Class stratification

A colleague on “anothercyclingforum.com” wrote:

I’d wager that everyone who posts on here is middle class. Perhaps varying degrees of middle class, but not working class in the way our grandparents would have known it.

Working class = hand to mouth existence, where if you dont work for a week or two, you dont eat.

My reply:

 

It simply isn’t relevant to talk about “Class” in the way it was (say) up to 1960, or perhaps a bit later. Your own definition of working class just doesn’t exist to any great degree in this country. Traditionally, the working class were entirely associated with manufacturing / heavy industry and many of the men died while still of working age. My grandfather died aged 60, 4 years before I was born, with pneumoconiosis and crippled in a pit fall. My wife’s grandfather died at a similar age of rotten lungs after a lifetime in the cotton mills. By contrast, although they always considered themselves working class and had working class attitudes, my mother lived to 93 and my father is still going at 91.
If you haven’t got a working class, then it hardly seems relevant to talk about a “middle” class.
Far more people than ever before are steeped in luxury in this country.

Working class implies rank exploitation and the sort of exploitation that our parents and grandparents suffered from has long been eradicated by health & safety legislation, minimum wage, closing the mines and shutting down manufacturing industry. That doesn’t mean that exploitation doesn’t exist because the wealthy have thought up far more elaborate and subtle ways of exploiting people. The crude industrial exploitation has been exported to where labour is cheap.

Exploitation today consists of things like PFI, raided pension schemes, negative equity, short-term contracts, student loans. It’s exploitation of the next generation by the current generation. It’s the same attitude of Government which fails to do anything about Climate Change but wants to build nuclear power stations; pays farmers more to produce nothing than to produce food and then spends a fortune on fuel, shipping our food across the planet and then chucking half of it away.

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