled, irresponsible, wastrel, playboy grandson worse than the best government agency.

    You would do the world more good to take out your total assets in cash, and use it for your funeral pyre, than let the government take it.

    -
    Well, I support a the bulk of one's estate going to charity. If my children are not self-sufficient then I failed as a parent. There are people in the undeveloped world that perhaps could use the money but it is very hard to distribute unearned wealth so that it doesn't have some unintended consequence. Maybe burning it is the best use.

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric7216 View Post
    Well, I support a the bulk of one's estate going to charity. If my children are not self-sufficient then I failed as a parent. There are people in the undeveloped world that perhaps could use the money but it is very hard to distribute unearned wealth so that it doesn't have some unintended consequence. Maybe burning it is the best use.
    Burning cash is counter inflationary. Hence it raises the value of all the remaining currency and helps everyone who's earned any money. You can't get much more universally distributed that that!
    Obama, in his arrogance, condescension and contempt, did it yet again!
    One by one, they fell away, the fervor and zeal melting like the Ice of a bitter storm left in the summer sun.
    Nearly Everyone Smiled! - Kurmugeon

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    So realistically the middle class is just plain old working class, they have somehow made themselves slightly more relevant to the capitalist class and earn more money than others in their class. The whole nature of the game is for the working class to make themselves as relevant as possible to the capitalist class to gain monetary reward. Those that succeed in this and manage to not squander their earnings on beer and the latest pop fashions can eventually make their way into the capitalist class. Until then they are and will always be just working class.

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    Re: Do we really need or want a middle class in capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by point1percent View Post
    So realistically the middle class is just plain old working class, they have somehow made themselves slightly more relevant to the capitalist class and earn more money than others in their class. The whole nature of the game is for the working class to make themselves as relevant as possible to the capitalist class to gain monetary reward. Those that succeed in this and manage to not squander their earnings on beer and the latest pop fashions can eventually make their way into the capitalist class. Until then they are and will always be just working class.

    Those middle class people you have so much contempt and condescension for, well, they make the system work.

    Without them, your capital is useless. Without them, you are nothing.

    Without your Capital, they would still make happy lives for themselves and their families. Sure, their lives might be a bit simpler, have less advanced medicine and communications, but then it would also have less toxins and surveillance.

    For eons, humankind lived without Capitalism and the advanced technology it provides, and the restrictions, poisons, and abuses it enables.

    The verdict on whether you and the evils you bring, are worth the benefits, is still being measured.

    In this era of economic turmoil, you and many other "Capitalists" seem to be forgetting that with the great honor and power given to those blessed with leadership of our tech-society, comes an even greater responsibility.

    You have no power beyond the strength of our own two hands, if we decide to ignore your keyboard!

    Fail U.S. in that responsibility, and you will find out just how common and replaceable you really are...

    -
    Last edited by Kurmugeon; 02-14-14 at 06:20 AM.
    Obama, in his arrogance, condescension and contempt, did it yet again!
    One by one, they fell away, the fervor and zeal melting like the Ice of a bitter storm left in the summer sun.
    Nearly Everyone Smiled! - Kurmugeon

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