Class Power and Envy

edited March 2011 in Local discussion
I don't know if this has been a topic before or not I guess it has.....

I understand that some people think that class is a bad thing, but what do we have in its place?

If people in this area have money then well done to them, they had a education and worked for it.

I am working class and never want to betray my roots, but if you think I am going to stay in a place like Bradford then your wrong, its like the projects only less subtle.

I like the fact there is class in the UK, it keeps me in my place and makes me know who my lord and master is, you could not have a country run by people like me (I shudder to think)

And as for redistributing wealth well whats the point in that? make everyone equal when sad to say there not, people should work for and study for what they get in life, not have it handed to them on a platter just because they think they should.

Oh I am poor yet you are rich give me cash!

And this does go for the people born with a silver spoon in there mouth tho from what I can see its developed a patina.
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Comments

  • edited 5:29AM
    It would be nice if we could restrict all the class war based discussion to this thread, as per the general politics thread a while back.
  • edited 5:29AM
    It's interesting to me that those obsessed by class have a very domestic outlook. If you want a serious framing idea, how do you think about class in a global economy? If you are on the national minimum wage in the UK, then you are among the top 10-11% of earners in the world.

    The silver spoon, in international terms, is in your mouths too.
  • edited 5:29AM
    I agree i made my life better and got more money, i would never moan about class, I am lucky, have a good job that pays well.

    Class is a state of mind, I'm working class always will be don't care what someone is, just treat people right
  • edited 5:29AM
    Precisely Andy. The myopia of socialists on this issue was a major part of their downfall. Even those who condemn nationalism are usually still trapped in a nationalist mindset, finding it difficult to see beyond those limitations. Watch any debate on the EU, for instance, regardless of the participant's place on the 'left-right' spectrum. Capitalism will not be tamed until we have strong institutions of global goverance with a democratic mandate. Rather than campaigining about cuts people should be campaigning for the democratisation of the EU and UN, advocating a global Robin Hood tax on international transactions, etc. The nation-state is a relic, the domestic policy of which is gradually being eroded by global forces. Nor is this a new thing, it has been going on for a century and a half. To use a national analogy, the current situation is comparable to us having no UK parliament and all the national decisions being made by committees appointed by local councillors, powerless to resist big national corporations. We have to escape our parochialism. We've done it before when new identities were forged from old tribal networks. Time to do it again.
  • edited 5:29AM
    An important step which is - belatedly - underway is that now trade unions are going international. Because otherwise, between international capital and politicians desperate for their countries to be 'competitive', the unions (and the workers they (should) represent) were doomed.
  • edited 5:29AM
    While the global perspective is important, relative poverty is something to think of. Easy to say to someone who has never been to India that you're rich in comparison. I am from an aspiring class background and have moved around to achieve many of my goals. Incentives are needed and I'm not sugesting that everyone should be equal in wealth, but things have got out of hand a bit when it comes to rewarding those with the control over the 'means of production' .

    I have a lot of admiration for people who have worked their way up. My parents did that to a certain extent and I was the first in my family to go to university. Most of my disdain is directed towards those who have privilege and swan around Stroud Green in their plumey accents. Saying that I know a few people with those type of accents, but they're not arrogant.
  • edited 5:29AM
    What exactly do you mean by having privilege? And where in Stroud Green do you find this brace of the elite aristocratacy swanning about with *plummy* (sorry but plumey just conjures up a vision of people speaking with feathers in their mouths) accents? I go out in SG and I haven't yet come across these people. And no member of this forum that I have so far had the pleasure of meeting remotely resembles your description. Sure there are folks with well paid jobs and university educations, just as there are in every single part of London. Good for them. Perhaps the people you describe are visitors from the rarefied heights of Crouch End or Muswell Hill? You must frequent much grander venues than I do.
  • edited March 2011
    As I said before, they probably are from Crouch Hill etc. Saw them hailing cabs outside seasons a few times. Although why they want to shop at Tesco Metro beats me. I wasn't suggesting aristocracy, but plummy accents all the way. Plumey could be a good way of thinking of people who speak with plummy accents and are arrogant. As plumey as a peacock!

    And I guess 'the aristocratacy' are the aristocracy, or a maybe a Crouch Hill form?
  • edited 5:29AM
    So your problem isn't low earners in India on a dollar a day, or the super-rich in Mayfair on £20m a year. Your problem, as a man approaching 40 earning £17,000 a year is with people a little bit younger and a little bit more educated living just around the corner earning around £32,000 a year.

    And then you wonder why people think that your posts are about you, rather than about class?
  • edited March 2011
    I think people on a dollar a day is a terrible situation and is something to be rallied against. I have often avoided products based on exploitation occuring in other countries. I'm doing some charity work over the next few weeks to do with a situation in Asia, but don't want to go on about it.

    I will put my hands up and say I have often gone over the top in the last six months or so. It has been a stressful time for me in so many ways. I think I was really angry at comments six months ago about me being in social housing on here. I felt many people saw people in social housing as second class citizens and we should just be happy and not complain about noise etc. I think it's a great idea and cuts out the greedy landlord/estate agent. I know they're not all bad but it's nice not to deal with them. And when Andy made comments about me claiming housing benefit (i DON'T)I was even more agitated. It's only the net and I should calm down. It's been interesting to bounce ideas about, though.

    I've always had a social conscience and care about low paid workers. I'm a postgrad (in the last 6 years). For various reasons I missed out on more lucrative opportunities due to the narrow field I'm in, but that's life. Now, I earn a bit more than 17,00 due to taking on extra work. I can do a bit of work from home too which gives me some mornings to do some work on a laptop, have a coffee and chat on here. Not bad and who knows what life will be like in the future. Better I hope!

    But to answer your question. It's not just about me. It's about how I feel about society in general and I've kept it local as it is a local forum. Of course I will talk about my personal situation too as a case in point.

    I need to get ready to go into work. Have a lovely day, everyone!
  • edited 5:29AM
    Did anyone expect this thread to go any other way? For me, its not the plummy accents. It's when they're slightly better looking than me but have the audacity to also earn more. In a right society only uglier people earn more than me. The better looking are only acceptable when living in Kibera. But this shouldn't be about me.
  • edited 5:29AM
    Nom, it's all about Kreuzkav. How selfish of you.
  • edited March 2011
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  • edited 5:29AM
    Surely no-one would be as monsterously selfish and profiteering as that.
  • edited 5:29AM
    @Misscara. I don't agree with that. If you sublet social housing, it should be without profit.
  • edited 5:29AM
    Heehee nice one K
  • RoyRoy
    edited 5:29AM
    @andy: I'm not sure India is an incredibly useful comparison. As much as anything, because it's possible to live on a dollar a day in India, and it's not possible to live on a dollar a day anywhere in the developed world. I'm not for a moment suggesting the Indian poor have an easy life, but I really think trying to draw dollar value comparisons beween the West and developing countries isn't incredibly useful. Neither, I think, are the few people who earn £20m that relevent - they're a miniscule proportion of society, and most of us never meet or intereact with them anyway. People earning £17k and people earning £32k are mainstream groups of British society that we probably know member of (or even are members of). @kreuzkav: why do you say "I'm not sugesting that everyone should be equal in wealth" (and I mean that as a serious question)? Money is a social construct that provides access to resources. Are you actually saying you feel you should have less access to resources than many other people, or are you just saying that because you feel you have to to appease opposing views on here? -roy
  • edited 5:29AM
    Is it even possible to sublet social housing? I thought that it was forbidden under tenancy agreements - it is totally illegal in private rentals!
  • edited March 2011
    @ Miss Annie. I think it's not allowed by the council but some housing groups allow it.

    @ Roy. I meant by 'equal wealth' that it is impossible to have every wage exactly equal. The greed that seems to be coming about at the moment with increased market forces is creating a very unequal society, and that is immoral.
  • edited 5:29AM
    You'll probably find that greed is pandemic and not in itself directly correlated to an in-equal society. Greed is as commonplace in the slums of Africa as it is in the city of London. Its just the economics are very different. You can't argue that greed exists here but not there, so society is in-equal here but not there. That's ridiculous.
  • edited 5:29AM
    @ Miss Annie - most private rental agreements forbid it. which is to say that it's possible, as long as you don't get caught.
  • edited March 2011
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  • edited March 2011
    Just for some context: For the UK the median wage for 30-39 year olds is £24k, £17k is just below the 30th percentile, i.e. just in the bottom third. However male full time wages are markedly higher, £17k is in the bottom fifth. Looking specifically at Haringey, the median full time male wage is just under £30k. This runs down fairly steadily to the 10th percentile at £16k. The difference between the 10th and 40th percentile is fairly small, I want to post a chart to show this but no idea how. The real issue in London is twofold: * In the Inner London region, the 10th percentile median male full time wage is £18k. The Median is £36k. But the 90th percentile is £105k. The ratio of median to 10th percentile wage is about 2, typical for the UK. But the ratio of median to 90th percentile is roughly 3, compared to a UK average of 2. Given the UK average is very unequal by international standards, the situation in Inner London is therefore especially acute. The easiest way to sum it up is low earners in london get more or less the same as anywhere else, but high earners get twice as much, and the UK average is already pretty unequal. This is where the whole debate about the squeezed middle stems from, and the fact that New Labour tried to paper over the cracks with tax credits. * The second issue is that the employment rate in London is amongst the lowest in the country, there is a massive body of unemployed people in london who don;t evne show up in the earnings data. Many are also underemployed, with several degrees completely unrelated to working in a bar, and many more are partially or completely unregulated - industrial (office) cleaning and food preparation being two good examples in London, vs. textiles or agriculture in much of the rest of the country. The other issue is household earnings e.g. my partner earns more than me, probably because her job is too challenging to spend time writing on Stroud Green...
  • edited March 2011
    @ Misscara, I agree with you in many respects. People who sublet social housing and make a profit are scum. But maybe I'm lucky to have known lots of idealists and nice people who haven't done that. For example I knew one couple who subletted from a lovely guy who I only met on his return who subletted a place on agreement with his social landlord because he went to volunteer in Africa for six months or so. The couple were friends of his, knew the score and were happy to have the opportunity to sublet at a cheap rent for a while.

    My housing group are small and not a big housing association. The rents are not as cheap but we do have the bonus of being able to sublet under certain conditions. The group meet the person who will take on property and do the odd check on them from time to time to make sure it's them in the property. There is an agreement. The subletter doesn't make a profit from the person they sublet to. And a time is agreed upon. I agree this is a bonus and should be respected.

    And any situation I've known has been between friends as they don't want strangers in the flat. So they charge the social rent plus bills in return for the person keeping the place going and storing some of their stuff.
  • edited 5:29AM
    @Roy I don’t disagree with the thrust of your argument. My point is simply that in a global economy wages in developed countries are increasingly undercut by those in developing countries such as India. The successful post-war mixed economy that gave us so much meritocracy is being dismantled due to global forces. These forces demonstrably cannot be resisted by the nation-state for fear of capital and employer flight. This is exacerbated in the UK by our hosting The City, a central financial hub which places restrictions on our ability to tax the highest incomes. This will only get worse until we have strong global institutions with strong democratic mandates. Such institutions would be capable of creating global taxes on financial transactions, for instance.
  • edited 5:29AM
    Class isn't really about wealth, it's about whether or not your parents owned a grapefruit knife.
  • edited March 2011
    It's natural that people will compare their level of income with those around them. Suggesting that someone on minimum wage should be happy that they're in the top income group in the world is very academic. People have got used to having a better lifestyle in London and Britain and to expect them to just go 'hey, it's just the forces of global capital at work' is a bit patronising. This is while they see other's income improving around them and many services being cut or dissappearing.

    Edit note 9.30 am. We vote for the government of Britain and that government controls the economy (tax, funding etc.). Global issues are very important but we still live in nation states and have voting rights in them. That includes local government. We do have some say in EU matters and vote for our MEPs. I don't vote for the government of India. I can raise issues through other bodies but we still have a lot more say in the country we live in.

    I think many of us who have been through the university system have been subsidised (when it comes to fees as it cost more than £1,000 a year per student) in the past. There are also those who were probably subsidised by parents when they went through the system and ended up with small or no student loans, so it wasn't always a big financial ordeal. I do think financial rewards are neccessary to entice people into certain jobs. However, we do need to think of those in our community and country who are not so well off and who do a hard days work and are left with very little in an economy where housing, food and other basics are not cheap.

    Greed is everywhere but I think it's less acceptable that someone in a high paying job in the City should be as greedy as someone in a slum. I imagine greed is probably not the case among most slum dwellers. It's in that climate of greed that it seems hoping that strong global institutions with strong democratic mandates will create global taxes on financial transactions to be a bit optimistic.
  • edited March 2011
    Money is power. It's the power to live in an area with lower crime levels, to live in larger housing to ensure your children have space to study quietly, to spend on extra education and experiences, to not need several jobs, to buy internships and professional qualifications for your children and to be able to jump the queue for health issues through buying private health insurance (or evne getting it from your employer). Many of these goods are in limited supply in London so the price inevitably rises, and where wage inequality is highest, a greater proportion of the population will be priced out. That is why it isn't about comparing yourself to a global set of wages, many of the most fundamental goods we want are almost exclusively priced on local factors. In many cases the state is the only source of provision for people. It doesn't matter if you shop at Selfridges or Primark, Lidl or Waitrose, it does matter if your child has to do their homework in the same room that people are watching tv in. Owning a grapefruit knife just lets everyone know you are in the club.
  • AliAli
    edited 5:29AM
    Switch the TV off
  • edited March 2011
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