Talk:Working class

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people employed for wages?[edit]

im not sure all people employed for wages are working class(most lawyers,professors and doctors as well as at least some corporate executives work for wages,are they working class?!)

Lower class?[edit]

One englishman said that during the recent few generations a lower class has been born. Traditionally people speak of the upper-, middle- and working classes, but the lower class is supposedly defined by their way of living on social security, and have no intention at all of contributing to society. In my opinion, "lower class" should not redirect to this page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Lowerclass is the correct label however. "Working Class" is a specifically Marxist perspective with an Owner/Worker dichotomy, whilst lower is the appropriate designation in comparison to middle and upper. LeapUK (talk) 07:16, 23 March 2015 (UTC)


"The Answers are:" Did someone ask a question? That line and the bullets afterwards make no sense at all. Anyone care to explain?Vesperal 01:11, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

They are the usual resolution of the "key issues". Fred Bauder 01:32, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
That may be true, but the text in question still looks like an unresolved dialogue between two editors. To make it factual we should say that 'X asked these questions' and 'Y provided these answers'. --Heron 09:09, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I found this section a problem, too. It's inaccurate as a description of the 'usual' resolution of these issues within Marxist thought. These issues are still highly debated and to suggest there are now generally accepted answers is misleading. Moreover, any claim of what is 'normal' or the majority in Marxist thought at any one time is going to be a highly partisan or subjective assertion, in the lack of some review of study of the issue. I'd remove this section. The alternative would be to include references to various points in the debate, but this could get very long and messy. 12:22, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
Agree this section needs restructuring / rephrasing, but think it should be left in. I found it very helpful and these are questions I had. It would be much better of course if they were referenced. --Bethgranter (talk) 22:14, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Should this article be consolidated?[edit]

This article isn't big enough to survive on its own. It adds nothing that can't be found in social class or any of several articles on Marxism. I'm going to merge it if there are no objections, leaving behind only a REDIRECT. --Uncle Ed 20:42, 13 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I disagree, it has alot that can be added to it, and is fairly hearty for a stub. I've heard the term used often enough that its clear to me a decent article could be made out of it. Sam Spade 20:48, 13 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I think that the article is substantial enough that it can stand on it's own. Perhaps proletariat could be merged into this article? --Jeff 22:29, Jun 1, 2004 (UTC)
I agree that proletariat should be merged with this article, and I suspect that working class can stand on its own. AdamRetchless 17:25, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Apparently, it is impossible to introduce the concept of working class without first discussing theories of social class. Let's merge the articles. AdamRetchless 23:19, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Lets not. Working class has the capacity to swamp Social class (see the bullet summary of Marxist debate alone). Fifelfoo 01:26, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Merged from Talk:Working-class: this page really helped me do a report on renoir thanks! i love wikipedia . org a lot!!!!!

Socialists and religion[edit]

The article stated that Marxists are atheist BECAUSE of their social beliefs about religion. I think that most atheists are such for metaphysical reasons, and their beliefs about the social role of religion are secondary. Also, to say that most Socialists are atheist or agnostic is flat out wrong, since there are many Christian socialist movements. AdamRetchless 17:30, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It's not clear to me what relevance religion has here at all. Recommend deleting that par. Adhib 16:23, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The reason many Marxists are atheist is becuase of dialectical thinking. Dialectical Materialism is an integral part of Marxism. --Chairman chris 17:43, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

What we know and what we believe aren't, however, the same thing at all.
Nuttyskin 03:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

"Self-oppression" section too dominant[edit]

That half the text is devoted to the idea that people are poor because they are lazy is a strong implicit POV. That section is also very non-specific. The article could be balanced with a section on "oppression by the rich", but I don't think that kind of non-specific tit-for-tat stuff tells the reader much. Any ideas fot NPOV? Jihg 18:06, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I don't agree, but I do think the article needs alot of work. I'm going to put some headers on it. Sam [Spade] 17:31, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, for one thing, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that the POV section heading has been fixed since the above complaint was made... -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:42, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The working class majority[edit]

AdamRetchless (talk · contribs) could you please produce a reference that the majority of the people in a developed economy do obtain most of their income from work. Note the book by Michael Zweig, Working Class Majority: America's Best Kept Secret, Cornell University Press (2001), trade paperback, 198 pages, ISBN 0801487277 in the further reading section. Fred Bauder 00:52, July 11, 2005 (UTC)

A question, also if the majority is not working class, what class would they fall into? Note that the introduction reads "It typically designates an intermediary class between poverty or unemployment and the greater financial security of middle class business owners, managers, and professionals." Fred Bauder 00:52, July 11, 2005 (UTC)

If you have a citation for that claim, cite it immediately after the claim. Wikipedia has a footnote system. If the majority is not working class, then they would fall into the group of "all other classes combined"...unemployed, middle, and upper. "Majority" means "greater than half"... the single largest group forms a "plurality" (but I don't think that would be meaningful considering the semi-arbitrary divisions involved here). AdamRetchless 02:35, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

I looked at the review of that book, and looked at the introduction again, and the key words that conflict with the assertion that the working class constitutes a majority are "typically designates" and "financial security". If we are going by the common conception of "working class" (typical designation), then the majority of individuals in developed societies are "middle class." This is also true if we use the criteria of "financial security", which is the criteria that people typically use when speaking of "working class", along with access to higher education (I think the majority of adults in developed countries have graduated from a college). If we use more formal/technical definitions, as used by Zweig or Marx (control over work environment, income from capital), then we can probably make a case for "working class majority". The very fact that Zweig needed to write that book to argue that there is a working class majority suggests that this is not a commonly accepted assertion. AdamRetchless 02:51, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

According to the census[1], only 27% of Americans over 25 have completed a Bachelor's degree. I still think that the definition needs to be more clear if it is going to include the assertion of a working class majority. Perhaps mention that "working class" is sometimes used synonymously with "blue collar", but that we are using a different definition for this article. AdamRetchless 03:04, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
Yes, the term Blue-collar worker has been used so much in the media, that it seems a glaring omission not to have the term mentioned in this article. Blue-collar workers are thought of, by many, as members of the working class, though some people doing high-responsibility and/or highly-skilled blue-collar work earn a very substantial income (well into the middle-income bracket). They may be very well trained, and they may be sending their kids to college. Points to consider. (talk) 17:50, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I fixed up the introductory paragraph to make space for the statement about a working class majority, but forgot to add the statement myself. I think that paragraph is fit to be a real "introduction" (outside of any section) rather than being part of the definitions section, which can be reserved for more extensive descriptions of formal definitions. I also forgot to add any footnotes...but now I need to focus on keeping myself outside of the working class. :) AdamRetchless 03:28, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

i apologize to Max. i didn't realize that specifying the broad range of the working class was "right-wing POV." (although, it seems we have a new intro rewrite that looks smoother and more succinct) J. Parker Stone 03:25, 11 July 2005 (UTC)


"While some writers dispute the existance of a working class,"

Who are those writers? In what reputable reference do that say that?

Fred Bauder 02:13, July 12, 2005 (UTC)

I'd immediately point to the stratification class systems which claim a fundamental distinction between "blue collar" and "white collar". See Australia's conception of the working class for example, which (since the 1980s) has transmuted into "Battlers" and "Aspirants". Bizarre but true, doesn't deserve more than a one line mention. Fifelfoo 03:36, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Relevant/Accurate Facts?[edit]

Many of the facts or generalizations are in fact opinions. For instance, the suggestion that one million dollars is needed to live in the US without working is highly subjective. (one could live on $500,000 quite easily, based on the average rate of return for conservative investments like mutual funds.) Furthermore, actual cash is not necessary - many people live comfortably on businesses worth less than $100,000 that they own.

Also, using Marxist language in the initial definition shows a political POV, as in "The main defining characteristic of the working class is its dependence on wage-labor (or salaried employment) as the main or only source of income, because of lack of capital assets or land that could provide an alternative source of livelihood." In reality, one could argue that the main defining characteristic is simply whether one is in management or whether one uses physical labor or 'brain' labor. In today's economy, it is not simply the lack of capital assets or land that may indicate working class, but also a lack of marketable knowledge. You can own 100 acres of rural land in most US states that would be impossible to earn a living on, while having the right knowledge could earn you a living anywhere.

Finally, the alleged sexual habits of the working class (citing research 57 and 32 years old) is irrelevant to this article unless we are going to take the ridiculous practice of defining working class by their sexual habits. Also, judging certain sexual habits as sophisticated shows a POV and this whole section is childish.jasoncward 01:11, 16 October 05

I don't think that mentioning Marx in this case is political, given his central place in the formulation of the popular concept. Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations makes many of the same observations Marx does, for example, but this part of Smith's work was largely ignored. Although there are political actors who use Marx' name, mentioning Marx is no more political than mentioning Buddhism is religious. Rorybowman 16:56, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


I'm moving this text here from the article:

According to Rubin, who cites as sources Kinsey (1948) and a national survey in Playboy magazine twenty-five years later, working class sexuality has increased considerably in sophistication during the last decades of the twentieth century: duration of foreplay has increased from near zero to an average of 15 minutes; the percentage of married men who have engaged in cunnilingus was reported at 15% in 1948 and at 56% 25 years later. This increase of sophistication has resulted in some dissatisfaction, especially among working class women, who may not enjoy or participate willingly in such practices as fellatio.

There is no context for this at the moment; the reader doesn't know why he or she should expect working class sexuality to be any different from the sexuality of other people. --Allen 18:17, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Why wouldn't they? Amongst any two different groups of people with distinct patterns of living, wouldnt you expect there to be differences in all their behavior patterns, including sexuality? Salvor Hardin 18:28, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
That's an interesting question; I guess it gets down to basic philosophy of science stuff. Taking two groups of people, to me the most parsimonious assumption would be that they are pretty much the same except for whatever trait we're using to distinguish them. So I would take that as my null hypothesis, and wait for evidence to disprove it.
On a more practical level, what if this was an article that distinguished people by geography rather than income? People in Maine, for example, have their own patterns of living -- eating lobsters, saying "wicked", etc. But wouldn't it be odd to see a line in the article saying, "About 20% of Mainers have engaged in cunnilingus"? By contrast, it would be -- well, still a bit odd, but in a different way -- to see a line saying, "Studies show that Mainers engage in cunnilingus at significantly higher rates than the rest of the United States population." Likewise, if the "sexuality" section in this article did a better job of contrasting working-class sexuality with other people's sexuality, I'd be fine with it. But as it is, it simply describes working-class sexuality, and the reader is left to ponder how these trends might or might not differ from trends in everyone else's sexuality. --Allen 18:54, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
LOL, this is too funny. I see your point. But I am aware that studies have been done contrasting the sexual habits of the upper and lower classes in the USA. So I know the info is out there somewhere. But if we take your suggestion and do the contrasting within this article, wouldn't we have to do the same on the upper class page, thereby duplicating information? Is that really what you're advocating? Why not just include a lot of facts about the specific topic at hand and let the reader make the comparison between the two articles on their own? Salvor Hardin 19:05, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
I think you're right that we shouldn't duplicate information too much. But since there are, by most categorization schemes, a lot of people who are neither working class nor upper class, I don't think the working-class-vs-others results would necessarily be the mirror image of the upper-class-vs-others results. I think the best solution, assuming enough info can be found, might be to make a separate article called something like Sexuality and socioeconomic class, and then put a link to it from each page on a class, along with a short summary of how that particular class is thought to differ from the others. --Allen 20:26, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

History section -- Marxist POV section removed[edit]

I removed the following paragraph:

"In the 18th century in Flanders and England more and more labourers subsisted only on the basis of their labour. They ceased to own tools, land or feudal privileges. Additionally, the dispossession of large numbers of peasants created wandering bands of vagabonds. These members of society were dispossessed by the wealthy in order to produce marketable commodities. This process, where traditional social and political roles are destroyed, and capitalist commodity relations are substituted, is bound up with the generation of working classes across the world and is commonly known as proletarianisation. "

I know there's some truth to be had here, but the paragraph as it stands is a Marxist diatribe. Anyone wanna take a stab at fixing it? Salvor Hardin 09:01, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

The actions were those of proto-capitalists. Only the report is Marxist. Fred Bauder 01:27, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
So, let me see... the paragraph describes very accurately the process of "proletarianisation", but you consider that it needs to be "fixed" bacause its a "marxist diatribe"?... good call there macarthy boy, and while you are at it, why don't you burn all the books of that mean mean marxist Eric Hobsbawn too?, he might not have been wrong, but he was an ugly ugly marxist...


I've removed a confused and inaccurate reference to Hitler's apparently not believing in the existence of a working class. Mein Kampf is replete with references to "working classes," for example.


Mentions of laziness need to be substantially revised. Laziness is often seen by aristocrats as a virtue; it's the middle class who believes it bad. --Daniel C. Boyer 20:11, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Hear, hear! From a middle-class person with all of the trappings of the lumpenproletariat, laziness most definitely is a virtue, far better than the Puritan crap about "work ethic" and "no pain, no gain" - as if industriousness was something desirable, something that lead to something more than mental and physical illness (and an early grave or missing mind) - that so imbues the middlebrow class. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:40, 26 May 2011 (UTC)


  1. Removed "part time worker that runs a retail shop/It would depend on primary sources of income" from the Marxist definition since this is a spurious case and a conflation of the precarious worker with the petty bourgeois.
  2. The article fails to make clear the cognitive tension in the use of the term over time and it's origin. The original contrast was between those who toiled at all and those who by virtue of their birth did not and were served by those who did. This distinction is confused and confounded in the modern consciousness where on the one hand work is considered enobling, 'the protestant work ethic', and on the other hand the residual notion of the nobility of not working for a living (having made it or having it made). This can be seen for example in reactions that people have to the term 'labor', especially thier own, if they are in the professional classes and especially in the United States.
  3. Presumably because of #2 above, it fails to address the still present and objective sense of the term, i.e. that set of persons in society who are on a regular basis engaged in socially useful labor, which would be the overwhelming majority excluding primarily the elderly, disabled, and minors. Lycurgus 00:29, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
  4. Has too many big words. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Improper Overcoverage Tag[edit]


from the American Working Class § because it doesn't match the content of the section which is about the subject title concept. If it is that you want to see a by region breakout then do it. The text as currently stands refers to the national concept. Also, I don't think there's very much if any regional variation in the use of this concept in the united states (in contrast to the global variation or even within the English Speaking world). (talk) 06:14, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

"This article discusses the term as used in the Anglosphere"[edit]

"This article discusses the term as used in the Anglosphere" appears at the top of this article. Given that this is an English-language encyclopedia, couldn't this statement apply equally to almost every single article? What is the purpose of placing the statement on this particular article? --Yumegusa (talk) 12:48, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Good point. Actually, the term "working class" is only used this way in the UK. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:09, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

North Americans also use this term. BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 18:42, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

John Lennon Working Class Hero Implementation[edit]

As soon as you're born they make you feel small, By giving you no time instead of it all, Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all

A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school, They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool, Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years, Then they expect you to pick a career, When you can't really function you're so full of fear

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, And you think you're so clever and classless and free, But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see

There's room at the top they are telling you still, But first you must learn how to smile as you kill, If you want to be like the folks on the hill

If you want to be a hero well just follow me, If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Is there any opinion on mentioning some songs, like John Lennon, Working Class Hero Youtube or totally unrelated. Kasaalan (talk) 10:59, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Globalize and Unbalanced Tags[edit]

Stubbing this thread for discussion of the tags, which I dated but did not place. In "Improper Overcoverage Tag" above my position on globalize is stated. Someone else will have to state an anti-working class position. Lycurgus (talk) 16:05, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

To be clear on the globalize issue, "working class" is an English term and doesn't in general translate outside of the English speaking countries so the complaint is spurious. Lycurgus (talk) 16:13, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
That "working class" is an Enlish term and doesn't translate out of English speaking countries is ridiculous. If that is the case, than no terms can be translated at all. Then there would be no need for interwiki links, except for proper names. But for course, you do find links to arbeidarklasse, robotnícka trieda, clase obrera and giai cãp câng nhân, showing it to be a global concept.
-- (talk) 18:34, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Removing tags per current state of front matter and above. Lycurgus (talk) 01:28, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
But to respond to the matter of fact, "working class" would seem to imply that the remaining classes don't work or that their useful activities didn't make them part of the working classes. When language is being translated the literal translation is the first one one looks at and in this case there's unpacked baggage in the aforementioned implication. A thorough survey would be required to determine the matter of fact but I think you're both right and wrong. A direct semantic translation from the common English connotation probably will work in a lot of cultures but not all, and the base logical connotation would be the contrast between those that do and those that don't. In particular unclear how this works in Chinese but in 工人阶级 the Gong Ren part is pretty clear. (talk) 07:39, 30 January 2010 (UTC)


Laborer = Working class? Reindra (talk) 08:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

No, not at all. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:23, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Drug Addiction and Class: Other Questions?[edit]

This may be better suited to a university class or a BBS, however:

I know, Marx put the drug addicts in the lumpenprole. Most modern authors I've read do the same, or the equivalent underclass concept. However, what gives: if the difference between middle and working class is spending on frivolity rather than necessity, where does an average heroin addict (or, replace heroin with alcohol, or any other physically addictive drug that can not be quit and/or has a guaranteed relapse rate without extensive medical treatment) who easily spends $100 USD on his habit every day, but comes by his money through legal means, and is not a vagabond, fit in? for such a person would obviously have to make an absolute minimum of $57,500 USD a year - a figure that is solidly middle-class. Count heroin as being either a necessity to the addict, which it most definitely is, or as a frivolity: the implications stand the same. Or the medical treatment, expensive at best, and often lifelong, required to keep such a person stable, and to treat diseases he may have contracted while using? A person like this could easily make $150,000 USD per annum, yet have very little "disposable" income.

Where do those people fit, who, in finding no use for frivolity and frippery - such as mass-marketed, spoon-fed and overpriced low-culture "fashion" or re-branded Toyota sold for double or triple mark-up as Lexus - spend most of their money on sustenance, but have sizable bank accounts or investments? People who require medical treatment that costs scores of thousands of dollars a year?

Is it to be found in these theories, that millionaires, possessed of a lack of lack of taste, and therefore not possessed of any interest in the typical middlebrow shit that is spoon-fed to the masses, are indeed considered working-class, if they are not fops in possession of so many Veblen goods that Veblen goods themselves should be renamed?

And that a dole recipient, wearing Burberry and Gucci, living far beyond their means, is indeed considered to have risen above the lumpenproletariant and attained middle-classness, or attained to the petit bourgoisie?

A person living on inheritance, never having worked in his life, although that inheritance is only enough to secure a minimal standard of living? Under Marx's interpretation, still solidly haute bourgois: but in reality, "working class".

I myself fell in to all of the above categories at one point in my life or another, and still fall in to many. Many people I know (yeah, confirmation bias, and anecdotal at that) also fall in to one or more. I ask: in the mainstream theories as discussed in these series of Wikipedia articles on social class, are such people accorded a place, or are they treated as outliers to make the sociological qualification of an economic matter fitting and quantifiable, using idealised theory - like Descartes' ideal model of Vortices - to paint at best a poor picture, and a misleading one, making distinctions in the mainstream that are always outliers?

What is an "essential"? A college education? Food? Water? How many years, at state or Ivy League? How many calories, meat or grain? How pure, and at what temperature? Medical treatment? What level, what speed, for what conditions? Books, fiction, non-fiction, or text? How many pages? To be caught dead with less than several thousand books would have me drop dead of embarrassment - yet I have no automobile (and I am by no means an environmentalist or global warmist or veganist) and live in a rented, small apartment, with the only trappings of the typical bourgoisie being a timepiece of the wrist and a fountain pen - and walls covered in books, in the middle of a solidly lower-class neighborhood? From the person, a (lumpen)proletariat - from his portfolio and education, upper-middle class. Which of these is chosen to represent the person? - as I have never heard of the "working-class rich".

In this there seems to be a serious problem with the presentation of these theories, if not the theories themselves: but I am not an economist, nor a sociologist. (talk) 05:37, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Add Weberian concepts of class/status/power?[edit]

Could link from — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

British focus?[edit]

" Working class" is a British concept. It does not apply to North America. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:06, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Hyphenated class[edit]

This article is entitled "Working class". But it contains 14 instances of "working-class". Which is correct? Presumably the noun is not hyphenated but the adjective always should be? Martinevans123 (talk) 22:58, 23 June 2015 (UTC)