Professor Cathleen Armstead
17 March 2013
Social Class Research Paper
The United States has a very unique social class structure. In the US while there do exist many different branches in this structure, each branch has their own set of individuals and incomes that all serve a purpose to make this economy function. There are three main core classes: Lower Class, Middle Class, and Upper Class. This paper will deeply analyze each of these classes including their subclasses as well as looking at several theories and reasons as to why our social class has been set this way.
The Lower class is the group of individuals who make less than $32,000 and are the biggest group in the social class ladder. In this group there are two sub-classes: Poor and Working Class. The poor account for 15-20% of the social economy and in this group there isn’t much chance of them to move in the social class ladder due to the inability to better educate them or find the necessary connections to move up. The people mostly categorized in this group are homeless, welfare recipients and unemployed. The working class makes up 30-40% of the social economy and while they may seem similar to the poor they have many distinct differences. While they may not have the education to obtain higher salaries they are the people who fill the positions that require little to none skills and do usually have high school education. They are referred to as “blue collar” and make about $29,000-$48,000.
Middle class individuals make up about 40-50% of the economy and have a wide range of individuals and incomes. Lower Middle class make in between $48,000-$122,000 and they usually attend colleges and universities but do require them to apply for loans or work studies. The upper middle class, which is the other sub-group in this class, make up to $120,000-$330,000. They are highly educated and most of the time obtain advanced degrees and live in households that have dual incomes. Their jobs are also secured and have insurance.
The wealthy class only compromises of 5% of American households but hold more than 25% of the nation’s wealth. They make anywhere from $300,000 to millions and most of the time have political influence and multiple servants. Most of these households’ children attend private schools and go to Ivy League universities due to their lineage.
There are two major theories that explain social classes: Marx and Weber. Marx’s theory or Marxian believes that income and status do not depict someone’s class instead their production or power relations of a group. Your place in a group whether it may be Capitalists or Workers is also depicted by the power you have in that group and the production you make. Weber’s Theory while it is similar to Marx’s argues that classes are more than just owners and workers. He believed that they amount or type or work also depicted someone’s place in a group while it may require many skills or little skills as well as difference in wages.
Another important individual who had a very precise outlook on society was Domhoff. His theory was the class domination theory of power which simply states that the rich and elite are the ones who set the rules and guidelines that the other class groups must follow and abide by. The upper class controls the economy through the corporate community and being the ones that control this community they allow themselves to set certain standards for the other classes and by being the leaders of the corporations they have shaped it in a way that they may stay in charge and that other classes such as the working class are kept down from rising up the ladder. They also show they have power politically by funding campaigns and endorsing individuals in exchange for “favors”. These leaders also make sure their close knit group is kept intact with such things as the Bohemian Grove and the Social Registry. The social registry is a list of important...