There will always be a lower class

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I was reading recently an article in which an interviewee was championing the idea of getting the poor onto the ladder of middle class. As I thought about this, I wondered about how feasible this is.

Let’s pretend we spend billions of dollars on ensuring the entire lower class get enough education and skills in order to get jobs paying well enough for them to move into what is now the middle class.

Now there is no lower class: just middle and upper class.

Or is there?

Does such a programme eliminate lower class, or does it simply raise the line that delineates between the lower and middle classes?

I guess one could argue that at least in this situation, the poor are richer. That being said, with more money, comes more spending, and the rich wold be the main beneficiaries of that spending. As the poor get richer then, so the rich get richer, and the income-inequality gap remains unbridgeable.

Income inequality would still exist, the cost of living would go up, and the lower class would be back at the bottom of the ladder again.

So, should we just let things be, or is there value in helping the poor get into the middle class?

19 thoughts on “There will always be a lower class

  1. IN some respects the advances of life, and the luxuries, have to be funded by the rich so the rest of us can reap the benifits later. Someone had to pay $500 for a calculator that just added so the rest of us could get one for a dollar that can do calculus. Granted the poorer we are the longer over time we have to wait, but ultimately it filters down as it becomes old hat. Eliminating the rich I believe will eliminate the advancements.

    But to your point, I agree, you will never eliminate the poor. I would say you can only advance everyone’s status. I can make my 7 year old a ten year old but my 10yo will be 13. Of course the theory isn’t perfect as it seems today the rich are getting richer at a much higher rate than the poor (ie th gap is increasing).

    I am not really stisfied with my comment, but I will leave it for others to show me where I am wrong.

  2. Good point on the rich funding innovation. My post wasn’t about eliminating the upper class, but I think your comments should be considered in this discussion.

  3. If you want societies which are closest to this goal, look at the Northern European countries. They have no poor class there, and the society is working great. There is little difference in the salary of a street cleaner and that of a politician.
    So yes, it’s possible.

  4. Nothern Europe has a poor class. Mainly it is through African and Eastern European refugees. They have moved their citizens up the ladder, but that is the place the immigrants have filled.

    I look at America – our poor are among the richest peolple in the world (car ownership, running water, TV ownership, etc.), but compared to American society only they are poor.

  5. If you make the poor a little richer, you will still take the bottom few and call them poor.
    It is difficult to define poor.
    There is a sense of entitlement for everyone. America’s poor can still get a credit card and waste all their money on interest…..just like the middle class and upper classes.
    As for “middle class” it is really a socioeconomic category. Middle class has connotations of education and lifestyle. Lower class has other connotations that are not linked to income.

  6. I think the issue is not so much to close the gap necessarily but to make it so that the lowest rung on the ladder has a standard of living that we view as acceptable. So, when we no longer have children in America who don’t know where their next meal is coming from or parents who can afford to send their kids to school, and so on, then it’ll be the situation we want.

    This might not be possible to do without closing the gap, though.

  7. I guess the question then, alea, is how do we improve their standard of living without causing the price of goods and services to rise in the process, and thus perpetuation a low standard of living.

  8. Question: Can we separate poor from a monetary measurement?

    It seems to me that we would need to if we want to clearly define poor without context (i.e. America’s poor versus East Timor’s poor, etc.)

  9. How to we improve the poor’s standard of living? Promote marriage.
    Marriage would lift more than half of poor children out of poverty.

  10. Interesting, but having grown up poor in America, I’m grateful I was here and not poor in Tanzania (or, quite frankly, middle class, since they basically made the entire middle class poor there).

    One thing that was part of growing up is that I did not know that I was poor, did not realize it until college. An important thing that can be changed is attitude and approach.

    Ah well, I’m still in favor of moving the bottom upwards even if we are always in a relative position to each other.

  11. “Marriage would lift more than half of poor children out of poverty.”

    I don’t see the connection here.

  12. There is such a huge connection between mental illness and poverty, though. The issue of “lower class” can’t really be addressed without comprehensive care that includes mental health.

    There was a study a few years ago in NY about a welfare reform program that included many single mothers who were depressed. It was thought that they were depressed BECAUSE OF their grim circumstances. But guess what, when their depression was treated, they lifted themselves out of poverty.

  13. “I think he is referring to changing families from single parent to dual parent.”

    Still, I’m not sure how having two parents brings children into the middle class.

  14. It either doubles the number of wage earners or adds an additional dependent…

    Still, I don’t see how having two wage earners necessarily allows one to no longer be considered in the lower class.

    I am sure that there are thousands of couples who can attest to this fact.

    Am I to believe that the lowers class is made up exclusively by the unmarried, divorced and widow(er)s?

    It makes no sense.

  15. As grim as it is to say, I think there will always be a lower class with the way society works. *sigh.


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