Classless society

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Classless society refers to a society in which no one is born into a social class. Such distinctions of wealth, income, education, culture, or social network might arise and would only be determined by individual experience and achievement in such a society.

Since these distinctions are difficult to avoid, advocates, such as anarchists, communists, etc. of a classless society propose various means to achieve and maintain it and attach varying degrees of importance to it as an end in their overall programs/philosophy.

Classlessness

The term classlessness has been used to describe different social phenomena.

In societies where classes have been abolished it is usually the result of a voluntary decision by the membership to form such a society, to abolish a pre-existing class structure in an existing society or to form a new one without any. This would include communes, of the modern period, such as various Utopian communities, the kibbutzim, etc. as well as revolutionary and political acts at the nation-state level such as the Paris Commune, Russian Revolution, etc. The abolition of social classes and the establishment of a classless society is the primary goal of communism, libertarian socialism and anarchism.

Classlessness also refers to the state of mind required in order to operate effectively as a social anthropologist. Anthropological training includes making assessments of and therefore becoming aware of one's own class assumptions, so that these can be set aside from conclusions reached about other societies. This may be compared to ethnocentric biases or the "neutral axiology" required by Max Weber. Otherwise conclusions reached about studied societies will likely be coloured by the anthropologist's own class values.

Classlessness can also refer to a society that has acquired pervasive and substantial social justice; where the economic upper class wields no special political power and poverty as experienced historically is virtually nonexistent.

Marxist definition

Main article: pure communism

In Marxist theory, tribal hunter-gatherer society, primitive communism, was classless. Everyone was equal in a basic sense as a member of the tribe and the different functional assignments of the primitive mode of production, howsoever rigid and stratified they might be, did not and could not, simply because of the numbers, produce a class society as such. With the transition to agriculture, the possibility to make a surplus product, i.e. to produce more than what is necessary to satisfy one's immediate needs, developed in the course of development of the productive forces. According to Marxism, this also made it possible for a class society to develop, because the surplus product could be used to nourish a ruling class, which did not participate in production.

See also

References