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Why people tend to stick in the social and economic class in which they are born
Daniel L
Posted: 14 August 2013 16:37:19(UTC)
#41

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I'd just like to throw in an example here. There's an American show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The show is about a little girl who competes in beauty pageants. Her family has quite a bit of money now due to the show, but I don't think they were bad off prior to the show since they would spend thousands on dresses, coaches and the like. If you take one look..or listen...at these people you'd automatically rule them as a lower class, only to find out later they're in the higher class range because of money. Now, do you think any of these girls are going to go off and raise children to act any different than they do despite their new opportunities? I doubt it.
GiltEdgedInvestor
Posted: 01 April 2014 18:19:21(UTC)
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My mum's married to a fella who's family goes back to 630 AD, and used to own places such as Alnwick Castle, and Raby Castle. A branch served The Royal Family.

He's poor. Old Harrowvian, but poor. Author, but poor. Extremely well spoken, but poor. But you only have to look at how he dresses, and how he speaks, to know he's not Lower Class, or even Middle Class. A nephew is in a rock band and is not so poor but being in a rock band isn't Upper Class either, even if it IS a popular one, and his mum is from just as grand a family as my mum's hubby.

I'm in a different economic class to my parents. My dad was a weaver. His parents worked in't mill, too. My mum never really worked much. Piece work, making gonks in the 70's (see how disadvantaged I was! lol) and putting the wires into electric blankets. I grew up speaking West Yorkshire dialect, and have no secondary education at all. (not my fault, I didn't ask to be shipped to ZA to live under apartheid)

But I wanted more.

I've had an aircraft engineering job in the Armed Forces, and have since gained the first Degree in the family. I have no mortgage, higher average lifetime earnings than both my parents put together and will have MUCH more pension than they have. I was taught which knives and forks to use when I was a child, and which glass was for what. I've passed this on to my kids, it's useful social glue. I'm an autodidact and a risk-taking opportunist.

But I'll always be the lass from a provincial town in West Yorkshire who still breaks into dialect when I go back. Can you be upwardly mobile if you speak a language no one else understands outside the lower working community?

Middle Class jobs and earnings have changed over the years. Once upon a time Teachers earned a lot of money and were firmly in the Middle Class but now earn less and have moved down the social ladder. They were up there with Doctors once upon a time.

Aspiration is everything. My son wants more than he has and knows that he has to work to get it. He's been thinking about what job he wants to do since he was six. He identified that we were 'better' than the next door neighbour (who worked temporarily for Balfour Beatty doing ground works where DS's dad works) who 'dug holes for a living' when he was seven.

He wants more too.













Jeremy Bosk
Posted: 01 April 2014 19:43:10(UTC)
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Somebody asked if I was from L32. After I looked it up, I can confirm that I am not from Kirkby / Knowsley. I did once attend a party there. 40 years ago it was a barren wasteland, the worst kind of corporation estate.

There is an interesting discussion here of the alternative systems of defining socio-economic class:

Socio-Economic Status - definitions

sandid3
Posted: 02 April 2014 10:09:01(UTC)
#44

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Perhaps there’s another class now – the global citizen. Cheap travel allowed young people to see other countries and perhaps have a gap-year job abroad. But a university education can also lead to full-time employment overseas.

Interestingly, I think a science degree in particular is more likely to open up jobs without frontiers. It’s also true for scientific engineering, technology and programming but less so for, say, database programming or website/e-commerce jobs. And probably even less so for arts subjects unless it’s a ‘creative’ art.

I remember an argument in the Guardian’s Comment-is-free about whether there is prejudice against people with a northern accent. All the people complaining seemed to work in the arts. Whereas those in the sciences had no problem – the language of maths doesn’t have an accent.
Jeremy Bosk
Posted: 02 April 2014 14:12:33(UTC)
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sandid3

Agreed about the science and engineering graduates being more mobile in professional jobs. Other countries don't value arts degrees / generalist educations as much as we do.

Have you ever heard The Verb on Radio 3? Ian Macmillan has a very strong northern accent and gets along famously with all sorts of arty types. I also know someone with a Hebden Bridge accent you could cut with a knife. She is engaged in TEFL in Saudi. I believe that many southerners equate regional accents with a lack of education. Some Scottish and Irish accents being given the benefit of the doubt.

I personally categorise people by their personality, education, general knowledge and level of culture. I find that scientists are able to intelligently respond to literary and artistic matters much better than arts graduates usually are with science and engineering. That might be a reflection of general intelligence because most of the scientists I know well have PhDs.

Take people as you find them and don't leap to judgement.

David 111
Posted: 02 April 2014 15:51:56(UTC)
#46

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Are there any classless societies? The USA, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Finland spring to mind as possibilities, but I don't know.
GiltEdgedInvestor
Posted: 19 April 2014 16:01:19(UTC)
#47

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The USA's not classless - why do folk live in trailer parks? By choice? I don't think so.

banjofred
Posted: 03 July 2014 06:48:23(UTC)
#48

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I have travelled widely abroad and in the UK, and chose to return to my roots, perhaps not to the mining village I was born in, but 9 miles away in a place of little boxes. (the houses are cheaper than in my ex mining village).

I was born poor, single mother on social security, no Eleven plus, given nothing in terms of money ever.

Now as I see the final furlong (workwise at least, hopefully not otherwise)
I have a B.A. Degree and lots of other bits of paper, a house that is paid for, no debt, as bit of savings, have had very expensive foreign hoilidays
for years, driven BMWs etc etcetc etc

Am I middle class - I would be insulted if you said so. Whilst I have many friends down Sarf and like them as individuals, I would not like to live there.

Its funny how we talk class and pigeon hole people, but when it comes to immigrants they are all one thing, as are foreigners in general.

So if there a nine seats on the lifeboat, ten people, the ship is sinking and you have the pistol who do you let on

The heir apparent
Rich Essex Man
Ex Miner from Rotherham
Romanian immigrant pickpocket
Muslim Schoolteacher from Pinner
Tory Councilllor from surrey
Labour Councillor from Newcastle
Single mother claiming loads of benefits (kids are home she saved for the cruise claiming for extra kids)
Rasta from Brixton.




Not too well thought out as a game but the real point is we are all of equal value, and snobby class attitudes are a nonsense, just like race attitudes.

i dont like it that the country is run by a load of Southern Softies, but the alternative is just as bad.

Well I came on here to look for views on funds, and ended up on a rant.


But feeling better already

Banjo

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Jeremy Bosk on 03/07/2014(UTC)
Jeremy Bosk
Posted: 03 July 2014 09:16:24(UTC)
#49

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That's not a rant, it expresses your feelings very well and it is not likely to offend anyone.

I believe that those people who think of immigrants as one homogeneous mass and foreigners as all alike probably don't know many.

Within the UK, I have worked with people born in at least 15 different countries. Also worked with at least six different religions: Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and various Christian varieties. Now an OAP, I began work in 1965 so it is hard to remember them all.

As a mature student in the mid eighties, I socialised with and studied with umpteen nationalities, ethnicities and religions.

In the fifties and early sixties, family friends included Russian, Bolivian, Greek, Polish and Italian born people. My mother was a shopkeeper and my father a lorry driver. We lived in a modest three bedroomed semi in a northern city suburb, not some Bohemian area of London.

To this day, I have an eclectic mix of friends and acquaintances as well as relatives in Canada and the USA. I enjoy the exoticism and also enjoy finding the many ways in which people are just people.

There are problems with assimilation, housing and public services when large numbers of people from different parts of the world and differing fluency in English all arrive at once in a particular area. Most come here with the desire to work and because they admire traditional British values - which probably have little to do with those of David Cameron.

sandid3
Posted: 03 July 2014 09:58:39(UTC)
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If it’s a rant you’re after, banjofred, may I recommend the Guardian Comment section?

What you’re asking is a moral question. The problem is that morality is what is “considered right or acceptable in a particular society”. In other words, there’s no absolute; it’s all relative to the particular society. Unfortunately, societies change and therefore so does morality.

I have a similar background (northern, working class, baby boomer, degree, travelled, but now retired in Australia) and probably similar values. Compare that to today’s UK political establishment – well, the contrast couldn’t be greater. Apart from their family wealth and privileged upbringing, I’d say the fact they’re Generation-X is just as important.

Clearly, today’s London establishment has a very different set of values – a different morality. Now, if you think London morality should be overturned and replaced by a “better” morality, there’s a word for that: politics. The question is, are you prepared to get involved in politics?

Fortunately that question could be resolved very soon indeed - when Scotland votes for independence. After that, everyone in rUK will be involved in politics whether they want to or not.
Jeremy Bosk
Posted: 03 July 2014 14:53:51(UTC)
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Sandid3

All those of voting age are involved in politics whether consciously or not. Registering to vote or not; actually voting or not; thinking (or not thinking) about the issues are all political acts.

Most of those who do vote, vote for parties of the right and far right. Which is to say New Labour, Lib-Dem, Tory and UKIP.

People who go along with evil policies and social attitudes, because they are wilfully blind to the consequences, are themselves evil.

True morality requires observation of reality and questioning thought, not blind acceptance of social norms.

The unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates).
Clive B
Posted: 03 July 2014 15:45:17(UTC)
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Sandid3

"Scotland votes for independence"

Some would say "let's hope so, no more New Labour"
Jeremy Bosk
Posted: 03 July 2014 19:29:43(UTC)
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Clive B

If an American owned fascist traitor like Blair isn't evil and insane enough for you, why not go the whole way and vote BNP?

Or, if you just want to wreck the economy because you hate the EU, No2EU is an electoral coalition of the Socialist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). Which parties are just as insane as the Tories but less evil.
Clive B
Posted: 03 July 2014 21:49:55(UTC)
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Jeremy

Rather than telling us which political ideas you're against (more or less every established party it seems), why don't you tell us what you're for
sandid3
Posted: 04 July 2014 07:43:33(UTC)
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"True morality requires observation of reality and questioning thought, not blind acceptance of social norms. The unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates)."

Is that morality or an ideology?

The thing about the Scottish referendum is that it has forced a large number of people to enter the discussion. Presumably that's because they can see this binary decision will have major consequences one way or the other. A very high voter turnout is expected.

In national elections a large number of people don't vote because they (correctly) see the London-dominated, big-party system as totally corrupt. It seems to me a Yes vote in Scotland will give English and Welsh voters a real opportunity to shake off London's chains. Anyway, it's probably the only decent opportunity they're going to get.

Jeremy Bosk
Posted: 05 July 2014 10:42:53(UTC)
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sandid3

Mindless conformity is not morality, it is mindless conformity.

Experience tells me that people who think about how they live their life and why they do what they do (outside the compulsions of school, work and the law) make better decisions and live more meaningful lives. This idea of individual responsibility was at the heart of the Protestant Reformation. To oversimplify somewhat: read the Bible and think for yourself, don't just take orders from the priest.

NB this is not a plea for more religion: I am an atheist.

I agree that the Scottish referendum is producing some soul searching in the midst of the rabble rousing. I suspect that many, even most, people who vote will do so along the lines they decided long ago without much considering new evidence. Sorting the wheat from the chaff in a propaganda war is just too difficult. I have spent some time reading the readers' comments in The Scotsman and The Herald. Which may give me a jaundiced view of the deliberative process.
sandid3
Posted: 06 July 2014 03:38:01(UTC)
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My starting point is that there’s something very different about London ‘values’ compared to Northern values. It wasn’t always so but I think that divide is becoming more extreme.

Take the dictionary definition of morality as ‘principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour’.

Given the extraordinary catalog of fraud and corruption revealed about almost every aspect of London life, from Westminster to the public sector to the private sector, I’d say there’s a widespread belief in London that being deceitful and ‘keeping your mouth shut’ are not wrong at all but clever – they’re what you do. London is essentially the white-collar crime capital of the world – and it’s not just a few bad apples at the top.

I don’t think this is mindless conformity; Londoners voted for Boris, mindful of not risking the gravy train. Do they really believe the rightwing dogma of efficient markets when what they’re actually doing is cheating people on an industrial scale? Who knows; but they recognize it as a good excuse.

London is essentially a ‘bad’ place. That’s why I don’t think there’s any chance of the status quo being changed through voting Labour, say. It will take a social revolution.

The British version of good or bad has developed from the Christian tradition. But it’s only what we believe; it’s not an absolute truth. There was a good article in Business Insider that shows how we fit on the world scale: This Chart Explains Every Culture in the World.

The other major aspect of British culture is the welfare state – the very thing the rightwing crooks are trying to destroy. The welfare state was established after WWII when Brits voted against having Churchill as PM. They did so partly to prevent a return to the pre-war situation of a privileged elite – the very thing today’s rightwing crooks want and the reason they claim Churchill as their own.

Scotland is showing that the welfare state can be made to work efficiently – another reason it’s such a threat to rightwing ideology. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more dirty tricks from Lynton Crosby before the vote.
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Martina on 06/07/2014(UTC), Jeremy Bosk on 03/09/2014(UTC)
Jeremy Bosk
Posted: 06 July 2014 19:08:37(UTC)
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Sandid3

I agree with you that merely voting Labour will not make for fundamental change. We need to engage with our councillors, MPs, MEPs and so on. Getting involved as an activist within a political party is hard work and often frustrating. I speak from experience.

The hardest part is accepting the need for compromise and the horse trading. Blair's New Labour compromised itself out of all concern for right and wrong. It became a faction of the Tory Party.

Your generalisation about Londoners is far too sweeping. I know several personally who are very decent people. If you said that many highly paid wheelers and dealers in finance are crooks, I would agree. I also agree that pay differentials and the bonus culture are ridiculous.

I have also known quite a few northerners who were thieves, con merchants, wide boys (and girls) in general - usually on a smaller scale than The City spivs - and take care not to know such people well. I am a Northerner who lived down south for five years and worked in London for some of that time. I prefer it up here.

I entirely agree about the Welfare State.
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Martina on 06/07/2014(UTC), sandid3 on 07/07/2014(UTC)
Alan Selwood
Posted: 06 July 2014 20:36:52(UTC)
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Differences of opinion about how to run a country were ever thus!

I was talking a couple of weeks ago to a very bright young Roumanian woman who runs a b & b in the Wensleydale area (while I was on holiday 'up North'). One of her comments was that the politicians in Roumania are crooks, just like the ones in London. I asked her if she would like the politicians to swap countries, and she said 'no' - they were both corrupt, though her own countrymen were more brazen about their stealing!

Like most people in most countries, the 'ordinary man and woman in the street' are for the most part upright citizens who do their best, but rotten apples form an unfortunate minority in all parts of the globe.

We can only do our best to set a good example ourselves.
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sandid3 on 07/07/2014(UTC), Jeremy Bosk on 03/09/2014(UTC)
sandid3
Posted: 07 July 2014 08:06:38(UTC)
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Sorry to go on but this is the core problem as I see it. There is a fundamental difference between conventional crime (stealing and lies by thieves, con merchants and brazen politicians) and white-collar crime. White-collar crime basically involves deceit and withholding information (keeping shtum).

The big financial scandals are all white-collar crimes (selling mortgages that wouldn’t be repaid, selling unemployment insurance that wouldn’t pay out, selling protection that actually caused losses). There are a few small fry that actually did the mis-selling (for big bonuses) but there was a huge layer of lawyers, middle managers, executives, advisers, etc. that benefitted. We can now say the same about the media after Coulson.

These scams weren’t planned by a mastermind. The scary thing is that they evolved. Some random mutation in the course of business revealed a scam that worked. After that, the scam reproduced and thrived in a supportive environment.

For conventional crime we have laws against theft and fraud. But white-collar crime requires proof of intent rather than just the outcome. Under our laws, unless someone admits wrongdoing it’s almost impossible to prove bad intent.

The only protection is regulation. But every aspect of power in London will put ever obstacle in its way – cut the red tape. That’s why they can’t be defeated from the inside.

But what about the little people? Where are the whistleblowers? I’m sure many decent people go to London with hopes high. But, in a sense, they become victims too – prisoners of massive loans and expenses. So they keep shtum and vote for Boris.

After his Flash Boys book came out, The Guardian had an open Q&A with Michael Lewis. I asked him what the answer was to white-collar crime. He said “I think the most important thing, at least inside the financial system, is to change the incentives for the people involved. You're never going to have a crime free Wall Street. But it would be nice if there wasn't so much damaging activity that was perfectly legal.” Quite.
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Jeremy Bosk on 03/09/2014(UTC)
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