Tomorrow's Oprah: What class are you?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by disneysteve, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. disneysteve

    disneysteve You have to enjoy life, not go

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    I'm not clear that this will be a financial issue rather than a social issue, but tomorrow's show is about class: lower, middle, upper. What does it mean and why does it matter. Could be an interesting episode that I'm sure will at least tie in to some financial discussions.
     
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  3. Chicago526

    Chicago526 <font color=red>Any dream will do...<br><font colo

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    Sounds interesting! I've always thought of myself as middle class. To me, upper class means you can afford a mansion and a maid! Definatly not me! I just hope she doesn't clasify it by income, because a $100,000 a year living in Manhatten is a lot differant than $100,000 a year in Indiana.
     
  4. EthansMom

    EthansMom <font color=red>spare yourself from asking me to d

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    There was an interesting article in one of the financial magazines a couple years ago about how people considered "affluent" didn't feel wealthy. I can't remember the definition of affluent, but I think it was an income of more than $100k or so.

    The people in the article were pretty shocked that they were considered affluent. They still had to make priorities about spending and saving and weren't loaded down in bling bling like you might think.

    From Wikipedia: "In the US the most commonly accepted defenition of upper-middle class is a household whose income exceeds $65k a year and whose net worth exceeds $250k.[citation needed] Another commonly used method defines the upper-middle class as those fitting into the second to the top quintile."
     
  5. pearlieq

    pearlieq <font color=green>They can sit & spin<br><font col

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    I will agree that "middle class" has a very wide and fluid definition, mostly, in my opinion, because there's such a stigma associated with being anything but middle class in America.

    I would tend to agree that income isn't a very good indicator, though net worth might be better. But isn't social class mostly defined in relative terms?
     
  6. CheshireVal

    CheshireVal Can you stand on your head?<BR><font color="purple

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    I consider myself middle class, but with upper class style. ;)
     
  7. LauraR

    LauraR Mouseketeer<br><font color=red>Needs to do some se

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    I think most people think of themselves as middle-class. I know I do.
     
  8. aka-mad4themouse

    aka-mad4themouse <font color="blue">Budget Board Co-Host</font>

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    I'm interested in seeing how different people define the social classes, too. I always considered the "upper class" as people whose money worked for them (as in living off of the interest from investments or trusts) rather than one who works for their money (whether they are blue or white collar). I would define "lower class" as those persons who by choice or circumstance cannot meet their basic needs without assistance from someone. That would include the working poor. That would put the majority of of us in the "middle class" category.

    My definition differs greatly from the one put forth by Wm. Lloyd Warner. He defines the classes as follows:
    • Upper-upper class. "Old money." People who have been born into and raised with wealth.
    • Lower-upper class. "New money." Individuals who have become rich within their own lifetimes.
    • Upper-middle class. High-salaried professionals (i.e., doctors, lawyers, corporate executives).
    • True-middle class. Professional with salaries and educational attainment higher than those found among lower-middle class workers (i.e.. professors, managerial office workers, architects)
    • Lower-middle class. Lower-paid professionals, but not manual laborers (i.e., police officers, non-management office workers, small business owners).
    • Upper-lower class. Blue-collar workers and manual labourers. Also known as the "working class."
    • Lower-lower class. The homeless and permanently unemployed, as well as the "working poor."
    Although, to be honest, I also believe that social class is not merely defined by income but also by a number of other factors including education and "type" of work performed (ie does the individual perform the bulk of their work tasks with the mind or their hands?). It should be an interesting discussion to say the least.
     
  9. Jon99

    Jon99 DIS Veteran

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    So according to Warner, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett would be lower-upper class... :)
     
  10. CheshireVal

    CheshireVal Can you stand on your head?<BR><font color="purple

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    I always hated classifying people according to income. For me, character really plays into it a lot. There are some really rich people who are not decent people. To me, they are low class.

    There are some really poor people who are decent, honest, people, and I would have a hard time calling them "low class."

    Maybe I'm more comfortable with the division of "blue collar/white collar," which doesn't really indicate *class*.
     
  11. Chicago526

    Chicago526 <font color=red>Any dream will do...<br><font colo

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    See, I have a hard time with a few of those definitions. My father only got a GED (droped out of high school at 17, joined the Air Force with his mother's permision and got his GED in the service). Once he got out, he worked in an auto factory for a few years, then got a job at Sears as the "Kenmore Man", yep, he's the guy that came to fix your Sears appliance! He worked his way up to department manager with Sears, got sick of being transfered all the time (I think we moved 4 times in 6 years) and wanted to make more money. So he got a job with Xerox fixing the big copiers (not the little ones that just make a copy or two, the big ones that makes thousands of copies). He retired from Xerox a millionaire. Dad wasn't educated, and while he wasn't a blue collar worker by the time he worked for Xerox, he wasn't a white collar profesional either. Mom also worked full time as a book keeper, she only had a high school diploma, so she was an office worker but had no advance skills or a degree of any kind. So, where would my family have fit in?

    For that matter, where do DH and I fit in? We both also only have high school educations (I did go to college but did not finish and have no degree of any kind). DH is a press operator for a major newspaper, so I guess that makes him blue collar. I'm a corporate travel agent, and while I guess you could call that a skilled position, again I have no college degree. Last year, with DH's OT we grossed just over $100,000. I think we are solid middle class, by the above definition, we'd be lower middle class, I guess. But if you look just at our income, some would argue we are upper middle class!

    I guess that's the problem with "deffinitions" in general. Not many people actually fit them!
     
  12. dvcgirl

    dvcgirl DIS Veteran

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    Yes, I saw the preview for this show and it looked interesting. I think that they'll also get into things like assumptions made by what kind of car people drive, or that some view obese people as low class....that kind of thing.

    I think it's interesting though....by the definitions posted in akamad4themouses post, not only would Bill Gates be lower upper class, but Paris Hilton would be Upper Upper class. Heh.

    Also, I find it interesting that they have physicians and lawyers in upper middle class, and yet I'm sure that there are many folks who would be considered *lower* middle class who make far more.....like lots of small business owners for example. That really speaks to the "keeping with the joneses" component. Lawyers and Physicians are almost expected to live to a certain level, our very own DisneySteve being a very rare example. I see this with my own BIL who is an attorney. He really felt pressured to get a certain type of car....and he did, a Landrover. My own DH makes over double what my BIL makes, and loves his 9 year old 4-Runner to pieces.
     
  13. mjbaby

    mjbaby DIS Veteran

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    I've read some writings by sociologists and social anthropologists that describe class designations as only partly about money with the rest of the equation, as it were, more about behaviours and outlooks. Judging from the blurb on the Oprah preview ("how you discipline your children...") it sounds as if this idea will be part of the program rather than just classifications in cold dollar terms.

    I know several families who are "old money" in terms of name, habits, education and so forth (these are the "kinds" of people described in the Preppy Handbook from back in the day) but barely have two dimes to rub together. The Genteel Poverty set, you know? I know other families who have quite a bit of money but seem to be quite steady in their embrace of their lower middle class behaviours and viewpoints. Many social scientists believe that no matter what a family's bank balance, it's the adoption of another classes behaviours that would lead to acceptance by other members of that class - in fact, some say it's the only way to really climb or descend socially and that money is a very, very small part of the success or failure of one's attempt to be accepted by another class.

    Anyway, should be an interesting show.
     
  14. dcfromva

    dcfromva <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    ..Right next to Bill Gates. :teeth:

    -DC :earsboy:
     
  15. Chicago526

    Chicago526 <font color=red>Any dream will do...<br><font colo

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    Dang! I knew Mom and Dad were holding out on me! I'll need to make sure I'm very nice to them so they won't write me out of the will! :rotfl:
     
  16. aka-mad4themouse

    aka-mad4themouse <font color="blue">Budget Board Co-Host</font>

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    I guess that there needs to be a line drawn between what constitutes "social" class, as opposed to "economic" class. Social class has more intangible factors that come into play. In a society that founded itself on the lack of a "noble" class, it goes against our sensibilities to acknowledge the presence of any kind of social classes. Yet, an "economic" class is less subjective and much easier to define (based solely on income) without violating our innate understanding that we are all created equal.

    It appears that Oprah's show will be focusing on the "social classes" issues. It could be a very hot topic of discussion. While Warner's definition lean more towards defining the social classes, let's all try to remember that this is simply one man's opinion and there is no one-size-fits-all perspective. I would hope that no one would take offense in the opinion of someone who has never met them, nor knows anything about their background.
     
  17. hollyb

    hollyb DIS Veteran

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    I like to think we are in a "class" all by ourselfs. LOL :banana: Lower, middle upper. I honestly think that if your a good person. Who cares? :thumbsup2
     
  18. Chicago526

    Chicago526 <font color=red>Any dream will do...<br><font colo

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    No offence taken, on my part anyway! I just thought those definitions were to "one size fits all", that's all!
     
  19. disneysteve

    disneysteve You have to enjoy life, not go

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    This is so true. I work in a very poor area. Many of my patients live on SS, public assistance or disability. But many of them are the nicest people you would ever want to meet. I would never call them low class. Though from an economic standpoint they are, they certainly aren't from a social standpoint.
     
  20. pearlieq

    pearlieq <font color=green>They can sit & spin<br><font col

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    I happen to heartily agree with Warner's definitions of class, as a measuring tool or a classification group, not as barometer of how "good" a person is.

    There are low class jerks, middle class jerks, and upper class jerks--economic class has nothing to do with what kind of person someone is, but the ideas are so muddled in our society it's impossible to separate the two.
     
  21. KelNottAt

    KelNottAt <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

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    I like the definition of class = income + education.

    That is, a multi-millionaire lottery winner without a high school diploma will always be middle class at best. Likewise, someone with 2 PhDs earning just over minimum wage is also middle class.

    Their incomes alone would place them in classes at opposite ends of the scale. But, include education as factor, and they're both in the middle.
     

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