2/12/2005

Are there Class?

In the article, Class warfare without class, by Donald Luskin it talks about how there is not truly class in America because “class implies a rigid structure, with little to no mobility, and easily defined borders.” The thought of placing a group of people into levels depending on what they make is harder than one thinks. Where are the lines? How much or how little does one have to make to put them in the rich or poor category? Can this clearly be defined? Think of someone making $50,000 a year, but has $20,000 in school loans and a family with two kids. The lines are not clear as to how much freedom there is in an income.
The article then goes on to discuss if there are institutional barriers in which make it harder for people to advance. Yes, anyone in America can get money for a loan which can make it so that person can advance. There is a push for people to become successful in America too which means, money for schooling and so on. Yet, there is a tendency for the people at the bottom level not to make it to the top. This brings up the fact of regulation and how it makes it harder for the bottom level to advance due to the fact that money is important when it comes to pay off the right people to get what one wants.
The question is are there class and if so are they affected by institutional barriers?

2 comments:

Tom said...

You know Emily you have brought up some very interesting ideas. When I hear of someone defining "class" it usually involves the distinction of income earned. No one ever stops to think about people's costs that go along with their income. This distinction I think is very important because it would shed a light on where people really stand (thousand dollar millionaires). Now, for the institutional barriers, I would like to think of it as institutional complexity. As our great economy has progressed so has our financial intermediaries and government creating more than one way to make a buck and regulations to tell how you can't make a buck. With all the complexity now I think it is hard to say if there are "barriers". I would like to still cling to the idea that we still live in free country and for the most part everyone still has the opportunity to progress and earn as much as money as he or she can.

Mack said...

I think that our society has classes but they are not a bad thing. The fact that some people appear to be better off than others is something that fules our economy. Competition is what makes our economy work, you could say that class warfare is just trying to get more. Debt can only let you appear rich for a short amount of time. To really exceed you need to cross the harder barriers like Education and having the right friends. That is the beauty of a free market economy, not that classes are not there but that you can cross them with work.