7 iss 225 power authority exchange social class vi

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ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Social Class VI. The U.S. Social Class Ladder Sociologist Dennis Gilbert [Gilbert, D. (2002) The American Class Structure: In An Age of Growing Inequality ] argues that the U.S. class structure consists of six classes. A. The Capitalist Class (Upper Class) This class is made up of the extremely wealthy. They comprise approximately 1% of the population. The capitalist class is divided into two categories: "old" and "new" money. Old money refers to families that have been wealthy for generations (turn of the century). Families like the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Morgans fall into this category. New money consists of individuals who have made money in areas such as the stock market, entertainment, sports, or the Internet (did not inherit). Those who are in the new money category lack the influential social networks that those in old money enjoy. They occupy the top executive positions in America's corporations. Generally the upper class inherits their wealth. It comes in the form of property and other assets. While this group does not have to work, they often serve on the boards of directors of major corporations. From this vantage point, the upper class occupies a position from which they can have great impact on the course of world history. They have political power, strings, and clout. The upper class has a certain life style in which individuals are careful to socialize only with the "right crowd." B. Upper Middle Class The Upper middle-class consists of successful business people, executives, professionals, and high ranking civil and military officials. For members of the upper middles class, education is extremely important. Their wealth, power, and prestige are a result of mastering difficult skills. People in the upper middle class usually have postgraduate degrees (MA Ph.D.). They represent the professionals and upper managers that run the various institutions in the United States. They make up approximately 15% of the population. The wealth of this class comes from investment and savings. Unlike in the upper class, they inherit little of their wealth. This group is very active politically and culturally. Their political influence is strong. C. Middle Class Roughly 30% of our nation's population falls in the middle class category. In the past a high-school diploma was necessary to qualify for middle-class jobs; today a two-year or four-year college degree is increasingly necessary. The middle-class also consists of professionals, semi professionals and small business people. People who make up the middle-class are less affluent and occupy fewer prestigious positions that the Upper Middle-class. The middle class includes nurses, teachers, police officers, and social workers. The middle-class includes most of the white-collar (office) work force and others who earn "respectable" livings. The middle-class is well educated. They also have great political impact. They tend to have high voting rates and politically influential.
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