May 16, 2005

There's more to class than table manners and matching socks.

I've noticed that when people talk about the "middle class" or "the upper class" here in the states, it's often in a rather vague way. I'm not sure why. Maybe a lack of energy for doing the research. Maybe a holdover from the idea that to talk about "class" refers to the system in Great Britain or India--and not the social strata in our so-called meritocracy.

Whatever the reason, it's an interesting if somewhat uncomfortable topic--one that's particularly relevant now that our wealth distribution has shifted even more in favor of the Haves. Our popular mythology rests on the idea of "movin' on up" a la George and Weezy, but "keepin' the status quo" is more like it.

And if you believe in Friedman's Flat World, the question of what's to happen to our lower and middle classes becomes all the more complicated.

The New York Times has done a nice group of articles on the subject. You can access the interactive features here, although you must sign up for a free membership. It's worth it.

Thanks to Snarkmarket for the link.

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