Lecture 2: Social Classes
Karl Marx- the study of social class.
"divided into rich and poor. The property owners and the exploited...." -Stalin.
"two great classes: those who have more dinners than appetite. And those who have more
appetite than dinners"
"class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to
do with money"
"having proved you could meet life" -Ann Landers
"throughout recorded time there have been 3 kinds of people: the high the middle and the
low. They have been sibdivided in many ways, they have been called countless different
names...... But the essential structure of society has never altered" -George Orwell.
"All history has been the history of class struggles between dominant classes at different
levels of development".
Always clash over power- access to needed resources. Inevitable conflict.
History is not the doings of "great men", Marxists say its class warfare.
"Class is struggle. Some class is triumph. Others are eliminated. Such is history" -Mao
"evolution is what it is. The upper classes have always died out. It's one of the most
charming things about them" Germain Greer
"There is nothing to which men cling more tenaciously than the privileges of class"
A capitalist society is characterized by conflict, not harmony.
In industrial societies, capitalism divides the population into two opposing classes.
The working class has only three alternatives: to cooperate with the capitalists; to form
unions and try to modify social conditions; to make revolutions.
Human beings die. If you don't feed them. It means that people who can control the abilty
of other people to eat, exercise alot of power in a society. If you don't have land and need to
eat, you have to sell your labour to someone else. Who controls the means of production
controls everybody- life and death.
Differences in social position result from differences in people's relations to the means of
At both ends of the class ladder, class stability over time is maintained by inheritance.
That is why poverty (and wealth) is self-perpetuating from one generation to the next.