Saturday, June 18, 2011

18 June 1957 “Social Class in America”

I have always been fascinated by class structure. Many, to this day, believe America has never had a European style class structure, but honestly that is not completely true.

As many in this country are aware, our own division of middle and upper class is vastly changing. Even those who were once on that threshold of upper middle and lower upper class are finding a divide. The current trend towards globalization and the marriage of a few very powerful corporations are continuing to decrease the value of the American dollar. Therefore those who felt themselves comfortably upper middle or solid upper class will begin to see their blue chip stock/real estate based wealth, which was a solid foundation for years, begin to crumble. In a way they may even become a new type of middle class, those who once had a sold wealth finding its very foundation rocked. As real estate is devalued and the currency also lowers its worth,  a millionaire may suddenly find his millions worth half of what they once were. And they will be more aware of the purse strings.

The middle class, which grew intensely after WWII, has seen much change. That white collar job with good mobility has been decreasing over the past decade. Even the lower middle class move of bank clerk or retail store manager is beginning to lose its mobility as retail continually moves towards the internet and the need for sales decreases. The production of course, also has moved out. This affects all classes, except the uber upper class, I call them. Those few families whose wealth began with the huge move towards industrialization at the end of the 1900’s. Those families, Johnsons, Rockefellers, and the like now have grown and connected their fortunes so much of our countries wealth and production is in the hands of about 7 major combined corporations. This makes the possible local ‘upper class’ (as in the following film ) with a man with a company/factory in town almost impossible.

It is still all fascinating to me and the division of class is rather a descriptive view of our times. Here you can watch this 1957 American view of the lower, middle, and upper class of a local town. Enjoy and do you think class structure still exists? Do you believe our own middle class is disappearing? Are you aware that recently our U.S. poverty level numbers have risen and those who were on the border last year might now be firmly living below the poverty level?

Happy Homemaking.

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