Sunday, September 22, 2013

Social Class in America

From wikipedia:

Social class in the United States is a controversial issue, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its very existence. Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the "rich", the "middle class", and the "poor". More complex models that have been proposed describe as many as a dozen class levels; while still others deny the very existence, in the European sense, of "social class" in American society. 

Most definitions of class structure group people according to wealth, income, education, type of occupation, and membership in a specific subculture or social network.

Sociologists Dennis Gilbert, William Thompson, Joseph Hickey, and James Henslin have proposed class systems with six distinct social classes. These class models feature an upper or capitalist class consisting of the rich and powerful, an upper middle class consisting of highly educated and affluent professionals, a middle class consisting of college-educated individuals employed in white-collar industries, a lower middle class, a working class constituted by clerical and blue collar workers whose work is highly routinized, and a lower class divided between the working poor and the unemployed underclass.

The Corporate Structure

In corporate America, we understand that there is a hierarchical structure in place where the CEO is the top income earner and top decision-maker of the company. Underneath the CEO, you have Senior Vice Presidents, then Vice Presidents, then Managers and so on until you reach the most entry-level employee position within the organization. When we first enter the corporate structure, we come on board as an entry-level employee, typically work in a window-less cubicle, and are told to work hard to get noticed in hopes of getting a promotion to the next level. We devote many long hours and years of our lives with the anticipation of being promoted to a corner office with increased pay. Still, we work long hours and the process repeats as we strive to achieve another promotion, a bigger title and more pay. Ultimately, we seek to become the CEO of the organization after we’ve devoted years to work our way up the corporate ladder.

When we look at the corporate structure itself, it creates a pyramid-like shape. Within this structure, the CEO is able to gain freedom of time and money by leveraging the efforts of his managers and his many employees. The employees, on the other hand, have no leverage in this model and are trading their time for money (also known as renting their income). Equally important is that the employees typically have very little to no ownership of the business itself and do not share the same mentality as the owner(s) to go "above and beyond" in their job duties.

Many people are drawn to the corporate model because of their core values and how they were raised. A person with an "employee" mentality likes the security of having a regular paycheck and company provided benefits versus having to go out and earn a living based upon their own efforts. In a nutshell, an employee accepts being told what they're worth, how much time they'll get off from work and is always at the risk of being let go.

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