Class Distinctions In America Essay

5977 words - 24 pages

The ideal concept of American society is one in which all of the citizens are treated equal in all every realm and situation. Class, race or gender does not divide the utopian America; everyone is afforded the same opportunities and chances for success. In this chimerical state Americans are able to go as far as their dreams allow and with hard work and perseverance any thing is possible. Many Americans subscribe to this pluralist view of the Country, believing that within our democratic system it is the majority who maintains control and sets policy. Unfortunately this idyllic country does not exist nor has it ever existed. America is made up of distinct social classes and the movement within those classes is for the most part, limited to the various classes in the middle where the lines of demarcation are blurred. Although the majority of the Country's population would attest to the myth that America is a classless society, the distinctions definitely exist and influence the entire life scope of most Americans. Housing, health care, education, career prospects and social status are all dependent on the amount of wealth one has and their class standing. Our system needs the built in inequities of the class system in order to perpetuate itself and the upper class needs to have their interests as the dominant determiner of corporate and governmental power and policy.

There are eight classes in America consisting of the rich elite, very rich-upper class, lower-upper class, upper-middle class, middle class, working class, working poor and the underclass. The percentages of families in the various classes as established by Gilbert are thought to be 1.4 percent in the upper top class, 1.6 percent in the lower top class. 10.2 percent in the upper middle class, 28.1 percent in the lower middle class, 32.6 percent in the upper lower class and 25.2 percent in the lower-lower class. (27) There is a demarcation between the classes beginning with the rich elite, the upper upper class and the lower upper class. Those with inherited wealth are placed above those with self-earned wealth while those with great wealth are distinguished from those with a moderate amount of wealth. They are stable within their ranks, not dependent upon the economic climate of the country to sustain their positions. The upper middle class belongs to those people who are doing well and whose position also is not likely to change with the economic climate of the country. The middle class is comprised of people who are relatively comfortable and can afford a minimal number of luxuries. The working class can afford very few luxuries and are just getting by. Their position, like the middle class is subject to change with socio-economic changes in the country. The working poor cannot actually make ends meet and often become displaced workers with the ability to plummet down into the lowest class. They are not usually able to access the minimal comforts of the working...

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