Tag Archives: socialism

Blog #2: So You Think Your Middle Class, Ey?

imageHave you ever sat down and honestly asked yourself, what social class you consider yourself? Odds are unless you own a Dunkin Donuts or work down on Wall Street, you make up America’s working class. A whopping fourty-seven percent of Americans are working class doing jobs consisting of retail sales, clerical, and low skill manual labor. These are honest, lower-income, white-collar jobs.

            So what about America’s middle class? Interestingly enough, everyone wants to be part of America’s middle class however, our middle class only accounts for about fourty-two percent of our population. Most jobs offered to the middle class require higher levels of education, and most of the time a bachelors degree just doesn’t suffice. We’re talking about a Masters degree or even a doctorate just to rest in America’s middle class.
          Ultimately what does all of this have to do with famous sociologist Weber? Good question! Weber thought of class as self-identification, meaning that every individual can locate themselves within a class structure. Instead of a social class being assigned to each and every individual, the individual can decide what social he/she is in depending on their particular relations or attributes, such as wealth or occupation.
            Think your part of America’s Upper Class? Your odds are pretty slim here. To be exact, only 2.5 percent of Americans make up America’s Upper Class. Most European nations, such as Germany, split their wealth in somewhat of an even fashion depicting about twenty-or-so percent  of wealth within each of their five social classes. In America, we can narrow down our 2.5 percent of our wealthiest Americans, to the top one percent of our wealthiest Americans and within this one percent, they own about 37.1 percent of private wealth within the United States. Yes, you heard that right! Less than one percent of our country encompasses slightly over thirty-seven percent of our country’s wealth.
            Fundamentally, Weber brings an interesting, converse argument to the table. Instead of living in a society where socialism rules at its finest and the government assigns you your job, salary, and social class with it, you are free to live in America’s wonderful capitalist society in which you can identify your own class, using what he calls class as self-identification. So the next time some one asks you what you consider your social class to be, remember Weber, and freely define your social class.

Blog 2: Thirty More Years of Hell

The opening quote really struck me: “I wouldn’t want to be twenty-years-old now. I fear for what’s coming.”-Hunter S. Thompson, 2003. Considering that I am turning twenty this year, this scares me somewhat. The future of our nation is scary and ever changing. Nobody can predict what’s to come because the future is unknown. On that note; I found many interesting points throughout this piece. First off, I found it interesting how the author started off with the debate between capitalism and socialism. This generation has warmer feelings about socialism (49%) than capitalism (46%). 69% of Millennials think teachers aren’t paid enough. They skew to the left on cultural and social issues. The ultimate conclusion that Journalist Doug Henwood came to is “this may be the most left-thinking younger generation in modern history.” Clearly the younger generation has been ever changing because the world of politics is ever changing. The Millenials are the ones who are going for the left-wing alternative.

I found it interesting how socialism was defined as “either compact fluorescent light bulbs or massive corporate-welfare checks.” Cold War propaganda contributed to this view. Our lives are so saturated with media that it influences how we perceive certain issues and the world in general. I appreciated the college tuition discussion here because I can relate to it. Going back to the days where CUNY was a tuition-free prestigious school system is no longer possible. Student loan debt is an issue faced by many of my peers including myself. Pell Grants covered 77% of the cost for a four year public university. It’s scary to know the reality of the situation of student loan debt when suddenly the government garnishes your wages which ultimately puts more stress on the student-worker who also has other expenses.

 

Blog 1: Is Capitalism Doomed? By Nouriel Roubini

Roubini believes in markets and Capitalism. However in his article “Is Capitalism Doomed?” he admits that Karl Marx was partly right in arguing that globalization, financial intermediation run amok and the redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could make Capitalism self-destruct. Jobs are no longer abundant because there’s not enough final demand. As a result of eliminating jobs, labor income is reduced and inequality is increased. A huge price is being paid for every swift decision made. Middle classes around the world are experiencing missed opportunities and plummeting incomes. Roubini claims that Capitalism is going to destroy itself.

The main point made here is there’s been a tremendous shift of power and wealth from the working class and the middle class in several parts of the world. The focus is on ownership and the richest 2% own ‘half the wealth’. This in part influences politics (political power) and democracy will not work in a society like this. Marx thought that the workers and the middle class would work on a progressive/left program to overthrow the system. In contrast the right wing is mobilized. There are no sets of institutions in the United States economy that are interested and have the capability to spend money in order to revitalize the economy. The right wing is trying to ensure that central banks as well as governments can’t bring the economy out of its current crisis. Roubini is arguing to get rid of the austerity push. The threat of communism forced capitalism to reform.