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Lallante
September 6 2012, 07:02:45 PM
IMO it doesnt exist in the UK anymore.

Anyone who owns their own business or works for a salary is middle class
Anyone who has been (or will go) to university is middle class
Anyone whose parents come into either of the categories above is middle class
Anyone who owns their own house is middle class

Anyone to whom none of the above applies, and isnt upper class or on a temporary break between one or more of the above, is part of a new underclass.

What we used to think of as working class, i.e. skilled workers, builders, farmers etc are now all middle class for all intents and purposes.

The underclass can't be described as working class precisely because many of them don't work.

Aea
September 6 2012, 07:21:01 PM
I'm on my phone waiting on some tacos so can't write too much here, excuse the brevity.

I find a similar trend happening in America. Everybody likes to describe themselves as middle class. Making minimum wage? Middle class. Making 100K a year as a single wage earner? Middle class.

The term has lost all meaning, especially with the rise of PCness regarding income. It is considered highly impolite to talk money outside of close friends and family.

Liare
September 6 2012, 07:22:17 PM
IMO it doesnt exist in the UK anymore.

Anyone who owns their own business or works for a salary is middle class
Anyone who has been (or will go) to university is middle class
Anyone whose parents come into either of the categories above is middle class
Anyone who owns their own house is middle class

Anyone to whom none of the above applies, and isnt upper class or on a temporary break between one or more of the above, is part of a new underclass.

What we used to think of as working class, i.e. skilled workers, builders, farmers etc are now all middle class for all intents and purposes.

The underclass can't be described as working class precisely because many of them don't work.so anybody working is disqualified from being a member of the working class :psyduck:
the day labourer died out mostly because social change, legislation and unions not because the jobs in question dried up.

the modern "working class" is very different from the one of the 20's, but the gaps in wealth have grown proportionally, and it's very much still alive.

it's just not "Duncan the welder" who works 10 hours a day as a single provider for his familiy any-more, it's "Duncan the office worker" living with "Jane the office worker" and their two kids, with both parents working eight hours a day. the environment has changed drastically but the dynamics have not and there's a lot more parallels to draw than there is differences.

and before you run off on a "but people are so much richer than back then now!" and you' d be right but that is more down to society as a whole getting richer than "Duncan" getting a larger slice of the proportional pie combined with the labour movements that people so love to hate on strong-arming what we consider decent conditions.

you want to meet the working class ? look at the so" called middle class" mate, it's right there in front of you, the modern middle class works as a mid level office manager and are largely some of the most reviled people in the work place, much like the "bourgeois" of the past.

Smuggo
September 6 2012, 07:25:47 PM
I thought we weren't allowed to post troll threads in the srsbsns forum?

Liare
September 6 2012, 07:27:38 PM
I thought we weren't allowed to post troll threads in the srsbsns forum?i dont think it's a troll to be honest.

its a common misconception and well worth debating, and i would hope it evolves towards discussing why people seem so bloody allergic to socialism as a political goal and behave almost like farm-animals going to the slaughter in the voting booth.

Tafkat
September 6 2012, 07:34:05 PM
Class is a purely economic thing nowadays?

Lallante
September 6 2012, 08:29:56 PM
IMO it doesnt exist in the UK anymore.

Anyone who owns their own business or works for a salary is middle class
Anyone who has been (or will go) to university is middle class
Anyone whose parents come into either of the categories above is middle class
Anyone who owns their own house is middle class

Anyone to whom none of the above applies, and isnt upper class or on a temporary break between one or more of the above, is part of a new underclass.

What we used to think of as working class, i.e. skilled workers, builders, farmers etc are now all middle class for all intents and purposes.

The underclass can't be described as working class precisely because many of them don't work.so anybody working is disqualified from being a member of the working class :psyduck:
the day labourer died out mostly because social change, legislation and unions not because the jobs in question dried up.

the modern "working class" is very different from the one of the 20's, but the gaps in wealth have grown proportionally, and it's very much still alive.

it's just not "Duncan the welder" who works 10 hours a day as a single provider for his familiy any-more, it's "Duncan the office worker" living with "Jane the office worker" and their two kids, with both parents working eight hours a day. the environment has changed drastically but the dynamics have not and there's a lot more parallels to draw than there is differences.

and before you run off on a "but people are so much richer than back then now!" and you' d be right but that is more down to society as a whole getting richer than "Duncan" getting a larger slice of the proportional pie combined with the labour movements that people so love to hate on strong-arming what we consider decent conditions.

you want to meet the working class ? look at the so" called middle class" mate, it's right there in front of you, the modern middle class works as a mid level office manager and are largely some of the most reviled people in the work place, much like the "bourgeois" of the past.

Liare this may not survive the language barrier but in English at least you can earn a Salary, or a Wage. A Salary is per year not per hour, and usually involves regular hours (or irregular hours with a regular minimum). A Salary also implies some form of possibility for career progression. Generally "a career" as opposed to "a job" also applies.

The "gap in wealth growing" is more a statistical quirk of the fact that the super wealthy are now even more insanely wealthy - its a relative measure so it doesnt really indicate any particular impact on "normal" people. Comparing trends in the gap between the 4th and 6th deciles would be more revealing.

I do agree with you though that the modern middle class has the same values as the (rose tinted image of the) working class of old.

Spaztick
September 6 2012, 08:38:58 PM
"Working class" in the US is going through a bit of role-reversal because what was thought of as "working class" here just was equated to anyone with a blue-collar job in manufacturing or something like that. The white-collar office jobs were seen as the middle and upper class work, so now the market is flooded with office workers in the Land of the Free, so now the pay is shit, hours are low and the only thing that hasn't really changed has been service jobs being working class.

Working class blue-collar is the new middle class white-collar.

Liare
September 6 2012, 08:47:51 PM
Class is a purely economic thing nowadays?nope, but it's not as distinct as it once was.




IMO it doesnt exist in the UK anymore.

Anyone who owns their own business or works for a salary is middle class
Anyone who has been (or will go) to university is middle class
Anyone whose parents come into either of the categories above is middle class
Anyone who owns their own house is middle class

Anyone to whom none of the above applies, and isnt upper class or on a temporary break between one or more of the above, is part of a new underclass.

What we used to think of as working class, i.e. skilled workers, builders, farmers etc are now all middle class for all intents and purposes.

The underclass can't be described as working class precisely because many of them don't work.so anybody working is disqualified from being a member of the working class :psyduck:
the day labourer died out mostly because social change, legislation and unions not because the jobs in question dried up.

the modern "working class" is very different from the one of the 20's, but the gaps in wealth have grown proportionally, and it's very much still alive.

it's just not "Duncan the welder" who works 10 hours a day as a single provider for his familiy any-more, it's "Duncan the office worker" living with "Jane the office worker" and their two kids, with both parents working eight hours a day. the environment has changed drastically but the dynamics have not and there's a lot more parallels to draw than there is differences.

and before you run off on a "but people are so much richer than back then now!" and you' d be right but that is more down to society as a whole getting richer than "Duncan" getting a larger slice of the proportional pie combined with the labour movements that people so love to hate on strong-arming what we consider decent conditions.

you want to meet the working class ? look at the so" called middle class" mate, it's right there in front of you, the modern middle class works as a mid level office manager and are largely some of the most reviled people in the work place, much like the "bourgeois" of the past.

Liare this may not survive the language barrier but in English at least you can earn a Salary, or a Wage. A Salary is per year not per hour, and usually involves regular hours (or irregular hours with a regular minimum). A Salary also implies some form of possibility for career progression. Generally "a career" as opposed to "a job" also applies. i have to disagree with you on that specific distinction, most jobs today are Salary based and imply some sort of career progression, even if your job is in a fast-food franchise, somebody working in Machdonalds here get a minimum salary, a hourly wage on top of that minimum amount and have career advancement opportunities within the specific restaurant, and potentially further up.

does that qualify as a "middle class" type job ?

arguing that something is a "career rather than a job" implies that advancement is something that is not present within the "traditional" working class, yet that has never been true, skilled crafts such as welder are traditionally "working class" jobs but the skill set is not something you can teach somebody in a day and expect consistent results, just to bring up my previous example.

you do have a point in that today people study a "craft" of some sort and specialize, but that's the nature of the "game" today, you cannot compete with somebody that has specialized knowledge in a field, so you have to specialize yourself, but does that mean a "specialist" cannot be member of the working class ?

helgur
September 6 2012, 08:52:00 PM
The working class is by definition the non capitalist i.e if you are not capitalizing on other peoples labor but are yourself a laborer you belong to the working class. If you compare "The Working class" of 50 years ago with the people who fall under the definition as I presented it, yes much have changed. But a lot of the reason it has changed is because there is a greater social equality much thanks to the work of the political left, which have blurred the traditional view of "classes".

A society as a whole benefits greatly from more equality. People feel less alienated, and sympathies more with their fellow men. A goldsmith shop about 3-4 blocks from the epicenter of the blast that hit Oslo on 22/7 had all of its windows blown out. Valuables worth a lot of money (we are talking upward of a million nok) stood right there in the busiest street of the capitol wide open for the grabbing. The store owners fled, when they returned later that evening several hours later, not a single item where plundered.

Which makes me wonder if something similar had happened in, say for instance New Orleans, would the store keeper return to find his item still in place?

Tl;Dr Social equality is good

Cue1*
September 6 2012, 09:11:59 PM
There seems to be a serious lack of definitions of words here, so let's try to get things straight, although I understand a lot of it is caused by a language barrier.

At least here in the US, a salary is a yearly pay that you receive, no matter what you work. A salary employee is expected to be present at all important events, although when (s)he actually gets to work is less important unless there is a major meeting or some reason that the employee NEEDS to be there on time. A 20 hour work week and a 80 hour work week earn the same amount of pay.

However, being an hourly paid employee vs a salary employee doesn't equate to pay differences and higher or lower on the career ladder. I have a friend who works hours and makes really stupid money, as his profession is in extremely high demand and he can basically name his price.

A job, usually dictates employment that you don't plan to continue for an extended period, or that is not your ultimate end goal. For example, to pay bills at the moment, I'm trying to get a job at my local Best Buy. This is a job, not a career. Best Buy can be a career, yes, but it will not be mine. Sure, there's plenty of opportunity to move up, make more money, and climb the corporate ladder, but my objective is law enforcement. Since the local law enforcement doesn't start recruiting again until January, I need something between now and then. That's a job.

If and when I land a job as a LEO, that will be a career. It's not where I plan to retire from, but it's work experience in the job field of my choice and advancement in this employment is advancement in my career, as well as highly valuable references for other law enforcement jobs(AKA, federal law enforcement).

With that out of the way, there's still plenty of blue collar jobs and workers out there. Cars don't assemble themselves, although they're getting closer and less people are involved. Retail workers are often times there for life, with no real plans to advance or go elsewhere. I think the idea of what the working class is has changed, but the lower class/middle class distinction has stayed the same.

TheManFromDelmonte
September 6 2012, 09:26:14 PM
Class is a purely economic thing nowadays?

I've got my copy of "Watching the English" down and I'll copy out a bit of the class code chapter, as it seems that everyone else in this thread does think class is based on work.



Toilet
'Toilet' is another word that makes the higher classes flinch - or at least exchange knowing looks, if it is uttered by a would-be social climber. The correct upper-iddle/upper term is 'loo' or 'lavatory'. 'Bog' os occasionally acceptable, but only if it is said in an obviously ironic-jocular manner, as though in quotes. The working classes all say 'toilet', as do most lower-middles and middle-middles, the only difference being the working-class imission of the final 't'. Those lower- and middle-middles with pretensions or aspirations, however, may eschew 'toilet' in favour of surburban-genteel euphemisms such as 'gents', 'ladies', 'bathroom', 'facilities', 'latrines', 'heads'...

Dinner
There is nothing wrong with the word 'dinner' in itself: it is only a working-class hallmark if you use it to refer to the midday meal, which should be called 'lunch'. Calling you evening meal 'tea' is also a working-class indicator: the higher echelons call this meal 'dinner' or 'supper'. (Technically, a dinner is a somewhat grander meal than a supper...... Tea for the higher class is taken at around four o'clock and consists of tea and cakes or scones


Sadly the author is incredibly upper class (despite claiming she's trying to hide it) so the detail on working class signals is always a bit weak in this book. Still, it makes the point.

Paradox
September 6 2012, 09:53:27 PM
My family would have been considered working class in the past and probably are still considered working class today. My father is a farmer with around 100 head of dairy cattle and my mother has spent the last 21 years looking after myself and my younger sister. My father has been a dairy farmer ever since he could hold a fork and it's been in his family for at least two generations.

I am attending a university and aspire to be earning a fairly significant wage in an advisory or professional career.

My father eats tea (yes, we call our evening meal "tea") with at least part of his person having cow shite on him but also owns all the land and the house and the plant which would come to about 1.5 million pounds if we sold it and is fully in charge of the farm as if it was his own business.

Are we middle class or lower middle class or working class or an underclass? Or is my father working class while I am middle class due to hurrah for social mobility? or is my father upper class since he owns more land and assets than the majority of the middle class?

helgur
September 6 2012, 09:58:33 PM
You are a work in progress underlowermiddleclass

:derper:

Joshua Foiritain
September 7 2012, 12:27:03 AM
I thought we weren't allowed to post troll threads in the srsbsns forum?i dont think it's a troll to be honest.
Yes it is. :psyduck: Lallante has posted that he uses 'edgy' statements to 'stimulate' discussions. At the end of the day its posting short sighted one liners befitting of someone with a single digit iq. Does it generate a response? Of course it does, does it help the discussions? hell no.

Anyone who works 10 to 16 hours at minimum wage just to make due is the working class. Hell, anyone who works just to be able to cover basic living expenses is the working class. Guess what? A butt load of Americans (people from other countries as well of course) fall into this category.

Every single line of work is called a career today; If you start working at McDonald's at 16 you've got a fucking career path because at some point in your life you might become the dead ended sucker that tells other people when to flip the burgers instead of having to flip them yourselves.

Anyone who thinks the working class does not exist is -holy shit- out of touch with reality.

Also; This just in: gravity doesn't exist. Its a government conspiracy to prevent us from growing taller then our doors. :derper:

Aea
September 7 2012, 02:59:34 AM
...

If you re-read his post as a serious of complaints and/or sarcasm you'd realize he's making a fairly important point. The term "Middle Class" has entered the lexicon as a replacement for what was once a series of well-defined classes. In doing so this not only reduces the value of that classification but hinders political discourse when anybody from the working poor to a six-figure earner would be considered Middle Class.

Frankly I do not see the point of your post Joshua.

ValorousBob
September 7 2012, 06:44:54 AM
I thought we weren't allowed to post troll threads in the srsbsns forum?

Not necessarily a troll. Lallante sometimes takes extreme positions to stoke a debate or make a point. This one's not even that extreme.



EDIT: Posted and didn't even see this...



I thought we weren't allowed to post troll threads in the srsbsns forum?i dont think it's a troll to be honest.
Yes it is. :psyduck: Lallante has posted that he uses 'edgy' statements to 'stimulate' discussions. At the end of the day its posting short sighted one liners befitting of someone with a single digit iq. Does it generate a response? Of course it does, does it help the discussions? hell no.

Ehhh I'd say it does help. Yeah sure, some people think he's trolling and end up sort of trolling themselves when they respond angrily to his posts, but for the most part his "extreme" posts help the debate/discussion.

Lallante
September 7 2012, 08:34:34 AM
I thought we weren't allowed to post troll threads in the srsbsns forum?i dont think it's a troll to be honest.
Yes it is. :psyduck: Lallante has posted that he uses 'edgy' statements to 'stimulate' discussions. At the end of the day its posting short sighted one liners befitting of someone with a single digit iq. Does it generate a response? Of course it does, does it help the discussions? hell no.

Anyone who works 10 to 16 hours at minimum wage just to make due is the working class. Hell, anyone who works just to be able to cover basic living expenses is the working class. Guess what? A butt load of Americans (people from other countries as well of course) fall into this category.

Every single line of work is called a career today; If you start working at McDonald's at 16 you've got a fucking career path because at some point in your life you might become the dead ended sucker that tells other people when to flip the burgers instead of having to flip them yourselves.

Anyone who thinks the working class does not exist is -holy shit- out of touch with reality.

Also; This just in: gravity doesn't exist. Its a government conspiracy to prevent us from growing taller then our doors. :derper:

I do love that you accuse me both of trolling (possibly true) and of "not helping discussions" (patently false - there was no discussion until I began it, however much you might think my OP was a troll), while your own post is nothing more than a series of unsupported statements and angry gestures - how are YOU helping discussions exactly?

Am I working class? I work 16 hours a day 5 - 6 days a week just to maintain my lifestyle (no savings etc). Admittedly, my lifestyle involves expensive restaurants, drugs and luxury holidays but the people you are targetting also have their vices (ciggarettes, booze, gambling) that are hardly "essentials".

The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore (the 5% being illegal immigrants with no family network, and to a certain degree the homeless). Even an unemployed person with no savings has the bare essentials and even a few luxuries available to them through welfare and social housing.

Most council tenants still have a flat screen TV, a games console, go on holidays. These (sorts of things) used to be the hallmarks of the middle class, now they are easily available to anyone.

The other interesting corrolary of this is (as has been mentioned above) that most people who work now consider themselves middle class. The main exception are the left-wing agit-prop activists (most of whom, ironically, are extremely middle class both by historic and current measures).

edit: 16 hours a day, 5 days a week at minimum wage is almost 500 a week. Calling bullshit that this is necessary "just to survive" - you can live a fairly great lifestyle in central London on 500 a week, let alone anywhere else in the country.

Diicc Tater
September 7 2012, 09:29:20 AM
Another reason why it's hard to use class labels is that it's kind of obsolete.

People just don't feel the same need to identify with a 'class' since it has less (there are still some) use in society. It's still useful in circles where tradition still holds. Try to become a barrister in the UK without the proper social pathways? I've heard it's not the easiest trek. But today it's easier to get to the top by your skills and manners than it used to be. There is less need to be know through your family and fathers friends.

Working class, middle class... you can be rich as stink and be part of what used to be the social group labeled such.

Economics has very little to do with what is the traditional 'class' labels. There are plenty of old blue-blood families still among the 'upper class' that are no better off than the average industrial 'man on the floor' worker. Some struggle to keep their old grand house habitable and it's sometimes all they have left of the old grandeur.
At the same time there are industrious people just working their derrieres off on 'menial tasks', earning enough to keep their kids in school, their wife/husband at home and a stable full of pets. So, who's upper/middle class?

tl;dr:
Useless labels.

NoirAvlaa
September 7 2012, 09:32:38 AM
while your own post is nothing more than a series of unsupported statements and angry gestures


The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore (the 5% being illegal immigrants with no family network, and to a certain degree the homeless). Even an unemployed person with no savings has the bare essentials and even a few luxuries available to them through welfare and social housing.


Most council tenants still have a flat screen TV, a games console, go on holidays. These (sorts of things) used to be the hallmarks of the middle class, now they are easily available to anyone.


The other interesting corrolary of this is (as has been mentioned above) that most people who work now consider themselves middle class. The main exception are the left-wing agit-prop activists (most of whom, ironically, are extremely middle class both by historic and current measures).

Would honestly like to see support for all of this.


edit: 16 hours a day, 5 days a week at minimum wage is almost 500 a week. Calling bullshit that this is necessary "just to survive" - you can live a fairly great lifestyle in central London on 500 a week, let alone anywhere else in the country.

You try and find a job that lets you work 16 hours a day, 5 days a week. And then the person that isn't absolutely fucked physically/mentally doing it. Most jobs I've had in an office are 7 hour days (+1 hour break) at minimum wage. 250 per week, 1000 per month, taxed down to about 850 per month today. It's pretty hard to live in central London for that as far as I know. Hell, I live in Liverpool suburb and I find myself scraping by at the end of the month. Your views on this specific detail seem totally disconnected with the reality.


Am I working class? I work 16 hours a day 5 - 6 days a week just to maintain my lifestyle (no savings etc). Admittedly, my lifestyle involves expensive restaurants, drugs and luxury holidays but the people you are targetting also have their vices (ciggarettes, booze, gambling) that are hardly "essentials".

No. You are definitely not "working class". Working to "maintain my lifestyle" is not the same as working to "be able to afford bills and food for 1 more month".

Lallante
September 7 2012, 11:06:29 AM
7 hour day isn't really taxing though is it - its not even half your waking hours. I wouldnt call that "struggling to survive".

When i was a student I worked two jobs for a total of about 50 hours a week, all at minimum wage. It was tiring but I built up savings I needed to go travelling even while covering all my living costs etc.

If you are stuck on minimum wage for more than a year with no pay rises etc you are doing something very wrong. Even McDonalds etc has pay increases roughly yearly.

edit: done a little searching around and it seems that McDonalds, most supermarkets etc being at around 50p over minimum wage starting salary, with approx 10-15p increase per hour per year served but lots of other opportunities to get extra (e.g. overtime, sundays, bank holidays, certain awards/rises for certain achievements, inflation adjustments etc).

Doing a 50 hour week (10 hours a day), which should be easy for most people, would mean a weekly income of 330 + overtime. Thats definitely comfortably liveable, and if you are anything other than useless and unreliable, it will consistantly increase faster than inflation, even assuming you have no drive to actually get a decent job.

Joshua Foiritain
September 7 2012, 11:33:28 AM
I do love that you accuse me both of trolling (possibly true) and of "not helping discussions" (patently false - there was no discussion until I began it, however much you might think my OP was a troll), while your own post is nothing more than a series of unsupported statements and angry gestures - how are YOU helping discussions exactly?
Pot, kettle:


Am I working class? I work 16 hours a day 5 - 6 days a week just to maintain my lifestyle (no savings etc). Admittedly, my lifestyle involves expensive restaurants, drugs and luxury holidays but the people you are targetting also have their vices (ciggarettes, booze, gambling) that are hardly "essentials".

The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore (the 5% being illegal immigrants with no family network, and to a certain degree the homeless). Even an unemployed person with no savings has the bare essentials and even a few luxuries available to them through welfare and social housing.

Most council tenants still have a flat screen TV, a games console, go on holidays. These (sorts of things) used to be the hallmarks of the middle class, now they are easily available to anyone.

The other interesting corrolary of this is (as has been mentioned above) that most people who work now consider themselves middle class. The main exception are the left-wing agit-prop activists (most of whom, ironically, are extremely middle class both by historic and current measures).


edit: 16 hours a day, 5 days a week at minimum wage is almost 500 a week. Calling bullshit that this is necessary "just to survive" - you can live a fairly great lifestyle in central London on 500 a week, let alone anywhere else in the country.
You can live a fairly great lifestyle working two jobs at the same time? Big whoop. Add in a two hours of travelling to that and you dont even have enough time left in the day to get the required amount of sleep.

Obviously i cant comment on the UK but in the Netherlands minimum wage is 1.456,2 a month working regular hours, i think this is before taxes but im not sure so lets assume its after taxes for now. Lets look at some living expenses. (all numbers are average estimates based on quick googling)

Single person:
The average apartment starts at 800ish and you dont qualify for any mortgages.
Gas, water, electricity cost 150ish per month.
Health insurance is 90ish a month.
Food will run you another 40ish per week, 160 a month.
You obviously cant afford a car but public transportation isnt free either, travelling to a nearby city costs +6euros per day, so 120ish per month.

So that leaves you with 136 euros per month for clothing, tv, internet, a phone line, saving money for emergencies and actually leaving the house once in a while. Not terrible, not great. Of course this is for a single person.

2 adults of which 1 works + 1 child:
The average apartment starts at 800ish and you dont qualify for any mortgages.
Gas, water, electricity cost 150ish per month.
Health insurance is 270 a month.
Food will run you another 80ish per week, 320 a month.
You obviously cant afford a car but public transportation isnt free either, travelling to a nearby city costs +6euros per day, so 120ish per month.

So that leaves you with -203 euros per month while still missing a lot of things.

Fortunately in these situations you (often) qualify for child and/or rent support from the government but it hardly qualifies as luxury living. In case you're wondering why one parent stays home instead of working? Its because daycare is absurdly expensive and its apparently cheaper to stay at home.

So why not work 16 hours a day you ask? A: Its illegal when it involves physical labor. B: Its not wrong for people to want to have a life.

Now if you're wondering why all these people have flatscreen tvs; Its because they're dumb, buy them on credit and don't realize they're paying 12-20% interest on them which is why more and more people in my country are ending up with massive debts that they can never pay off.

So to sum up:
Working class: Low quality jobs, poor pay, income is close to expenses.
Middle class: Medium quality jobs, decent pay, income exceeds expenses leaving room for vacations in a different country, dish washers, a car, etc.
Upper class: Fatcats, etc.

cheeba
September 7 2012, 12:05:35 PM
arg lallente, your arguments would more valid if everyone could work those hours.

For many people, they are unable to work as many hours as they wish to, either becuase of health and safety or because of the lack of work available. I believe you are a lawyer? you signed a waiver saying that your company was allowed to work you more hours/week than EU regs. same for finance or other high paying - long hours jobs.

Im guessing you are mid/late twenties. Im not sure what sort of law that you do but assuming you work in a decent law firm etc etc - im going to ball park that you earn 40kpa + .

That means less than 5 years out of education you have already zoomed past the UK average salary of 30kpa for men (http://career-advice.monster.co.uk/salary-benefits/pay-salary-advice/uk-average-salary-graphs/article.aspx)

That means you earn more than many 30, 40, 50 and 60 year olds who have been in their careers for decades. You are apart of a small minority.

Living in london (as i do) i think one can lose perspective of what 'working class' means. Yes the boundaries have blurred but to say the working class has disappeared because everyone owns a flat screen isn't a legit argument.

To add to this topic, Ill throw out a statement: If you belong to a union, then you are working class. Agree or not?

Lallante
September 7 2012, 12:07:40 PM
You can live a fairly great lifestyle working two jobs at the same time? Big whoop. Add in a two hours of travelling to that and you dont even have enough time left in the day to get the required amount of sleep.
And yet I manage it somehow...


Obviously i cant comment on the UK but in the Netherlands minimum wage is 1.456,2 a month working regular hours, i think this is before taxes but im not sure so lets assume its after taxes for now. Lets look at some living expenses. (all numbers are average estimates based on quick googling)

Single person:
The average apartment starts at 800ish and you dont qualify for any mortgages.
Gas, water, electricity cost 150ish per month.
Health insurance is 90ish a month.
Food will run you another 40ish per week, 160 a month.
You obviously cant afford a car but public transportation isnt free either, travelling to a nearby city costs +6euros per day, so 120ish per month.

So that leaves you with 136 euros per month for clothing, tv, internet, a phone line, saving money for emergencies and actually leaving the house once in a while. Not terrible, not great. Of course this is for a single person.

If you work at minimum wage you are not going to live in "the average apartment" are you? Thats ludicrous. If you are working minimum wage you dont need to travel far for your job (there are minimum wage jobs everywhere, and if there arent any near you you should move). You've taken a middle income lifestyle and then applied a bottom-of-the-barrel income to it to show its "not terrible, not great"....

PS: Minimum wage is 6.08 per hour in the UK.


2 adults of which 1 works + 1 child:
The average apartment starts at 800ish and you dont qualify for any mortgages.
Gas, water, electricity cost 150ish per month.
Health insurance is 270 a month.
Food will run you another 80ish per week, 320 a month.
You obviously cant afford a car but public transportation isnt free either, travelling to a nearby city costs +6euros per day, so 120ish per month.

So that leaves you with -203 euros per month while still missing a lot of things.

As above but you would also be entitled to child benefits, probably housing support and income support too.


Fortunately in these situations you (often) qualify for child and/or rent support from the government but it hardly qualifies as luxury living. In case you're wondering why one parent stays home instead of working? Its because daycare is absurdly expensive and its apparently cheaper to stay at home.

Most countries also have childcare allowances.


So why not work 16 hours a day you ask? A: Its illegal when it involves physical labor. B: Its not wrong for people to want to have a life.

You can work 16 hour days 5 days a week and have a great life. I do. The idea that hard work is "impossible" or "wrong" is hilarious when so many people not only do it but don't mind it either.



Now if you're wondering why all these people have flatscreen tvs; Its because they're dumb, buy them on credit and don't realize they're paying 12-20% interest on them which is why more and more people in my country are ending up with massive debts that they can never pay off.

No question that this is a problem, but are you honestly writing off 1/3 of the population as dumb bankrupts-in-waiting? Only a few will get stuck in the trap you describe, it doesnt account for the majority.


So to sum up:
Working class: Low quality jobs, poor pay, income is close to expenses.
Middle class: Medium quality jobs, decent pay, income exceeds expenses leaving room for vacations in a different country, dish washers, a car, etc.
Upper class: Fatcats, etc.

"fatcats" are invariably middle class in the traditional sense - i.e. they work, and work hard, for their money (hard in terms of hours at least).
True upper class is not working and not having to work - i.e. family money.

Smuggo
September 7 2012, 12:10:57 PM
You can work 16 hour days 5 days a week and have a great life. I do.

Posting on FHC and masturbating while reading the emo thread is not really what most of us would consider hard work.

Lallante
September 7 2012, 12:12:12 PM
You can work 16 hour days 5 days a week and have a great life. I do.

Posting on FHC and masturbating while reading the emo thread is not really what most of us would consider hard work.

If its so easy then maybe all these poor people on minimum wage should get similar jobs?

Tafkat
September 7 2012, 12:20:24 PM
When i was a student I worked two jobs for a total of about 50 hours a week, all at minimum wage. It was tiring but I built up savings I needed to go travelling even while covering all my living costs etc.
In term time or during the holidays? ISTR you claiming to be an oxbridge grad, and AFAIK both institutions either strongly discourage or prohibit most forms of paid term-time employment for students (cambridge certainly does, and based on cursory googling, at least some oxford colleges do as well). If you're talking about holiday jobs, it's pretty disingenuous to act as though something that you know you'll only be doing for a few weeks to fund a bit of hedonism is in any way comparable to something you're going to have to do for the foreseeable future just to keep a roof over your head.

NoirAvlaa
September 7 2012, 12:28:40 PM
When i was a student I worked two jobs for a total of about 50 hours a week, all at minimum wage. It was tiring but I built up savings I needed to go travelling even while covering all my living costs etc.
In term time or during the holidays? ISTR you claiming to be an oxbridge grad, and AFAIK both institutions either strongly discourage or prohibit most forms of paid term-time employment for students (cambridge certainly does, and based on cursory googling, at least some oxford colleges do as well). If you're talking about holiday jobs, it's pretty disingenuous to act as though something that you know you'll only be doing for a few weeks to fund a bit of hedonism is in any way comparable to something you're going to have to do for the foreseeable future just to keep a roof over your head.

Also what kind of job have you got now Lallante? Because ISTR you have a law degree and saying you work with energy law. I know someone who works in the lower levels of renewable energies and she definitely earns more than minimum wage and works less than 80 hour weeks.

If you do have 2 minimum wage jobs that make you work 80 hour weeks in total then IMO you're doing something very wrong with your degree.

I seriously doubt you did 50 hour weeks as a student too. How did you have enough time to study, do coursework, revise, sleep and eat? Unless you're some sort of savante(at which point universities generally throw money at you) then it's more likely that what Tsubutai said is right and you did some 50 hour weeks during the holidays and cut down a lot during term time.

e: Yep - http://failheap-challenge.com/showthread.php?7794-Nuclear-Power&p=547168&viewfull=1#post547168


As an Energy Lawyer, let me give you a little Energy Grid 101.

Is this referring to education as an Energy Lawyer or actively working as one? Either way, you should be on more than minimum wage unless you adore working stupid hours for no money.

Joshua Foiritain
September 7 2012, 12:50:32 PM
You can live a fairly great lifestyle working two jobs at the same time? Big whoop. Add in a two hours of travelling to that and you dont even have enough time left in the day to get the required amount of sleep.
And yet I manage it somehow...


Obviously i cant comment on the UK but in the Netherlands minimum wage is 1.456,2 a month working regular hours, i think this is before taxes but im not sure so lets assume its after taxes for now. Lets look at some living expenses. (all numbers are average estimates based on quick googling)

Single person:
The average apartment starts at 800ish and you dont qualify for any mortgages.
Gas, water, electricity cost 150ish per month.
Health insurance is 90ish a month.
Food will run you another 40ish per week, 160 a month.
You obviously cant afford a car but public transportation isnt free either, travelling to a nearby city costs +6euros per day, so 120ish per month.

So that leaves you with 136 euros per month for clothing, tv, internet, a phone line, saving money for emergencies and actually leaving the house once in a while. Not terrible, not great. Of course this is for a single person.

If you work at minimum wage you are not going to live in "the average apartment" are you? Thats ludicrous. If you are working minimum wage you dont need to travel far for your job (there are minimum wage jobs everywhere, and if there arent any near you you should move). You've taken a middle income lifestyle and then applied a bottom-of-the-barrel income to it to show its "not terrible, not great"....

PS: Minimum wage is 6.08 per hour in the UK.

So if you're not going to live in a apartment then where are you going to live? You cant buy a house. I suppose you could live on a camp site, though youre not allowed to do that all year round. Also homeless shelters arent really an option.

As for travelling, i never said travel far, the figure i quoted is from my home town to the nearest city and takes 20 minutes in total. If you want to live cheaply you're not going to live in the city, you're going to living in small towns nearby one which means you quite possibly need to travel.

As for eating, having a house and health insurance being a middle income lifestyle... Food is a luxury right? The numbers i quoted are based on estimated living expenses for low income families in my country.





2 adults of which 1 works + 1 child:
The average apartment starts at 800ish and you dont qualify for any mortgages.
Gas, water, electricity cost 150ish per month.
Health insurance is 270 a month.
Food will run you another 80ish per week, 320 a month.
You obviously cant afford a car but public transportation isnt free either, travelling to a nearby city costs +6euros per day, so 120ish per month.

So that leaves you with -203 euros per month while still missing a lot of things.

As above but you would also be entitled to child benefits, probably housing support and income support too.

Thats what i said:




Fortunately in these situations you (often) qualify for child and/or rent support from the government but it hardly qualifies as luxury living. In case you're wondering why one parent stays home instead of working? Its because daycare is absurdly expensive and its apparently cheaper to stay at home.

Most countries also have childcare allowances.
Again, thats what i said...





So why not work 16 hours a day you ask? A: Its illegal when it involves physical labor. B: Its not wrong for people to want to have a life.

You can work 16 hour days 5 days a week and have a great life. I do. The idea that hard work is "impossible" or "wrong" is hilarious when so many people not only do it but don't mind it either.

If recall correctly you do something along the lines of lawyering, so you're sitting behind a desk, are apparently allowed to whore forums while working and i assume your employer is fairly flexible when it comes to breaks and such.

Try lifting bricks for 16 hours, 5 days a week and let me know how that goes.




Now if you're wondering why all these people have flatscreen tvs; Its because they're dumb, buy them on credit and don't realize they're paying 12-20% interest on them which is why more and more people in my country are ending up with massive debts that they can never pay off.

No question that this is a problem, but are you honestly writing off 1/3 of the population as dumb bankrupts-in-waiting? Only a few will get stuck in the trap you describe, it doesnt account for the majority.
I never said one third. I generalized that poor people with luxury items usually get them by getting themselves in debt either through the inability or the unwillingness to properly think about their actions.

I have no idea how many people in my country would qualify for this group but im fairly certain its a hell of a lot less then 1/3rd.

Lallante
September 7 2012, 02:18:01 PM
When i was a student I worked two jobs for a total of about 50 hours a week, all at minimum wage. It was tiring but I built up savings I needed to go travelling even while covering all my living costs etc.
In term time or during the holidays? ISTR you claiming to be an oxbridge grad, and AFAIK both institutions either strongly discourage or prohibit most forms of paid term-time employment for students (cambridge certainly does, and based on cursory googling, at least some oxford colleges do as well). If you're talking about holiday jobs, it's pretty disingenuous to act as though something that you know you'll only be doing for a few weeks to fund a bit of hedonism is in any way comparable to something you're going to have to do for the foreseeable future just to keep a roof over your head.

It was for ~9 months between school and university

Smuggo
September 7 2012, 02:19:19 PM
So when you weren't a student then...

Lallante
September 7 2012, 02:24:02 PM
blurf.

Youaren't going to live in an average apartment, you are going to live in a cheap or even government subsidised one. Depending on what part of the country this could be 500 - 600 a month if you live alone, or if you do the sensible thing and share with 1 - 3 other people in the same situation, much less (300-400 outside of a major city should be achievable).

You realise that there are plenty of minimum wage or unskilled desk jobs right? Manual labouring isnt the default job for poor people, and its rarely paid just minimum wage, either.

Lallante
September 7 2012, 02:25:11 PM
So when you weren't a student then...

I guess you could say that - I had an accepted place at university I was just waiting for it to start. I only described myself as a student because thats how I thought of myself but this has zero impact on my point, either way.

Smuggo
September 7 2012, 02:30:36 PM
So when you weren't a student then...

I guess you could say that - I had an accepted place at university I was just waiting for it to start. I only described myself as a student because thats how I thought of myself but this has zero impact on my point, either way.

Kinda does. A 50-hour week is quite doable for a young man to do temporarily to save up money for some goal he has. You implied that this was what you did while also studying at university (itself supposed to be equivalent to a full-time job) which would equate to you working a 90-hour week.

Also working 50 hours a week day-in, day-out, for years when you're middle aged with a family to look after is somewhat different.

Frug
September 7 2012, 02:32:11 PM
Now if you're wondering why all these people have flatscreen tvs; Its because they're dumb, buy them on credit and don't realize they're paying 12-20% interest on them which is why more and more people in my country are ending up with massive debts that they can never pay off.

No question that this is a problem, but are you honestly writing off 1/3 of the population as dumb bankrupts-in-waiting? Only a few will get stuck in the trap you describe, it doesnt account for the majority.
I never said one third. I generalized that poor people with luxury items usually get them by getting themselves in debt either through the inability or the unwillingness to properly think about their actions.

I have no idea how many people in my country would qualify for this group but im fairly certain its a hell of a lot less then 1/3rd.
I'm pretty damn liberal, but there is and will always be a chunk of society stupidly blowing money on flat screen tv's on credit and generally being retarded. One of my best friends is, unfortunately, astoundingly mentally retarded when it comes to his own finances and getting ahead in life. He's not generally stupid (actually he often surprises me) but on certain issues relating to living life he was not raised to plan ahead or have any concept of saving money. He'll do things like get roped into a cheap android phone because it's free, except it needs a $10/mo data plan on top of the phone bill when he barely has money for food. Additionally, because things are often very shitty for him ( no money for things like dentist, or basic luxuries ) he gets upset/depressed/lacks willpower/feels entitled to splurge on alcohol because he has nothing left in life in his own eyes. So when he does come across a wad of cash, it's gone immediately as if it was just put in a paper shredder.

It's really difficult to help people like this. I tried subtly, got hostility back, gave up because I'm a bad friend and useless. There are plenty of people around like him. They could get out of it if they acted correctly, but they have barriers like psychological, physical, or circumstantial issues holding them back. A fraction of them are plain lazy.

If the UK is like here, I think Lall is right in that the whole "working to survive" is generally avoidable with little effort, but he's wrong to suggest everyone can just go ahead and overcome their obstacles. Some people can't or need serious intervention to encourage it. The human mind is weird that way.

On a different note, things weren't so sunny when I visited the States (Oregon). People were so desperate for jobs there that they'd stand outside on the highway, paid minimum wage to hold a sign for a car wash or a restaurant - and there were lots of these people out there just waggling a sign because there were no other jobs. My gf tried to get a job for a while before giving up, and while at first I didn't believe her when she said it was impossible, I eventually advised her to forget about it since she didn't need it (living with her parents). There were plenty of drifters moving from random farm job to whatever they could find next. If you don't have even minimum wage opportunities where you are, you can be pretty fucked.

Liare
September 7 2012, 02:58:48 PM
7 hour day isn't really taxing though is it - its not even half your waking hours. I wouldnt call that "struggling to survive".

When i was a student I worked two jobs for a total of about 50 hours a week, all at minimum wage. It was tiring but I built up savings I needed to go travelling even while covering all my living costs etc.

If you are stuck on minimum wage for more than a year with no pay rises etc you are doing something very wrong. Even McDonalds etc has pay increases roughly yearly.

edit: done a little searching around and it seems that McDonalds, most supermarkets etc being at around 50p over minimum wage starting salary, with approx 10-15p increase per hour per year served but lots of other opportunities to get extra (e.g. overtime, sundays, bank holidays, certain awards/rises for certain achievements, inflation adjustments etc).

Doing a 50 hour week (10 hours a day), which should be easy for most people, would mean a weekly income of 330 + overtime. Thats definitely comfortably liveable, and if you are anything other than useless and unreliable, it will consistantly increase faster than inflation, even assuming you have no drive to actually get a decent job.this is great until you realise people want more out of their life than slave away in some office/store environment, doing it for short periods when all you have to look after is yourself is fine, but building a society around it is not.

i work in a profession where the "37-40 hours a week" aspect is considered a standing joke rather than the norm, if there's a need for the extra hours i will chip in because otherwise the entire company grinds to a screeching halt and i am FAR too proud of what i do to allow such a thing to happen, but i cannot and do not reasonably expect anybody else to behave like that and purposfully keep my working hours as close to the mandated maximum as reasonable because quite frankly, life is more than sitting in a office complex, and if it's not what would the bloody point be ? (that i then spend a inordinate amount of time fiddling in front of a monitor at home is another story, but that's my choice of leisure time)


"fatcats" are invariably middle class in the traditional sense - i.e. they work, and work hard, for their money (hard in terms of hours at least).
True upper class is not working and not having to work - i.e. family money.so people like Bill Gates qualified as "middle class" while he was still running microsoft up trough the 90's ? :psyduck:

"fat cat" is the point where you no longer need to work to maintain your living standard, what people then choose to do is up to them, i dont have a problem with the "fat cat" either, as long as he/she/it does not do a "Gina Rinehart" and start abusing the position. and yes, attempting to erode the wages and indirectly the living standards like that is nothing short of fucking disgusting, and qualifies as abuse in my book, "you got lucky by getting the right parents or made this brilliant invention that means you're now rolling in money ? good for you, just dont try to wreck the social framework the rest of us depend on, and pay your fucking taxes like everybody else." pretty much sums up my opinion on that. :)







Now if you're wondering why all these people have flatscreen tvs; Its because they're dumb, buy them on credit and don't realize they're paying 12-20% interest on them which is why more and more people in my country are ending up with massive debts that they can never pay off.

No question that this is a problem, but are you honestly writing off 1/3 of the population as dumb bankrupts-in-waiting? Only a few will get stuck in the trap you describe, it doesnt account for the majority.
I never said one third. I generalized that poor people with luxury items usually get them by getting themselves in debt either through the inability or the unwillingness to properly think about their actions.

I have no idea how many people in my country would qualify for this group but im fairly certain its a hell of a lot less then 1/3rd.
I'm pretty damn liberal, but there is and will always be a chunk of society stupidly blowing money on flat screen tv's on credit and generally being retarded. One of my best friends is, unfortunately, astoundingly mentally retarded when it comes to his own finances and getting ahead in life. He's not generally stupid (actually he often surprises me) but on certain issues relating to living life he was not raised to plan ahead or have any concept of saving money. He'll do things like get roped into a cheap android phone because it's free, except it needs a $10/mo data plan on top of the phone bill when he barely has money for food. Additionally, because things are often very shitty for him ( no money for things like dentist, or basic luxuries ) he gets upset/depressed/lacks willpower/feels entitled to splurge on alcohol because he has nothing left in life in his own eyes. So when he does come across a wad of cash, it's gone immediately as if it was just put in a paper shredder.

It's really difficult to help people like this. I tried subtly, got hostility back, gave up because I'm a bad friend and useless. There are plenty of people around like him. They could get out of it if they acted correctly, but they have barriers like psychological, physical, or circumstantial issues holding them back. A fraction of them are plain lazy.

If the UK is like here, I think Lall is right in that the whole "working to survive" is generally avoidable with little effort, but he's wrong to suggest everyone can just go ahead and overcome their obstacles. Some people can't or need serious intervention to encourage it. The human mind is weird that way.

On a different note, things weren't so sunny when I visited the States (Oregon). People were so desperate for jobs there that they'd stand outside on the highway, paid minimum wage to hold a sign for a car wash or a restaurant - and there were lots of these people out there just waggling a sign because there were no other jobs. My gf tried to get a job for a while before giving up, and while at first I didn't believe her when she said it was impossible, I eventually advised her to forget about it since she didn't need it (living with her parents). There were plenty of drifters moving from random farm job to whatever they could find next. If you don't have even minimum wage opportunities where you are, you can be pretty fucked.welcome to consumerism mate.

a more patronizing person would point out that the bloke is more or less the victim of one of the greatest crimes perpetrated on the "common folk" in human history, but then we all are to some degree.

Cool09
September 7 2012, 03:50:06 PM
Middle class is often associated with owning a house, a car, post secondary education, and having a bit of extra funds to go on the occasional vacation, or to support a hobby. Many blue collar jobs simply don't pay well enough to have all those things. I agree that the line is being blurred however. As someone else pointed out, everyone is getting a post-secondary education these days, which contributes to a shortage of labour (skilled and unskilled). In the right trade, someone can be a worker, yet still live very comfortably. That doesn't mean there aren't millions of workers out there who still solidly fall into the traditional working class.

Synapse
September 7 2012, 11:33:55 PM
To be honest I don't see the point in class distinctions, so I find this whole discussion of "who is middle class" to be a bit silly.


I think you're all wasting a lot of time here. Class is at the root a social descriptor. If you can't use it to define a group of people with attitudes and a particular lifestyle then it will fade pretty quick.

Class needs to define a socially recognisable group. Class boundaries are maintained by inability to move between them quickly. Industrialized countries have done a great job breaking down such barriers so that now you have essentially one "class" (the mega rich who sometimes don't work at all, and can be recognized by patronage of expensive sports like yachting, polo, etc and real estate) remaining, and below them a big spectrum of people all shuffling around in economic terms based on all kinds of factors.

I'd maintain though that without a clear barrier to entry/exit you can't really have a "class" concept. It's too fluid and it holds no identity as a descriptor of people or lifestyles.

What I think is being described in this thread as an attempt to demarcate the middle class are really just sets of economic and social achievement which individually signify little about where the person is economically, and more importantly NOTHING AT ALL about the person socially.

Lallante
September 8 2012, 11:04:12 PM
Now if you're wondering why all these people have flatscreen tvs; Its because they're dumb, buy them on credit and don't realize they're paying 12-20% interest on them which is why more and more people in my country are ending up with massive debts that they can never pay off.

No question that this is a problem, but are you honestly writing off 1/3 of the population as dumb bankrupts-in-waiting? Only a few will get stuck in the trap you describe, it doesnt account for the majority.
I never said one third. I generalized that poor people with luxury items usually get them by getting themselves in debt either through the inability or the unwillingness to properly think about their actions.

I have no idea how many people in my country would qualify for this group but im fairly certain its a hell of a lot less then 1/3rd.
I'm pretty damn liberal, but there is and will always be a chunk of society stupidly blowing money on flat screen tv's on credit and generally being retarded. One of my best friends is, unfortunately, astoundingly mentally retarded when it comes to his own finances and getting ahead in life. He's not generally stupid (actually he often surprises me) but on certain issues relating to living life he was not raised to plan ahead or have any concept of saving money. He'll do things like get roped into a cheap android phone because it's free, except it needs a $10/mo data plan on top of the phone bill when he barely has money for food. Additionally, because things are often very shitty for him ( no money for things like dentist, or basic luxuries ) he gets upset/depressed/lacks willpower/feels entitled to splurge on alcohol because he has nothing left in life in his own eyes. So when he does come across a wad of cash, it's gone immediately as if it was just put in a paper shredder.

It's really difficult to help people like this. I tried subtly, got hostility back, gave up because I'm a bad friend and useless. There are plenty of people around like him. They could get out of it if they acted correctly, but they have barriers like psychological, physical, or circumstantial issues holding them back. A fraction of them are plain lazy.

If the UK is like here, I think Lall is right in that the whole "working to survive" is generally avoidable with little effort, but he's wrong to suggest everyone can just go ahead and overcome their obstacles. Some people can't or need serious intervention to encourage it. The human mind is weird that way.

On a different note, things weren't so sunny when I visited the States (Oregon). People were so desperate for jobs there that they'd stand outside on the highway, paid minimum wage to hold a sign for a car wash or a restaurant - and there were lots of these people out there just waggling a sign because there were no other jobs. My gf tried to get a job for a while before giving up, and while at first I didn't believe her when she said it was impossible, I eventually advised her to forget about it since she didn't need it (living with her parents). There were plenty of drifters moving from random farm job to whatever they could find next. If you don't have even minimum wage opportunities where you are, you can be pretty fucked.
I get what you are saying Frug but I dont really understand why we should feel sympathy for your friend - to me it seems like he is a fuckup because of his own ongoing poor decisions.

Lallante
September 8 2012, 11:09:58 PM
this is great until you realise people want more out of their life than slave away in some office/store environment, doing it for short periods when all you have to look after is yourself is fine, but building a society around it is not.

i work in a profession where the "37-40 hours a week" aspect is considered a standing joke rather than the norm, if there's a need for the extra hours i will chip in because otherwise the entire company grinds to a screeching halt and i am FAR too proud of what i do to allow such a thing to happen, but i cannot and do not reasonably expect anybody else to behave like that and purposfully keep my working hours as close to the mandated maximum as reasonable because quite frankly, life is more than sitting in a office complex, and if it's not what would the bloody point be ? (that i then spend a inordinate amount of time fiddling in front of a monitor at home is another story, but that's my choice of leisure time)

Why should society (and by society I mean all of the rest of us who do work hard, through taxes) support someone because they dont want to work hard or feel they are too good for a minimum wage job, but are evidently not good enough to get a better job? Not wanting to work hard is not a reason to not have to work hard.

Financial services companies, and income tax for people who work for financial services companies, accounts for something insane like 1/3 of all tax income. In most financial services jobs, 50hr+ a week is normal. Essentially, people like me work our ass off so that other people can work less hard and be subsidised by us.

I support a welfare state. I believe in a strong, universal and reliable safety net (i'd improve our current system wrt disability benefits, health, dental etc), but I am so incredibly against subsidising people who are perfectly capable of working harder but choose not to because "lifes too short". That's essentially freeloading, and if everyone did it the welfare state would collapse into bankruptcy.



"fatcats" are invariably middle class in the traditional sense - i.e. they work, and work hard, for their money (hard in terms of hours at least).
True upper class is not working and not having to work - i.e. family money.so people like Bill Gates qualified as "middle class" while he was still running microsoft up trough the 90's ? :psyduck:

"fat cat" is the point where you no longer need to work to maintain your living standard, what people then choose to do is up to them, i dont have a problem with the "fat cat" either, as long as he/she/it does not do a "Gina Rinehart" and start abusing the position. and yes, attempting to erode the wages and indirectly the living standards like that is nothing short of fucking disgusting, and qualifies as abuse in my book, "you got lucky by getting the right parents or made this brilliant invention that means you're now rolling in money ? good for you, just dont try to wreck the social framework the rest of us depend on, and pay your fucking taxes like everybody else." pretty much sums up my opinion on that. :)

Well you wont find many people defending Gina Rinehart or her disgusting views.



welcome to consumerism mate.

a more patronizing person would point out that the bloke is more or less the victim of one of the greatest crimes perpetrated on the "common folk" in human history, but then we all are to some degree.

This attitude is what I hate most about the left wing. Its so incredibly patronising, so mind-blowingly condescending. "noone is responsible for their poor decisions, noone is to blame for their actions (or inactions) - its all society's fault, brainwashing them". Frankly complete and utter bullshit. People can, do and should escape situations like the one Frug described every day. The fact that his friend does not is his own fault, lack of willpower and poor character.

untilted
September 9 2012, 09:29:46 AM
this is great until you realise people want more out of their life than slave away in some office/store environment, doing it for short periods when all you have to look after is yourself is fine, but building a society around it is not.

i work in a profession where the "37-40 hours a week" aspect is considered a standing joke rather than the norm, if there's a need for the extra hours i will chip in because otherwise the entire company grinds to a screeching halt and i am FAR too proud of what i do to allow such a thing to happen, but i cannot and do not reasonably expect anybody else to behave like that and purposfully keep my working hours as close to the mandated maximum as reasonable because quite frankly, life is more than sitting in a office complex, and if it's not what would the bloody point be ? (that i then spend a inordinate amount of time fiddling in front of a monitor at home is another story, but that's my choice of leisure time)

Why should society (and by society I mean all of the rest of us who do work hard, through taxes) support someone because they dont want to work hard or feel they are too good for a minimum wage job, but are evidently not good enough to get a better job? Not wanting to work hard is not a reason to not have to work hard.

Financial services companies, and income tax for people who work for financial services companies, accounts for something insane like 1/3 of all tax income. In most financial services jobs, 50hr+ a week is normal. Essentially, people like me work our ass off so that other people can work less hard and be subsidised by us.

I support a welfare state. I believe in a strong, universal and reliable safety net (i'd improve our current system wrt disability benefits, health, dental etc), but I am so incredibly against subsidising people who are perfectly capable of working harder but choose not to because "lifes too short". That's essentially freeloading, and if everyone did it the welfare state would collapse into bankruptcy.


false dichotomy spotted.

saying "working 50+ hours a week at minimum wage to support a family IS NOT a model to base a society on" is not the same as saying "free candy for everyone!" ... one of the main points of almost every labour movement was (and still is) the notion that work HAS to pay off. more often than not tho' it seems like you're expected to get a shit pay and bad working conditions when you're doing important jobs like cleaning toilets, serving people or delivering mail/goods (yes, you read it right i used the term IMPORTANT).

but it seems only the "masters of the universe" are allowed to live a decent life - because they are "job creators". it's not like the accumulated wealth of the few is the surplus of the labour of many. and how dare the many to reclaim some of the results of their labour ...





welcome to consumerism mate.

a more patronizing person would point out that the bloke is more or less the victim of one of the greatest crimes perpetrated on the "common folk" in human history, but then we all are to some degree.

This attitude is what I hate most about the left wing. Its so incredibly patronising, so mind-blowingly condescending. "noone is responsible for their poor decisions, noone is to blame for their actions (or inactions) - its all society's fault, brainwashing them". Frankly complete and utter bullshit. People can, do and should escape situations like the one Frug described every day. The fact that his friend does not is his own fault, lack of willpower and poor character.

may i introduce you to a fellow called Kar Marx?
"Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living."

on the one hand you got the notion that society progresses, that you WILL live a better life than your parents. that a capitalist society IS the best social order, because it will give you everything you'll need and even more - because if it won't, it will be at best the second best social order. (this also becomes important in the backdrop of social revolutions in the 20th century and the following clash of the systems between liberalism/capitalism and socialism/communism.)

beginning with consumerism almost at the same time (1930s onwards) a new paradigm established itself - that progress can be quantified in the number of electronic consumer products in your house (technology is *always* a nice and dandy way to evaluate progress .. you just have to compare specifications of some machines, not think about such complex and boring things like "society", "equality", "justice", "freedom to/from" etc.) ... afterall it's quite easy to sell stuff before it breaks, when you can establish a notion of "technological avantgarde".

not living up to that idea of a progress in living standard, would mean that you failed all the ideas that your parents held dear ("go to school, learn something, start working, live a better life than we did"), it would mean that you failed yourself ("everyone told me i can be anything if i just tried hard enough .. but i can't be everything"), it would mean that you failed the narrative of a liberal/capitalist society we live in ("work hard enough and you will receive what is due")

sure, there are different strategies available to cope with this discrepancy (or better: contradiction) between expectations (held by you, by your parents, by society) and the reality ... you can embrace these expectations by transcendending them in some sort of protestantic work ethic, you can embrace it in a profane way by living up to the standards of consumerism no matter the costs ...

Liare
September 9 2012, 12:16:49 PM
this is great until you realise people want more out of their life than slave away in some office/store environment, doing it for short periods when all you have to look after is yourself is fine, but building a society around it is not.

i work in a profession where the "37-40 hours a week" aspect is considered a standing joke rather than the norm, if there's a need for the extra hours i will chip in because otherwise the entire company grinds to a screeching halt and i am FAR too proud of what i do to allow such a thing to happen, but i cannot and do not reasonably expect anybody else to behave like that and purposfully keep my working hours as close to the mandated maximum as reasonable because quite frankly, life is more than sitting in a office complex, and if it's not what would the bloody point be ? (that i then spend a inordinate amount of time fiddling in front of a monitor at home is another story, but that's my choice of leisure time)

Why should society (and by society I mean all of the rest of us who do work hard, through taxes) support someone because they dont want to work hard or feel they are too good for a minimum wage job, but are evidently not good enough to get a better job? Not wanting to work hard is not a reason to not have to work hard.

Financial services companies, and income tax for people who work for financial services companies, accounts for something insane like 1/3 of all tax income. In most financial services jobs, 50hr+ a week is normal. Essentially, people like me work our ass off so that other people can work less hard and be subsidised by us.

I support a welfare state. I believe in a strong, universal and reliable safety net (i'd improve our current system wrt disability benefits, health, dental etc), but I am so incredibly against subsidising people who are perfectly capable of working harder but choose not to because "lifes too short". That's essentially freeloading, and if everyone did it the welfare state would collapse into bankruptcy.as untilted pointed out, false dichotomy here, but i assume you're dragging it into a extreme to make a point so let's address that.

why should society not support everybody Lallante ? why should people be forced to work a large part of their time at things many will heartily tell you they detest utterly ? is "for the greater good" really a acceptable cop-out in this context ? the typical response pulled to that is "because if we don't force people to work for a barely liveable wage things will collapse!", the irony is of course the people who say that wear suits and tie, drive BMW's and only have dim memories of making the ends meet as students, while having "mommy and dadddy" to pull on, but i am digressing here.

i love the fact you brought up the entirely pointless mirage that is the financial services companies, these things are today, marginally useful leeches on the actual economy that causes more destruction than anything else, while adding nothing of real actual value. why do i conclude that ?
try "pulling the cable" on the London Stock Exchange, what was destroyed by that ? did any bridges collapse ? did any factories close ? did anybody die ?

they have their place, but 1/3rd of the economy when it's more or less a unregulated casino consisting mostly of people scamming each other out of imaginary money with the occasional collateral damage of a few hundreds jobs lost here and there ?

don't tell me we cant do without much of that, it makes you look silly, if you want to look at the real actual reason for the "decline" and crisis we face today you need look no further than the increased Financialization of our societies, when shuffling numbers around is more "profitable" than building a factory and building stuff (automated or not) you're doing something very very wrong, it's just such a pity that the numbers shuffled are convertible into money and trough that tremendous influence.

given the right opportunities only a tiny segment of any one group of people make the "i dont want to work" choice, but when the "opportunity" offered is a small fraction above the "dole" then are you honestly going to tell people that say "no, i don't want to work for that" are somehow lazy bums ? and who's "fault" is it that people decline those positions ? the "dole" is normally adjusted to provide a fairly sparse, but acceptable life style (ie, you wont starve) so there's plenty of incentive to work, but if the employer's not willing to pay for the labour, why should they get it?

we have a group of employers here in Denmark who are offering employment below the dole and whining about people not taking it (no minimum wage here) and i cannot honestly bring myself to be annoyed at people declining to apply for those positions, i do greatly enjoy ridiculing those employers in comments when they get a journalist to write a story about it, if you're asking people to work 37 hours a week for a wage so low you can't afford to rent a room somewhere and have food on the table without overtime then you don't get to whine about people not working.





"fatcats" are invariably middle class in the traditional sense - i.e. they work, and work hard, for their money (hard in terms of hours at least).
True upper class is not working and not having to work - i.e. family money.so people like Bill Gates qualified as "middle class" while he was still running microsoft up trough the 90's ? :psyduck:

"fat cat" is the point where you no longer need to work to maintain your living standard, what people then choose to do is up to them, i dont have a problem with the "fat cat" either, as long as he/she/it does not do a "Gina Rinehart" and start abusing the position. and yes, attempting to erode the wages and indirectly the living standards like that is nothing short of fucking disgusting, and qualifies as abuse in my book, "you got lucky by getting the right parents or made this brilliant invention that means you're now rolling in money ? good for you, just dont try to wreck the social framework the rest of us depend on, and pay your fucking taxes like everybody else." pretty much sums up my opinion on that. :)

Well you wont find many people defending Gina Rinehart or her disgusting views.if only that was true, but it's not.
Gina Rinehart puts things on edge by going out and saying what she wants publicly, but try listening to the political rhetoric today, it's all about "we need to work more to compete" "we need to cut these social services to afford tax cuts" "things would be so much better without government intervention" "lets privatize this essential service so it becomes more efficient"

what kind of thinking do you think leads to things like the whole Atos circus ? do you think that's a one off ? or indeed unique to the UK ?





welcome to consumerism mate.

a more patronizing person would point out that the bloke is more or less the victim of one of the greatest crimes perpetrated on the "common folk" in human history, but then we all are to some degree.

This attitude is what I hate most about the left wing. Its so incredibly patronising, so mind-blowingly condescending. "noone is responsible for their poor decisions, noone is to blame for their actions (or inactions) - its all society's fault, brainwashing them". Frankly complete and utter bullshit. People can, do and should escape situations like the one Frug described every day. The fact that his friend does not is his own fault, lack of willpower and poor character.and i detest the "you can bootstrap your way to becoming a billionaire if you just try hard enough!" narrative when it's patently not true, the exceptions prove the rule not the other way around.

for that narrative to have any chance of being true you'd need social equality and we don't have that, even the countries that get as close as you can reasonably get does not have it. (i should know, i live in one)

are people responsible for taking the "wrong education" when the councillor told them it was the right choice at the time ? are people responsible for not having the fortune of being born into a well functioning family ? are you honestly going to argue that it's "Johns fault his dad is a alcoholic and his mother hanged herself when he was 9, and he's a bit fucked up because of that" ?

you can't discount social inequality with a "well work harder, bum!" kind of argument.

as for the guy Frug described, he's disillusioned, the "promised narrative" obviously did not work out (the US is creating a entire generation of these people as we write here), i wager he's got a decent education but no opportunities to use it, combined with the "catching up with the joneses" complex, plenty of "cheap" loans and what have you, it's not surprising some people fall into that trap especially if they have no discipline when it comes to their personal finances. (it's surprisingly hard to deal with when you get to the point where you turn over the pennies to make the ends meet, and that's the only way to really learn it)

Lallante
September 10 2012, 08:51:48 AM
This attitude is what I hate most about the left wing. Its so incredibly patronising, so mind-blowingly condescending. "noone is responsible for their poor decisions, noone is to blame for their actions (or inactions) - its all society's fault, brainwashing them". Frankly complete and utter bullshit. People can, do and should escape situations like the one Frug described every day. The fact that his friend does not is his own fault, lack of willpower and poor character.and i detest the "you can bootstrap your way to becoming a billionaire if you just try hard enough!" narrative when it's patently not true, the exceptions prove the rule not the other way around.
Now who is using false dichotomies? I in no way believe that anyone can bootstap their way to become a billionaire, but I DO believe that anyone able bodied is capable of working a better-than-minimum wage job if they apply themselves and make the necessary changes in their life.


for that narrative to have any chance of being true you'd need social equality and we don't have that, even the countries that get as close as you can reasonably get does not have it. (i should know, i live in one) How can we have social equality while some people are willing to work 50+ hours a week and others refuse to work 30? Surely getting an equal share OUT of society means you need to put equal effort IN?


are people responsible for taking the "wrong education" when the councillor told them it was the right choice at the time ? are people responsible for not having the fortune of being born into a well functioning family ? are you honestly going to argue that it's "Johns fault his dad is a alcoholic and his mother hanged herself when he was 9, and he's a bit fucked up because of that" ?

No, they are responsible for not retraining, not researching themselves and most of all for doing nothing about it when it becomes clear they have no prospects. "John" may not be at fault but "John" does not represent 90% of the people I'm talking about. Your arguement is the perfect analogy of saying "you can't criticise obese people because some of them are only obese because of pituitary gland medical conditions".


you can't discount social inequality with a "well work harder, bum!" kind of argument.
You can in specific instances where the main cause of someone's lack of social equity is their lack of engagement with gaining any.


as for the guy Frug described, he's disillusioned, the "promised narrative" obviously did not work out (the US is creating a entire generation of these people as we write here), i wager he's got a decent education but no opportunities to use it, combined with the "catching up with the joneses" complex, plenty of "cheap" loans and what have you, it's not surprising some people fall into that trap especially if they have no discipline when it comes to their personal finances. (it's surprisingly hard to deal with when you get to the point where you turn over the pennies to make the ends meet, and that's the only way to really learn it)

How do you know this? How do you know he isnt just lazy? How do you know he isnt just irresponsible for no good reason? Why is it more likely that his unproductiveness is due to some meta-ennui about the unequal state of society rather than simply because he cant give a fuck because his life is easy enough without having to?

Liare
September 10 2012, 04:35:25 PM
Now who is using false dichotomies? I in no way believe that anyone can bootstap their way to become a billionaire, but I DO believe that anyone able bodied is capable of working a better-than-minimum wage job if they apply themselves and make the necessary changes in their life.hey, you break em out, i break em out. fair is fair, no ?

your opinion is entirely reasonable on the surface, but for it to be true unemployment would have to be near 0%, and it's not, both the UK and Denmark is sitting uncomfortably at around 8% right now, there simply put is not enough employment to the people willing to take it, let alone suitable employment for what people have chosen to educate themselves as, unless you have a magic wand to wave that problem away, your position is going to be inherently unreasonable.

the job market here is anemic to at around 170000 people, with a average of 5000 jobs changing hands every month, that's new positions, and rehires, it's my understanding that the UK is looking at similar figures in terms of proportions, if a bit more dire.


How can we have social equality while some people are willing to work 50+ hours a week and others refuse to work 30? Surely getting an equal share OUT of society means you need to put equal effort IN?social equality starts at a even footing at the first steps of life, not at your contributions to society. otherwise you are implying that a engineering graduate adds just as much value to society as a street sweeper, and that's patently untrue, well unless all he can get in terms of jobs is as a street sweeper. :) (only then, he's a net drain on society from the purely economic standpoint, but that's a different discussion all together)


No, they are responsible for not retraining, not researching themselves and most of all for doing nothing about it when it becomes clear they have no prospects. "John" may not be at fault but "John" does not represent 90% of the people I'm talking about. Your arguement is the perfect analogy of saying "you can't criticise obese people because some of them are only obese because of pituitary gland medical conditions".so your answer to all the graduates that get dumped into a severely pressed job market with noticeably less jobs than applicants is "retain to something useful!" ?

i dont think you quite see the scale of the problems we face Lallante, when you got engineering students (ie. the hard stuff in university, with relatively low attraction but traditionally fairly high demand in the job market) graduating with top grades walking into months and months of unemployment being eventually being so lucky they manage to find a minimum wage job at a local Mcdonalds it's not just something you can "retrain away" or simply assign the blame to the people unfortunate enough to be unemployed and say "that's that!" its a real structural problem with the potential to blow up if/when the euro deigns to collapse.

even the "retrain to something useful!" argument is tenable at best, the IT sector that has consistently been growing for the last ten years is flooded with people that have decided to retrain in that direction, i know consulting companies numbering no more than 20 people total who are getting in excess of 100 unsolicited applications, on a weekly basis, while just having enough orders to make the ends meet without downsizing.


How do you know this? How do you know he isnt just lazy? How do you know he isnt just irresponsible for no good reason? Why is it more likely that his unproductiveness is due to some meta-ennui about the unequal state of society rather than simply because he cant give a fuck because his life is easy enough without having to? i dont and i was hoping for Frug to expand a bit more on the situation if he's willing to do so, what makes you assume he's just a lazy bum unwilling to bootstrap his way to a minimum wage job in the local McDonalds ?

but there's plenty of people like him, so the real question is what would you do about it ? cut his benefits ?

as for your negrep, let's quote it and reply. (if only because i find it a interesting discussion)

Investment banking is a small fraction of what constitutes "financial services". Your views read like talking points from a socialist workers pampletit may be a relatively small fraction dedicated to the destruction of what the rest of us happen to live off but i challenge you to deny the effects it has produced.

here's a small picture taken from Der Spiegel.
http://cdn2.spiegel.de/images/image-251299-galleryV9-uopg.jpg
and those bubbles have not grown smaller the last two years. (here's the source (http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/out-of-control-the-destructive-power-of-the-financial-markets-a-781590.html))

my post might read like a "socialist pamphlet" but why not go out of your way to disprove it, or argue your opposing viewpoint then ? heck the topic is fitting enough given that the working class is a inherently Marxist concept, so do go on.

Frug
September 10 2012, 04:42:31 PM
I get what you are saying Frug but I dont really understand why we should feel sympathy for your friend - to me it seems like he is a fuckup because of his own ongoing poor decisions.

Maybe it's because my degree was psych, or maybe because I'm inclined to be sympathetic towards people and that makes me biased (not likely), or just because he's my friend and I've seen first hand the shit he's been though, but here's an analogy to illustrate why it is I don't feel about him the same way you do: Recall your experience in the rape jokes thread, and imagine your beliefs prior to meeting someone who introduced you to the reality of her experience. It's really easy to tell someone to overcome their mental hurdles, but that doesn't mean it's easy for them to do it, or even that they can do it without a helping hand.

It's something that comes up whenever you talk about changing a person's behavior. There is an apparent contradiction between the concept of free will and being a slave to your own psyche. How you pick and choose when to be sympathetic towards people versus blaming them for their shortcomings is going to be based on a lot of personal bias.

A false dichotomy between blaming everyone for not doing what they should be doing or dismissing all bad behavior and removing personal responsibility is hard to avoid. I think he's responsible and needs to put effort into changing his life, but I also think it's unreasonable to expect that without significant intervention.

I met up with him over the weekend. He complained about how he just bought diablo 3 and how it sucks. I yelled at him that the reason I didn't buy it is because I didn't have the money and neither did he. He gave a blank stare but I hope he got the message.

ValorousBob
September 10 2012, 06:02:00 PM
Quote from page 1, but I thought it was interesting.



The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore (the 5% being illegal immigrants with no family network, and to a certain degree the homeless). Even an unemployed person with no savings has the bare essentials and even a few luxuries available to them through welfare and social housing.

You basically answered this is in your quote, but doesn't the formation of the modern government safety net make the idea of "working to survive" and by extension the "working class" a completely obsolete concept? As long as you define working class as "working to survive" it makes it technically impossible to have any significant working class in a country with a social safety net.

cheeba
September 11 2012, 03:58:09 PM
relevant article (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/whats-middle-class-job-193336311.html)

kzig
September 11 2012, 07:49:50 PM
As other people have been hinting, it's difficult to agree on whether a partcular class exists without first agreeing on how to define it, or at least what it used to be when it existed. If the old definition no longer makes any sense, then we should come up with a new definition, or perhaps even a whole new classification. I haven't yet seen anyone post a consistent set of historical definitions for lower, middle and upper class, so I'd say we're on rather shaky ground.

Any propositions for modern definitions? Here's my suggestion, in financial terms: Lower class: anyone for whom the interest on a payday loan works out cheaper than the amount they typically end up paying each month in bank charges due to unauthorised overdrafts or bounced cheques (e.g. Ralara, not so long ago). Middle class: people whose tax burden mostly consists of income taxes. Upper class: anyone for whom it is more tax-efficient to avoid being paid a salary.

Lallante
September 12 2012, 08:14:09 AM
I get what you are saying Frug but I dont really understand why we should feel sympathy for your friend - to me it seems like he is a fuckup because of his own ongoing poor decisions.

Maybe it's because my degree was psych, or maybe because I'm inclined to be sympathetic towards people and that makes me biased (not likely), or just because he's my friend and I've seen first hand the shit he's been though, but here's an analogy to illustrate why it is I don't feel about him the same way you do: Recall your experience in the rape jokes thread, and imagine your beliefs prior to meeting someone who introduced you to the reality of her experience. It's really easy to tell someone to overcome their mental hurdles, but that doesn't mean it's easy for them to do it, or even that they can do it without a helping hand.

It's something that comes up whenever you talk about changing a person's behavior. There is an apparent contradiction between the concept of free will and being a slave to your own psyche. How you pick and choose when to be sympathetic towards people versus blaming them for their shortcomings is going to be based on a lot of personal bias.

A false dichotomy between blaming everyone for not doing what they should be doing or dismissing all bad behavior and removing personal responsibility is hard to avoid. I think he's responsible and needs to put effort into changing his life, but I also think it's unreasonable to expect that without significant intervention.

I met up with him over the weekend. He complained about how he just bought diablo 3 and how it sucks. I yelled at him that the reason I didn't buy it is because I didn't have the money and neither did he. He gave a blank stare but I hope he got the message.

I dont really understand how you can seperate "him" and "his psyche" in this way. So his psyche (i.e. irresponsibility, inability to rationally plan etc) is responsible for him throwing money away on shit like Diablo 3 but "he" is not to blame for this nor can he be expected to change his attitude towards such things?

Don't confuse "not expecting" improvement because you know he doesnt care enough to change with "not expecting" improvement because change is too difficult to do alone. The former is entirely his fault, the latter justifies the view you have on intervention. But you can't change at all unless you want to and it doesnt sound like he wants to.

Lallante
September 12 2012, 08:29:24 AM
your opinion is entirely reasonable on the surface, but for it to be true unemployment would have to be near 0%, and it's not, both the UK and Denmark is sitting uncomfortably at around 8% right now, there simply put is not enough employment to the people willing to take it, let alone suitable employment for what people have chosen to educate themselves as, unless you have a magic wand to wave that problem away, your position is going to be inherently unreasonable.

the job market here is anemic to at around 170000 people, with a average of 5000 jobs changing hands every month, that's new positions, and rehires, it's my understanding that the UK is looking at similar figures in terms of proportions, if a bit more dire.
The relevant measure is long term unemployment not the absolute proportion of unemployed as the latter includes structural, cyclical and natural unemployment. Whats interesting is that even in the UK with reasonably high unemployment there are many sectors which dont have enough people going into them (*like plumbing). Plenty of people are doing pointless degrees or not bothering to train at all and then wondering why they cant get jobs in their chosen field (e.g. computer games design). The remaining unemployed are victims of the downturn, and hopefully will get the jobs they need when things pick up or the government realises some stimulus is needed.


social equality starts at a even footing at the first steps of life, not at your contributions to society. otherwise you are implying that a engineering graduate adds just as much value to society as a street sweeper, and that's patently untrue, well unless all he can get in terms of jobs is as a street sweeper. :) (only then, he's a net drain on society from the purely economic standpoint, but that's a different discussion all together)
I said the same effort, not the same value. I agree that an even footing is necessary but an even footing ALSO implies an equal attitude is needed to get the same social equity output. A level playing fiueld will still result in unequal results if only one "player" is willing to make the nececessary effort to "play".


so your answer to all the graduates that get dumped into a severely pressed job market with noticeably less jobs than applicants is "retain to something useful!" ?
Yes, or wait out the recession, whichever they think is more sensible.


i dont think you quite see the scale of the problems we face Lallante, when you got engineering students (ie. the hard stuff in university, with relatively low attraction but traditionally fairly high demand in the job market) graduating with top grades walking into months and months of unemployment being eventually being so lucky they manage to find a minimum wage job at a local Mcdonalds it's not just something you can "retrain away" or simply assign the blame to the people unfortunate enough to be unemployed and say "that's that!" its a real structural problem with the potential to blow up if/when the euro deigns to collapse.
I dont know the situation in your country, but in the UK engineering graduates are in very high demand still and are not struggling to find work (autistic anti-socials aside). This also applies to science grads.


even the "retrain to something useful!" argument is tenable at best, the IT sector that has consistently been growing for the last ten years is flooded with people that have decided to retrain in that direction, i know consulting companies numbering no more than 20 people total who are getting in excess of 100 unsolicited applications, on a weekly basis, while just having enough orders to make the ends meet without downsizing.
I dont really see your argument here. The fact that the IT sector is growing means jobs are being cvreated, so retraining towards it is, prima facie, sensible.


i dont and i was hoping for Frug to expand a bit more on the situation if he's willing to do so, what makes you assume he's just a lazy bum unwilling to bootstrap his way to a minimum wage job in the local McDonalds ?
From what frug has written that much seems pretty obvious. Applying Occam's razor isnt entirely unreasonable here. If someone able bodied with no money refuses to even try to get a job, they are much more likely to be lazy than they are to be making some complex spiritual protest about the inequity of society.


but there's plenty of people like him, so the real question is what would you do about it ? cut his benefits ?



it may be a relatively small fraction dedicated to the destruction of what the rest of us happen to live off but i challenge you to deny the effects it has produced.

here's a small picture taken from Der Spiegel.
Ok so you seem to have forgotten the context of the comment you made that I was repping. You were saying "fuck all financial services because of casino banking". I replied that investment banking is a small proportion of financial services so your argument doesnt follow. Demonstrating how significant, financially, that small proportion is, is utterly irrelevant - your criticism of financial services doesnt apply to most financial services.



my post might read like a "socialist pamphlet" but why not go out of your way to disprove it, or argue your opposing viewpoint then ? heck the topic is fitting enough given that the working class is a inherently Marxist concept, so do go on.

By pamphlet I mean you just repeat talking points, like the one above about banking, but sometimes (this last post aside) they dont really engage with the argument they are targetted at.

Tafkat
September 12 2012, 08:34:55 AM
This style of
Cutting people's posts up into little chunks and then


replying to them piece by piece
is hugely annoying to read, makes for bad nitpicky debate/discussion


and is generally shit. Please don't do it.

Phrixus Zephyr
September 12 2012, 11:56:32 AM
The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore.
You're so out of touch with reality it's laughable.

Lallante
September 12 2012, 12:00:25 PM
The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore.
You're so out of touch with reality it's laughable.

Actually I do a lot of pro bono and volunteering in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK.

Dark Flare
September 12 2012, 12:01:47 PM
The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore.
You're so out of touch with reality it's laughable.

Are you insisting that more than 5% of the population has to work just to survive?

I know definitions of what's needed to "survive" have changed lately to include bullshit like televisions, but seriously?

NoirAvlaa
September 12 2012, 12:04:14 PM
The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore.
You're so out of touch with reality it's laughable.

Actually I do a lot of pro bono and volunteering in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK.

How do you fit that in with your 80 hour weeks at minimum wage?

Phrixus Zephyr
September 12 2012, 12:37:37 PM
The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore.
You're so out of touch with reality it's laughable.
Actually I do a lot of pro bono and volunteering in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK.
That explains a lot if your only two interactions with the rest of the country are your own life style and one of the poorest estates in the country.

According to your first post anyone who owns their own business (regardless of what it is or how successful is it) or is on a salary (regardless of how much it pays or what the job is) or went to University (regardless of the course, how they did or what they are doing now) is at the very least middle class and everyone else is 'underclass' because they probably don't work anyway.

How can i engage in a discussion if your view is so detached from the reality of how people live in this country?

Dark Flare
September 12 2012, 12:40:17 PM
How can i engage in a discussion if your view is so detached from the reality of how people live in this country?

By discussing what you believe is the reality of life in the country and how it affects the class system, rather than name calling.

Tafkat
September 12 2012, 12:46:37 PM
What do you mean exactly when you say people don't work just to survive? That most people in the country aren't on the breadline and living paycheck to paycheck?

Lallante
September 12 2012, 05:23:24 PM
The point that you singularly fail to engage with is that in the UK at least, "working to survive" doesn't really exist for 95% of the population anymore.
You're so out of touch with reality it's laughable.

Actually I do a lot of pro bono and volunteering in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK.

How do you fit that in with your 80 hour weeks at minimum wage?

With difficulty, honestly. It helps that I live within walking distance of work and my work lets me take time out during the day to go do pro bono work provided it doesnt interfere with my normal work.

Lallante
September 12 2012, 05:25:50 PM
What do you mean exactly when you say people don't work just to survive? That most people in the country aren't on the breadline and living paycheck to paycheck?

I "live paycheck to paycheck" in that I start running out of money just before my next paycheck, so I dont mean that, but I do mean that most people aren't struggling to feed their family.

Zeekar
September 12 2012, 06:44:49 PM
What do you mean exactly when you say people don't work just to survive? That most people in the country aren't on the breadline and living paycheck to paycheck?

I "live paycheck to paycheck" in that I start running out of money just before my next paycheck, so I dont mean that, but I do mean that most people aren't struggling to feed their family.

Paycheck to paycheck is struggling to survive. You cant save money, and if you lose your job how will you feed your family?

Frug
September 12 2012, 07:11:55 PM
Incoming blob




I dont really understand how you can seperate "him" and "his psyche" in this way. So his psyche (i.e. irresponsibility, inability to rationally plan etc) is responsible for him throwing money away on shit like Diablo 3 but "he" is not to blame for this nor can he be expected to change his attitude towards such things?

You either really don't understand the issue or are intentionally being obtuse. Anyway, you shouldn't talk about blame because blame is different than understanding and, in the end, you can always blame an individual for his own behavior so it says very little and is equivalent to the whole 'boostraps' argument. Finding one thing to blame is creating a binary situation that doesn't exist in reality. There are issues that arise when we discuss free will and the implications of your saying that people should alter their behavior because you believe they can.

I can be lazy when it comes to explaining things I think people are not trying to explain themselves. So all I'll say is that your female friend should get over her problem with rape and stop being such a whiny babby about her psychological issues. In a past thread you had to deal with other people telling you she should just "get over it" while you valiantly attempted to argue that it doesn't work that way. Now you're saying you don't understand what I mean when I say an individual can be a slave to his psyche. I'll leave it to you to sort that out. If you assume a person who lives in poor conditions with few luxuries and frequent adverse effects due to their poverty does "care" quite a bit, I think you'd be right more often than not.


Don't confuse "not expecting" improvement because you know he doesnt care enough to change with "not expecting" improvement because change is too difficult to do alone. The former is entirely his fault, the latter justifies the view you have on intervention. But you can't change at all unless you want to and it doesnt sound like he wants to.
If you think the primary explanation for someone not altering their behavior is that they "don't care enough to change" based on what I said, or that people like him generally "don't want to change", your view of other human beings is sadly simplistic. Indeed, you tell Laire that you think it's obvious when I in no way attempted to convey that he didn't care, nor did I say he was continually unemployed. I suspect you're assmuming this because it's easier to support your opinion. In any case, this would need to go into a discussion on psychology and in order to that in a valuable fashion, you would need a much more encompassing view of how people's minds work and how that interacts with motivation. Namely the assumption that people who are in a shitty state of affairs and make decisions you view as irrationally self destructive can be explained away as "lazy" and "don't care" is often wrong. People have a way of caring about themselves but explaining their own circumstances differently than you do. I believe this is what Laire is trying to say when he says "you assume he's just a lazy bum unwilling to bootstrap his way to a minimum wage job in the local McDonalds".

Occam's razor is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands. In this case you've apparently used it to assume he's never had or tried to get work. Your false alternative that he might be "making some complex spiritual protest about the inequity of society" is, to be blunt, a pathetic straw man you've pulled out of your ass. If you go back and read what I said, you'll find half the things you've said about him are your own fabrications to play into a convenient narrative. It's as if I described someone as having short hair, and you've gone and written a thesis on why his tall stature, blonde hair and blue eyes lead him to be a skinhead and therefore a douchebag.

Sufficed to say I honestly can't do anything at all with a black and white view like "he doesn't care, and his psyche is him so hold him responsible for his own actions". I can quote myself though.

A false dichotomy between blaming everyone for not doing what they should be doing or dismissing all bad behavior and removing personal responsibility is hard to avoid.
and

How you pick and choose when to be sympathetic towards people versus blaming them for their shortcomings is going to be based on a lot of personal bias.

So I acknowledge it's a difficult topic. What I don't acknowledge is your honest desire to understand it.


i dont and i was hoping for Frug to expand a bit more on the situation if he's willing to do so
Sorry I missed this, but I could write an article about it. Actually I struggle to explain his behavior with any amount of brevity. Like most things involving people, it becomes enormously complex and as a case study requires a fair amount of insight. Having known the individual in question for several years, it took me at least a few years to even see that he was the source of (most of) his misfortunes because - and this is something most well adjusted people do very well - he rationalized things in terms of laying blame outward. Like most things in life, even the objective source of his issues are muddled with complexity because some things are circumstantially bad luck, or only half his fault.

To try and sort it out, I think you have a number of angles when you want to explain someone's behavior on this topic because it's a long term (protracted) issue that involves repeated decisions on his part. You have his physiological makeup (his brain, including predisposition to any psychological conditions), his motivations, his willpower and patience, his ability to project into the future with clarity, how his environment has influenced all of these along with what he's been taught.

He has a lot of things going against him, and what he doesn't have is support working for him. The most broad explanation to encompass what I believe his current condition is, is Learned Helplessness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness) reinforced by his desire not to view himself as useless or stupid. It's combined with things like his lack of faith in his own ability to achieve long term goals, a lack of forsight, a bit of predisposition to alcoholism (that many people have).

I started going into more detail and then deleted it. I have specifics but all of it gets lengthy. Sufficed to say, the suggestion that he doesn't care or is simply lazy is naive. Indeed he works like a fucking horse when he has a construction contract. I would not describe him as lazy and never did. Foolish, yes. Willing to work? Yes, but he needs his hand held and proper guidance. The kind of thing your parents probably gave you which his never did.

Lallante
September 12 2012, 07:27:46 PM
What do you mean exactly when you say people don't work just to survive? That most people in the country aren't on the breadline and living paycheck to paycheck?

I "live paycheck to paycheck" in that I start running out of money just before my next paycheck, so I dont mean that, but I do mean that most people aren't struggling to feed their family.

Paycheck to paycheck is struggling to survive. You cant save money, and if you lose your job how will you feed your family?

Welfare! Thats the whole point.

Lallante
September 12 2012, 07:34:19 PM
Frug - why should any of the factors you've described wrt your friend justify society supporting him with handouts? Isnt that what this thread is fundamentally about? If the answer is "it doesnt" or "it shouldnt", what did you bring him up for? To give an example of a waster?

whispous
September 12 2012, 07:34:41 PM
Just thought i'd comment on the chatter from the beginning of this thread and say the classes that exist now are just like fast food:

Medium, Large and Extra large. No small!

Zeekar
September 12 2012, 07:50:29 PM
What do you mean exactly when you say people don't work just to survive? That most people in the country aren't on the breadline and living paycheck to paycheck?

I "live paycheck to paycheck" in that I start running out of money just before my next paycheck, so I dont mean that, but I do mean that most people aren't struggling to feed their family.

Paycheck to paycheck is struggling to survive. You cant save money, and if you lose your job how will you feed your family?

Welfare! Thats the whole point.

Maybe for you. Here you cant really survive on welfare.

Phrixus Zephyr
September 13 2012, 04:45:22 AM
How can i engage in a discussion if your view is so detached from the reality of how people live in this country?
By discussing what you believe is the reality of life in the country and how it affects the class system, rather than name calling.
What i believe? I grew up with a single parent who was never there because she was working the whole time to make sure i had something to eat and had somewhere to live. I spent more time at child minders than i did anywhere else and there was no other family members near by. I could tell you that as a result, when it came to school i had a massive chip on my shoulder about being told what to do, but i bet money someone will say "well if you just had an epiphany, got over it and knuckled down.." We didn't have cable or sky. We didn't have holidays. New toys, clothes and expensive presents at christmas and birthdays were something other kids got. I had literally no one tell me how to survive on my own in the real world and no support to fall back on when i fucked it up inside of two years. So when someone says we were either 'middle class' because my mother was on a salary and could afford a TV license or were an 'underclass' because we 'probably don't work anyway', it's insulting and they can go fuck themselves.

The funny thing is, whenever my immediate group of friends gets into a discussion on this subject, it's always the same person who doesn't quite seem to understand the advantage that a comfortable upbringing gives you and pulls out the bootstrap argument. Or is totally oblivious to all the people in the gap between "living on benefits, likes to riot" and "2.4 children, owns their own house and two cars." It's the girl who came from the most money.

Smuggo
September 13 2012, 10:00:03 AM
The problem with this discussion is that it's focussing on lots of flawed assumptions made in the OP.

Living on the breadline =/= working class

Working class is being in a lower-tier job, usually with a limited skill set and poor education. There are a fuckton of people in that situation in the UK today.

Just because you went to university, doesn't mean you got a good education and it has been argued at length elsewhere that universities are often providing sub-standard courses.

Equally, just because you have a low-tier job or limited skills, doesn't mean you can't afford to have a TV or go on a cheap package holiday to Majorca.

Lallante seems to have gotten confused and is arguing about absolute and relative poverty rather than social class.

Lallante
September 13 2012, 10:12:17 AM
The problem with this discussion is that it's focussing on lots of flawed assumptions made in the OP.

Living on the breadline =/= working class

Working class is being in a lower-tier job, usually with a limited skill set and poor education. There are a fuckton of people in that situation in the UK today.

Just because you went to university, doesn't mean you got a good education and it has been argued at length elsewhere that universities are often providing sub-standard courses.

Equally, just because you have a low-tier job or limited skills, doesn't mean you can't afford to have a TV or go on a cheap package holiday to Majorca.

Lallante seems to have gotten confused and is arguing about absolute and relative poverty rather than social class.

For once you might be right, at least in that to an extent this all comes down to the semantics of what makes someone "working class".

The wider points about personal responsibility vs a good society's obligations to its members still remain though. My view remains - highly generous but sensibly tested disability and old age benefits, generous non-cash benefits (e.g. training, financial assistance with relocating etc) but a rapidly decreasing cash allowance for those seeking work. No cash benefits for those who are capable of work but choose not to seek it in the long term (perhaps still giving them subsistence food and housing vouchers).

It shouldnt be a chooseable option to live permenantly out of work on benefits with no reason.

Tafkat
September 13 2012, 10:13:11 AM
Any discussion of class is going to be complicated by the fact that there's no real consensus on what class even means, never mind how individual classes are defined. However, I think it's self evident that any class label that would lump Bob Diamond in with both a mid-level manager at a medium-sized business and a minimum wage cashier at Barclays is so broad and all-encompassing as to be effectively useless. It's true that the 19th century British class system isn't especially relevant today, but that's not the same as saying that we're all middle class now or that everyone with any kind of employment has the same interests and socioeconomic capital.

Frug
September 13 2012, 03:40:19 PM
Frug - why should any of the factors you've described wrt your friend justify society supporting him with handouts? Isnt that what this thread is fundamentally about? If the answer is "it doesnt" or "it shouldnt", what did you bring him up for? To give an example of a waster?

I just wanted to give a more fair example of someone who is guilty of being foolishly wasteful. You jumped on that by offloading a bunch of preconceived notions about him without any prodding from me. He doesn't pidgeonhole nearly as well as you assumed and most other people won't either. It's not right to preach opinions on a problem when you portray the people involved like that.

I'm not against support systems like "handouts" although that term is already loaded. As long as they're coupled with good support structure and genuine work opportunities that treat the recipient with dignity and at least some individual attention, you're doing the best you can do because some people - without being "just lazy" - have problems you may never fix. Sometimes even the most superficially obvious case of a lazy fuckwit getting welfare while having a nicer TV than you do isn't as clear cut as you'd like it to be. In my friend's case, it would be because he got a brief contract job, got paid 1k in the span of a week, bought the TV, and proceeded to live like shit because he can't afford a new pair of pants.

Actually he did this with a fucking rug. He bought a small $200 rug for his apartment because it was "an investment and you don't want some shitty rug forever, right?" His apartment proceeded to get flooded because it was in the basement of a shitty building, and his investment was destroyed after less than two months.

Lallante
September 13 2012, 06:56:45 PM
Frug - why should any of the factors you've described wrt your friend justify society supporting him with handouts? Isnt that what this thread is fundamentally about? If the answer is "it doesnt" or "it shouldnt", what did you bring him up for? To give an example of a waster?

I just wanted to give a more fair example of someone who is guilty of being foolishly wasteful. You jumped on that by offloading a bunch of preconceived notions about him without any prodding from me. He doesn't pidgeonhole nearly as well as you assumed and most other people won't either. It's not right to preach opinions on a problem when you portray the people involved like that.

I'm not against support systems like "handouts" although that term is already loaded. As long as they're coupled with good support structure and genuine work opportunities that treat the recipient with dignity and at least some individual attention, you're doing the best you can do because some people - without being "just lazy" - have problems you may never fix. Sometimes even the most superficially obvious case of a lazy fuckwit getting welfare while having a nicer TV than you do isn't as clear cut as you'd like it to be. In my friend's case, it would be because he got a brief contract job, got paid 1k in the span of a week, bought the TV, and proceeded to live like shit because he can't afford a new pair of pants.

Actually he did this with a fucking rug. He bought a small $200 rug for his apartment because it was "an investment and you don't want some shitty rug forever, right?" His apartment proceeded to get flooded because it was in the basement of a shitty building, and his investment was destroyed after less than two months.

I'm confused, are you arguing that society should keep handing this guy money BECAUSE he keeps wasting it?

Ophichius
September 13 2012, 07:07:56 PM
I'm confused, are you arguing that society should keep handing this guy money BECAUSE he keeps wasting it?

If I understand Frug right, he's arguing that we should have a better support system to teach this guy how to not be an idiot with money and spend more time giving people the skills they need to be fiscally responsible, upstanding adults, while also providing some level of material support so they don't starve/become homeless.

But I may be oversimplifying it.

-O

Frug
September 13 2012, 08:16:39 PM
I'm confused, are you arguing that society should keep handing this guy money BECAUSE he keeps wasting it?

I'm saying that before you discuss how much money, if any, should be provided to guys like him, you need to have a clear understanding of who you're talking about instead of some two-dimensional caricature made to appeal to a narrative. That point is separate from my opinion on what should be done.

The question of "should we give money to lazy fuckwits who don't try to fix their own problems" is significantly different from "should we give money to able bodied people who appear capable of work." In the latter case, the population contains some lazy fuckwits, but your means of identifying the purely selfish assholes from people with the intent to work but other factors hindering their success need to be more accurate.

You're asking me what i think about his case specifically. I'll answer, but don't generalize my opinion of him to conclude I think everyone deserves free money.

Yes he should be given handouts because he's a well intentioned guy and the alternative costs everyone more. He got some money and now no longer requires support because he's managed to find work. If history is any indication, he will eventually lose this job due to misbehavior on his own part and the cycle will start again. He's a human being with a lot of problems, many self inflicted, and he's going to continue to struggle or end up in jail. I spot him my own money and let him sleep on my floor when he needs it for the same reason. I know this guy and he would be in jail before he became a faceless jibbering homeless man pushing a shopping cart down the road. His welfare cheque was significantly less than what arrest + jail would cost taxpayers and I think there are more appropriate government expenditures to go after for savings than a few hundred bucks given to guys like him.

I think our system did pretty well in his case. There were strings attached to his cheque, and the worst performer in all of it was one welfare officer (I think they're called officers?) in particular who never answered her phone and didn't appear to give two shits about him or who she was cutting the cheque to.

Lallante
September 13 2012, 08:37:42 PM
I'm confused, are you arguing that society should keep handing this guy money BECAUSE he keeps wasting it?

I'm saying that before you discuss how much money, if any, should be provided to guys like him, you need to have a clear understanding of who you're talking about instead of some two-dimensional caricature made to appeal to a narrative. That point is separate from my opinion on what should be done.

The question of "should we give money to lazy fuckwits who don't try to fix their own problems" is significantly different from "should we give money to able bodied people who appear capable of work." In the latter case, the population contains some lazy fuckwits, but your means of identifying the purely selfish assholes from people with the intent to work but other factors hindering their success need to be more accurate.

You're asking me what i think about his case specifically. I'll answer, but don't generalize my opinion of him to conclude I think everyone deserves free money.

Yes he should be given handouts because he's a well intentioned guy and the alternative costs everyone more. He got some money and now no longer requires support because he's managed to find work. If history is any indication, he will eventually lose this job due to misbehavior on his own part and the cycle will start again. He's a human being with a lot of problems, many self inflicted, and he's going to continue to struggle or end up in jail. I spot him my own money and let him sleep on my floor when he needs it for the same reason. I know this guy and he would be in jail before he became a faceless jibbering homeless man pushing a shopping cart down the road. His welfare cheque was significantly less than what arrest + jail would cost taxpayers and I think there are more appropriate government expenditures to go after for savings than a few hundred bucks given to guys like him.

I think our system did pretty well in his case. There were strings attached to his cheque, and the worst performer in all of it was one welfare officer (I think they're called officers?) in particular who never answered her phone and didn't appear to give two shits about him or who she was cutting the cheque to.

Ok but none of this is solving his problems is it? Could benefits for someone like him be conditional in attending some financial responsibility training? Is he essentially a lost cause? why?

Frug
September 13 2012, 09:29:40 PM
An individual counselor and some responsibility training would be the best thing for him. I would say mandatory or he wouldn't go unless someone like me pushed him. He's not a lost cause, but I'm the only person in his life who's even remotely close to providing guidance and I don't do a good job of it (mostly because he gets confrontational and I guess I am guilty of squirming out of a proper sit-down with him about it). I imagine a lot of people like him only have friends who reinforce their behavior.

I don't know the details of our system but they are supposed to ensure that you're trying to find work before giving you money. He had to get a letter from me saying that I was letting him stay in my apartment rent-free, and some other bits of proof, before they gave him a cheque. My impression is we could do better providing simple, easy to follow steps and encouragement if he succeeds.

Lallante
September 14 2012, 08:39:30 AM
Thats for sure - the problem is tailoring a system that supports hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people to individual needs is prohibitively expensive. You need "one size fits all" or at least obvious categories to apply solutions too. I'm sure bankrupts get financial responsibility training, but how do you identify people like your friend without needing personal involvement with him?

Tafkat
September 14 2012, 10:52:33 AM
You know, if you want a thread focused on the long term unemployed/underclass and the workings of the welfare state, you should probably go make one rather than starting a thread on a not-really related topic and steering it wildly off course.

Lallante
September 14 2012, 10:56:22 AM
You know, if you want a thread focused on the long term unemployed/underclass and the workings of the welfare state, you should probably go make one rather than starting a thread on a not-really related topic and steering it wildly off course.

How to rehabilitate the underclass is not exactly offtopic in a thread about the disappearance of the working class.

Tafkat
September 14 2012, 11:11:02 AM
You know, if you want a thread focused on the long term unemployed/underclass and the workings of the welfare state, you should probably go make one rather than starting a thread on a not-really related topic and steering it wildly off course.

How to rehabilitate the underclass is not exactly offtopic in a thread about the disappearance of the working class.
I disagree pretty strongly. The underclass and working class have always been separate - c.f. Hogarth's Gin Lane or Marx's distinction between the useful working classes and the lumpenproletariat. While it's certainly true that individuals can move from one group to the other, I don't think that's really relevant on a large scale unless you're talking about very specific areas such as former coal-mining towns in the aftermath of Thatcher or whatnot.

Second, your assertion that the working class has disappeared is pretty sketchy. The environment in which people work has changed, with fewer jobs in manufacturing and more at the bottom rung of the service industry on shitty contracts that only guarantee 10 or 20 hours' work per week but require you to be available for 40+, but their relative income and socioeconomic status/power haven't changed much at all.

Tafkat
September 14 2012, 01:57:24 PM
I'd like to build on my previous post a bit. First, to address this:


What we used to think of as working class, i.e. skilled workers, builders, farmers etc are now all middle class for all intents and purposes.
The occupations you've picked as being representative of traditional working class employment are actually from the very top end of the old-style working class; master craftsmen and farmers have always been well compensated and had comparatively high social standing (especially the latter - the Gentleman Farmer has been A Thing for centuries...). If we replace the occupations you listed with three more common and less prestigious but equally old working class occupations - shop assistants, cleaning ladies, and street sweepers, for example - your assertion immediately becomes ridiculous.

Second, I'd like to contrast your concerns about the exploitation of the welfare state by the underclass with something you said in the austerity thread:

The government signs up shit contracts because it wont pay for good lawyers or financial advisers. I should know, I work against the government on infrastructure projects every day. We can run rings around the government legal teams in the contract drafting and as a result transfer most of the risk of the deal over to the taxpayer.
Apparently, it's terrible when uneducated and unemployed people in tracksuits screw the government and taxpayer for personal gain. When it's being done by well-educated people in nice suits, it seems to be a different matter...

Lallante
September 14 2012, 02:40:31 PM
The occupations you've picked as being representative of traditional working class employment are actually from the very top end of the old-style working class; master craftsmen and farmers have always been well compensated and had comparatively high social standing (especially the latter - the Gentleman Farmer has been A Thing for centuries...). If we replace the occupations you listed with three more common and less prestigious but equally old working class occupations - shop assistants, cleaning ladies, and street sweepers, for example - your assertion immediately becomes ridiculous.

If you define working class as "unskilled labour" then thats an immense narrowing of the category, to people with no specific marketable abilities or experience.



Apparently, it's terrible when uneducated and unemployed people in tracksuits screw the government and taxpayer for personal gain. When it's being done by well-educated people in nice suits, it seems to be a different matter...

When a guy at a market offers you 5 for a DVD you don't say "no sorry its worth closer to 8". If the government is terrible at negotiation thats its problem - it would actually be unethical for our negotiation team to deliberately push for a worse deal just to benefit the government. Also I dont blame welfare scroungers for actually scrounging welfare. I blame them for having no self respect or ambition, and I blame the government for enabling them.

Smuggo
September 14 2012, 02:43:37 PM
The occupations you've picked as being representative of traditional working class employment are actually from the very top end of the old-style working class; master craftsmen and farmers have always been well compensated and had comparatively high social standing (especially the latter - the Gentleman Farmer has been A Thing for centuries...). If we replace the occupations you listed with three more common and less prestigious but equally old working class occupations - shop assistants, cleaning ladies, and street sweepers, for example - your assertion immediately becomes ridiculous.

If you define working class as "unskilled labour" then thats an immense narrowing of the category, to people with no specific marketable abilities or experience.


it's a fairly well accepted definition of working class and isn't really very narrow at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_structure_of_the_United_Kingdom#Working_cla ss

The only difference is that, today, many unskilled people now work behind a desk instead of in a factory or labouring on a farm.

It's a reversal in that much of our modern manufacturing in the developed world is highly skilled work as the repetitive low-skill production line manufacturing work has largely been moved abroad. But it doesn't man there isn't still a working class.

Lallante
September 14 2012, 02:59:36 PM
Here's a question for you - should unskilled workers become skilled, if they can. Is there a moral imperative? Why not?

Smuggo
September 14 2012, 03:05:28 PM
Here's a question for you - should unskilled workers become skilled, if they can. Is there a moral imperative? Why not?

If everyone is skilled then the value of those skills falls. See what has happened with university degrees where supply of graduates now far outstrips demand.

Also, society still needs people to do these unskilled jobs. You still need someone to put products on shelves in shops and you still need someone to empty your bins and so on...

Pattern
September 14 2012, 04:02:01 PM
Have we talked about the economic and social advantages of supporting a welfare state, as opposed to a prison state?

Lallante
September 14 2012, 04:05:27 PM
Here's a question for you - should unskilled workers become skilled, if they can. Is there a moral imperative? Why not?

If everyone is skilled then the value of those skills falls. See what has happened with university degrees where supply of graduates now far outstrips demand.

Also, society still needs people to do these unskilled jobs. You still need someone to put products on shelves in shops and you still need someone to empty your bins and so on...

Your claim that more skilled people means less value is false as a lot of skilled labour added value can be exported. The issue with university graduates is bad courses and bad candidates, not a surplus of good candidates with good courses (there is a shortage of engineering and science grads, even now).

Its quite possible to have a high-tech society with very few unskilled workers. More and more unskilled labour is being automated, and a lot of what remains (your shelf stacking example for instance) is picked up by youth/stopgap employment.

Lallante
September 14 2012, 04:06:47 PM
Have we talked about the economic and social advantages of supporting a welfare state, as opposed to a prison state?

Noone is against the welfare state. Likening wanting to tweak the incentives system within a welfare state to not wanting welfare is like calling criticism of illegal jewish settlement in palestine anti-semitic - its a deliberate attempt to cloud the issue with emotive language to prevent proper discussion.

Smuggo
September 14 2012, 04:13:03 PM
Here's a question for you - should unskilled workers become skilled, if they can. Is there a moral imperative? Why not?

If everyone is skilled then the value of those skills falls. See what has happened with university degrees where supply of graduates now far outstrips demand.

Also, society still needs people to do these unskilled jobs. You still need someone to put products on shelves in shops and you still need someone to empty your bins and so on...

Your claim that more skilled people means less value is false as a lot of skilled labour added value can be exported. The issue with university graduates is bad courses and bad candidates, not a surplus of good candidates with good courses (there is a shortage of engineering and science grads, even now).

Its quite possible to have a high-tech society with very few unskilled workers. More and more unskilled labour is being automated, and a lot of what remains (your shelf stacking example for instance) is picked up by youth/stopgap employment.

Labour and skills work on the same supply and demand balance as everything else, I can't fathom why you think they wouldn't be. If you have lots of chefs then wages for chefs falls because of competition for jobs. If you have lots of engineers then their wages fall for the same reason. Unskilled work is always low wage because there is a much larger pool of potential workers.

It might be possible to have a high-tech society with few unskilled workers but we're miles away from that right now. Even things which can technically be automated frequently aren't done as well as a human being can do them (even one with no skills). Also the large numbers of adults that work in unskilled jobs their whole lives would indicate there is a steady need for this type of work.

Anyway, your OP was that the working class doesn't exist in Britain today, which it clearly does, not at some unspecified time in the future.

Liare
September 14 2012, 04:21:08 PM
been out of the "loop" for a bit, apologies for the late reply and thus old quotes.


The relevant measure is long term unemployment not the absolute proportion of unemployed as the latter includes structural, cyclical and natural unemployment. Whats interesting is that even in the UK with reasonably high unemployment there are many sectors which dont have enough people going into them (*like plumbing). Plenty of people are doing pointless degrees or not bothering to train at all and then wondering why they cant get jobs in their chosen field (e.g. computer games design). The remaining unemployed are victims of the downturn, and hopefully will get the jobs they need when things pick up or the government realises some stimulus is needed.i am having a fair bit of trouble decoding the way ONS (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/september-2012/statistical-bulletin.html) put up those statistics, but long term unemployment here is hovering at almost 40%, that's 18 months unemployed and counting.

of course, the people taking the opportunity to retrain, or just going back to school are not part of that number.


I said the same effort, not the same value. I agree that an even footing is necessary but an even footing ALSO implies an equal attitude is needed to get the same social equity output. A level playing fiueld will still result in unequal results if only one "player" is willing to make the nececessary effort to "play".and who decides what the right "attitude" is then ? or the "necessary" effort ?


I dont really see your argument here. The fact that the IT sector is growing means jobs are being cvreated, so retraining towards it is, prima facie, sensible right up until you realise that there's several times more people looking for a way "in" than there's new openings every year, not that i begrudge people choosing to go "this way" it makes a lot of sense in the long term and it's skills you can apply elsewhere, my point was even the people opting to retrain are walking into exactly the same problem they tried to get away from, the jobs just are not there.


From what frug has written that much seems pretty obvious. Applying Occam's razor isnt entirely unreasonable here. If someone able bodied with no money refuses to even try to get a job, they are much more likely to be lazy than they are to be making some complex spiritual protest about the inequity of society.Occam's razor is not always the right tool, let me ask you something Lallante, have you ever experienced long term unemployment ? 18-24 months or more ?
its surprisingly damaging, your self-esteem suffers from repeated rejections your private economy crashes, your standard of living decline noticably and you may find yourself threatened by becoming homeless as the ends no longer meet, but the biggest effect is that after months and months of looking and finding nothing, you stop caring.

and that's precisely what i am getting at, it's a entirely natural and rational reaction ("The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.") blaming people for that reaction does not help them, nor does telling them to "get your shit together". all you achieve by doing so is to stomp hard on a already sore spot.


Ok so you seem to have forgotten the context of the comment you made that I was repping. You were saying "fuck all financial services because of casino banking". I replied that investment banking is a small proportion of financial services so your argument doesnt follow. Demonstrating how significant, financially, that small proportion is, is utterly irrelevant - your criticism of financial services doesnt apply to most financial services. the "financial services" sector is today, so big that even if it's a small porportion engaged in that kind of behaviour, the sums of money being used for it, and the results are not "utterly irrelevant".

and that's before we get into morally reprehensible things like speculating in the price of food and the results as we saw in 2008, but hey poors starving to death are somebody else's problem, right ?


The wider points about personal responsibility vs a good society's obligations to its members still remain though. My view remains - highly generous but sensibly tested disability and old age benefits, generous non-cash benefits (e.g. training, financial assistance with relocating etc) but a rapidly decreasing cash allowance for those seeking work. No cash benefits for those who are capable of work but choose not to seek it in the long term (perhaps still giving them subsistence food and housing vouchers).

It shouldnt be a chooseable option to live permenantly out of work on benefits with no reason.reasonable, on the surface.
until you factor in things like this, try adding Spain to that chart and see how it's really done. (http://www.google.dk/publicdata/explore?ds=z8o7pt6rd5uqa6_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=country:dk&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&dl=en&hl=en&q=unemployment+denmark#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=unemployment_rate&fdim_y=age_group:y_lt25&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country_group&idim=country:dk:uk&ifdim=country_group&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false)

the number of people who go into life with a ambition of doing nothing but living off benefits is so vanishingly small that it's hardly worth mentioning, and the few that do represent a massive failure on the part of both the parents and the educational system itself.

the problem is especially with decreasing the "cash allowance" the longer you are unemployed, is that people's economic situation deteriorate the further they get from the job market something like that is just going to push people over the edge, and where does it stop ? when a family of four is forced to share a 30m3 apartment with a communal shower ?

and who actively chooses not to work ? i have never met anybody like that and while i do not doubt they may exist it's still a tiny proportion of the people who have to rely on benefits to make the ends meet, i know a number of people who think it's unlikely they will ever get a job, either trough some criminal conviction or disability, but that does not mean that the "job centre" is not dragging them trough the same pointless, dehumanising bureaucratic circus as everybody else.


If everyone is skilled then the value of those skills falls. See what has happened with university degrees where supply of graduates now far outstrips demand.

Also, society still needs people to do these unskilled jobs. You still need someone to put products on shelves in shops and you still need someone to empty your bins and so on...i think you will find that your garbage man is not only surprisingly well paid, but also expected to know a fair bit about garbage sorting and so forth, though it's thankfully one of the professions where the training is done on the job. (i got a dad that spend the last ten years working at a waste management facility, managing the furnaces where a lot of the garbage ended up being turned into central heating, so i know a bit about it indirectly)


Your claim that more skilled people means less value is false as a lot of skilled labour added value can be exported. The issue with university graduates is bad courses and bad candidates, not a surplus of good candidates with good courses (there is a shortage of engineering and science grads, even now).

Its quite possible to have a high-tech society with very few unskilled workers. More and more unskilled labour is being automated, and a lot of what remains (your shelf stacking example for instance) is picked up by youth/stopgap employment.that's simply not true Lallante.

employment is subject to the laws of supply and demand, add more skilled workers -> wages go down, the IT sector is a brilliant example of this, with stagnating or even declining wage levels while the sector itself is still growing.

smuggo
September 14 2012, 05:34:35 PM
Caveat: I'm drunk.

Spoilered because srs bsns but raises a semi serious point IMHO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtdQfHL53wg

As far as the UK goes despite some of the massive inequalities in this country there's still multiple avenues for most people to apply some 'bootstraps' and do well for themselves. Obviously not everyone can be Alan Sugar or Bill Gates but there are ample opportunities for people with 'nothing' to do well for themselves. There are always going to be those who are victims of circumstance or breeding who are going to be stuck in their place.

These days I'd define the working class as those who are in an unskilled/semi skilled job and through lack of relevant education and/or ambition (or just through sheer bad luck) are unable or unlikely to progress from their role. Some of these jobs may pay above minimum wage and/or require you to wear a collar and tie.

Likewise there are many jobs which I would consider 'middle class' and many wouldn't which are looked down on by a lot of society but require a substantial skillset in terms of education and character and offer the possibility of further academic and professional development. Just because you come home from work covered in cow shit or grease doesn't make you working class.

What I do think needs to happen is a shift away from the current obsession with getting bums on seats in universities and preaching that a degree is the be all and end all. It's ultimately damaging people and the economy. University used to be the option for those who were both clever and academically minded. The traditional apprenticeship is now touted as an option for 'the lower third' rather than the 'middle third', and I think that's going to seriously hit this country within the next five years or so.

[anecdotal evidence] Having been spat out of the school system eight years ago with a place at university and promises of graduates earning 1X more per year than non grads (not that I graduated from either of the actually very good institutions of higher education that I attended in between my various adventures for the Queen), I'm now on a training scheme run by a (rather large) local employer which straight up offers a good degree studied for part time (3 years for a FdSc with the option to do another 2 years to get a BEng ), fucking good experience and more importantly a decent wage (won't go into specifics but it's VERY good after the 3 years and reasonable before then). The target group is locals leaving sixth form (those leaving school at 18), mainly because they were/are having difficulties with graduate retention (because West Cumbria is shit). Yet local Sixth form colleges and schools are unwilling to let my firm advertise it (because they're getting funding and kudos for the people they send directly to university), which, I daresay leads to a drop in the quality of candidates, although I'm told there was a 50% increase in applications this year with the increase in tuition fees. Which of course is another issue (I don't agree with the revised fee system but I do think it's still reasonably fair, in fact more fair for those from lower income families than in previous years).

As far as Lall's comments go about those in the banking/law sector go. I'm pretty sure I've got the intellect and ability to be a high speed low drag banker/lawyer I really wouldn't want to do it as a profession. One of the officers I knew very well in Afghan was a chap who'd been to a good school, got a well paid job in the city and jacked it all in to play soldiers. Despite being responsible for the lives of several dozen people in a very hostile environment he said he found it infinitely less stressful than working in 'the city'.

Pattern
September 14 2012, 06:39:20 PM
What I do think needs to happen is a shift away from the current obsession with getting bums on seats in universities and preaching that a degree is the be all and end all. It's ultimately damaging people and the economy. University used to be the option for those who were both clever and academically minded.

Meanwhile, in reality:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/9542312/Third-of-Britains-elite-universities-still-looking-for-students.html


Seven out of 24 institutions in the elite Russell Group are still advertising vacancies on more than 1,000 courses days before the start of the academic year.
Thirty thousand fewer students have secured places on courses this summer compared with last year, increasing suspicions that 9,000-a-year tuition fees have put off many school-leavers.
Despite the unexpectedly high level of vacancies for British students, places are likely to go unfilled because fewer pupils have achieved the entry requirements for leading universities.
One Russell Group university, Queen Mary, University of London, was yesterday advertising spaces on 178 of its 194 courses that are available through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

RELATED ARTICLES
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Superhead suspended in school finances probe 14 Sep 2012
Foreign students to be marked out in immigration figures 13 Sep 2012
Speak up about the enemies of promise 13 Sep 2012
Sheffield University had places to spare on 257 of its 326 courses, including English literature and law. Exeter was yet to fill 191 out
of 316, including psychology and classics.

Overall demand for university places is down by seven per cent on last year, with many blaming the new higher fees. Leading universities have also been hit by a decline in the number of teenagers gaining good A-level grades following a drive to make exams harder. David Willetts, the universities minister, said that this summer there was a fall of 5,000 in the number of pupils believed to have gained at least two As and a B, the threshold for many courses at leading institutions.
If the places are not filled, some universities could suffer multi-million-pound losses.
Lecturers’ leaders warned that the decline represented a rejection of the new fees regime, which has seen the price of courses almost treble at some universities.
Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “Fewer students at UK universities this year represents the predictable failure of the Government’s attempt to create an artificial market for the most highly-qualified students.
“The minister’s recognition that higher tuition fees forced a scramble for places last year highlights the unfair nature of this Government’s hike in fees. At a time of high unemployment, we should be making it easier for people to get to university, not pricing them out.”

Mr Willetts said evidence from previous higher education reforms showed that “individual institutions can face a temporary jolt when changes like this are introduced”, with students applying early to get around the fees increase.
This will lead to declines in entry rates at some institutions, creating “real pressures”, he said. Speaking at the Universities UK annual conference at Keele University, the minister said: “I think we are likely to see fewer students going to university this year because last year’s figure was partly artificially inflated by fewer people taking a gap year. But I still think we will have very high numbers of students going to university.”

Universities have been given greater freedom to take unlimited numbers of students with at least AAB at A-level. Previously the Government operated strict controls on all student places, threatening universities with fines if they over-recruited. The move was designed to create more competition between institutions and free up places for the brightest students.
But a decline in the number of teenagers gaining top grades has actually led to some leading universities facing shortages.
Mr Willetts said that 80,000 students gained AAB, compared with a previous prediction of 85,000.
The decline in applications can also be put down to a fall in the number of 18-year-olds in the education system over recent years.
Figures from Ucas showed that the number of students who accepted places at English universities by Sept 11 was down by 30,076 on last year.
There were 26,997 courses with vacancies in clearing, and eligible candidates have until Sept 20 to apply. Some 642,654 people applied to study this year, compared with 692,358 last year.

In a separate disclosure, Times Higher Education magazine carried out an anonymous survey of universities to find out how many students with grades of AAB had been admitted.

One Russell Group university said it was 500 short of predictions, while three others were down by 400, 260 and 160. Another “less selective” university said student numbers were down by 700.

With average annual tuition fees estimated at 8,123, it is believed universities could be facing a 700 million loss of funding over three years.

Wendy Piatt, the directo- general of the Russell Group, criticised the Government’s decision to award more places to cheaper universities.

“The first year of the new funding system was always going to be challenging and uncertain. But the Government’s core and margin policy of re-distributing places, largely on the basis of lower fees, meant universities had fewer places to offer to students with grades below AAB and this has had a knock-on impact.

“We have consistently argued this policy of giving more places to institutions charging lower fees would neither improve quality nor enhance student choice.

“If universities couldn’t recruit enough high-calibre students they risked losing funding but if they recruited too many students with grades ABB or below they risked substantial fines. The difficult choices faced by admissions departments this year means students who wanted to attend a leading university and had the right qualifications have not been able to even though those universities wanted to accept them.”

Mr Willetts said: “Different institutions will have been affected differently; that is inevitable when making significant changes, which are intended to take greater account of student choice.”

Tafkat
September 14 2012, 07:22:25 PM
Lall -

I'm not "narrowing" the definition of the working class (I explicitly included highly skilled craftsmen!) at all. I'm pointing out that unskilled workers are (a) unambiguously working class under the old definition, (b) certainly not either middle class or members of the underclass by any new definition I am aware of, and (c) very much still with us. It therefore seems trivially true that the working class still exists and that your position in the OP is pretty wide of the mark.

As for your analogy with the guy in the market offering you a cheap DVD, I don't think it's very good. After all, he probably has his reasons for selling it below normal market value in a venue where only cash transactions are possible. In other words, he probably has a full understanding of what's going on, what he's doing, and of what both parties stand to gain and lose from the transaction. From the way you make things sound, the situation when you're negotiating with the taxpayer is more akin to you pulling up outside a primary school in a van and offering lollipops to any child willing to hop in the back... it's their fault if they're too naive and unwary to check up on the nature of the lollipop or its method of administration in advance, right?

I also think it's a mistake to criticise scroungers and those who seek to screw the system for lacking self respect and ambition. If anything, most of the truly egregious abusers have a massive excess of self-regard, one that is significantly increased by their ability to make the state finance their existence and lifestyle. And criticising someone for lacking ambition doesn't make sense at any level - logically, someone who lacks ambition is content with what they have, which is widely held to be a desirable state of mind. I'd far sooner criticise someone for being a venal exploitative shit who's making themselves a gross burden on the state/taxpayer and who has no ethical compass to guide their behaviour than for either of those things.

smuggo
September 14 2012, 07:52:52 PM
What I do think needs to happen is a shift away from the current obsession with getting bums on seats in universities and preaching that a degree is the be all and end all. It's ultimately damaging people and the economy. University used to be the option for those who were both clever and academically minded.

Meanwhile, in reality:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/9542312/Third-of-Britains-elite-universities-still-looking-for-students.html


Seven out of 24 institutions in the elite Russell Group are still advertising vacancies on more than 1,000 courses days before the start of the academic year.
Thirty thousand fewer students have secured places on courses this summer compared with last year, increasing suspicions that 9,000-a-year tuition fees have put off many school-leavers.
Despite the unexpectedly high level of vacancies for British students, places are likely to go unfilled because fewer pupils have achieved the entry requirements for leading universities.
One Russell Group university, Queen Mary, University of London, was yesterday advertising spaces on 178 of its 194 courses that are available through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

RELATED ARTICLES
Students missing top A-level grades 'delaying university applications' 14 Sep 2012
University Clearing will go 'right down to the wire' 13 Sep 2012
State school pupils turned off Oxbridge by dramas such as Morse and The History Boys 14 Sep 2012
Superhead suspended in school finances probe 14 Sep 2012
Foreign students to be marked out in immigration figures 13 Sep 2012
Speak up about the enemies of promise 13 Sep 2012
Sheffield University had places to spare on 257 of its 326 courses, including English literature and law. Exeter was yet to fill 191 out
of 316, including psychology and classics.

Overall demand for university places is down by seven per cent on last year, with many blaming the new higher fees. Leading universities have also been hit by a decline in the number of teenagers gaining good A-level grades following a drive to make exams harder. David Willetts, the universities minister, said that this summer there was a fall of 5,000 in the number of pupils believed to have gained at least two As and a B, the threshold for many courses at leading institutions.
If the places are not filled, some universities could suffer multi-million-pound losses.
Lecturers’ leaders warned that the decline represented a rejection of the new fees regime, which has seen the price of courses almost treble at some universities.
Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “Fewer students at UK universities this year represents the predictable failure of the Government’s attempt to create an artificial market for the most highly-qualified students.
“The minister’s recognition that higher tuition fees forced a scramble for places last year highlights the unfair nature of this Government’s hike in fees. At a time of high unemployment, we should be making it easier for people to get to university, not pricing them out.”

Mr Willetts said evidence from previous higher education reforms showed that “individual institutions can face a temporary jolt when changes like this are introduced”, with students applying early to get around the fees increase.
This will lead to declines in entry rates at some institutions, creating “real pressures”, he said. Speaking at the Universities UK annual conference at Keele University, the minister said: “I think we are likely to see fewer students going to university this year because last year’s figure was partly artificially inflated by fewer people taking a gap year. But I still think we will have very high numbers of students going to university.”

Universities have been given greater freedom to take unlimited numbers of students with at least AAB at A-level. Previously the Government operated strict controls on all student places, threatening universities with fines if they over-recruited. The move was designed to create more competition between institutions and free up places for the brightest students.
But a decline in the number of teenagers gaining top grades has actually led to some leading universities facing shortages.
Mr Willetts said that 80,000 students gained AAB, compared with a previous prediction of 85,000.
The decline in applications can also be put down to a fall in the number of 18-year-olds in the education system over recent years.
Figures from Ucas showed that the number of students who accepted places at English universities by Sept 11 was down by 30,076 on last year.
There were 26,997 courses with vacancies in clearing, and eligible candidates have until Sept 20 to apply. Some 642,654 people applied to study this year, compared with 692,358 last year.

In a separate disclosure, Times Higher Education magazine carried out an anonymous survey of universities to find out how many students with grades of AAB had been admitted.

One Russell Group university said it was 500 short of predictions, while three others were down by 400, 260 and 160. Another “less selective” university said student numbers were down by 700.

With average annual tuition fees estimated at 8,123, it is believed universities could be facing a 700 million loss of funding over three years.

Wendy Piatt, the directo- general of the Russell Group, criticised the Government’s decision to award more places to cheaper universities.

“The first year of the new funding system was always going to be challenging and uncertain. But the Government’s core and margin policy of re-distributing places, largely on the basis of lower fees, meant universities had fewer places to offer to students with grades below AAB and this has had a knock-on impact.

“We have consistently argued this policy of giving more places to institutions charging lower fees would neither improve quality nor enhance student choice.

“If universities couldn’t recruit enough high-calibre students they risked losing funding but if they recruited too many students with grades ABB or below they risked substantial fines. The difficult choices faced by admissions departments this year means students who wanted to attend a leading university and had the right qualifications have not been able to even though those universities wanted to accept them.”

Mr Willetts said: “Different institutions will have been affected differently; that is inevitable when making significant changes, which are intended to take greater account of student choice.”



Pattern once again C&Ps an article with no comment.

I was more referring to my experiences in school and the years leading up to the current situation.

As I said... I don't necessarily agree with the new system but I do believe it's 'fair'. I do believe that higher education should be free to all but under the current system as it stands now student debt isn't going to be the crippling problem it is in the States (for example). With the availability of government and institution grants I'd say that higher education is more accessible to those from poorer backgrounds than ever before.
The fact that many universities are failing to fill slots (even the better ones) perhaps highlights the problems we've seen over the years of grade inflation (and therefore certain institutions having a high opinion of themselves and setting their entry requirements too high) and the push for people to go to universities.

Pattern
September 14 2012, 08:28:39 PM
What does grade inflation have to do with universities dropping grade requirements due to lack of demand?

sent from a fone

Aurora148
September 14 2012, 09:08:49 PM
Unis will have already allocated budgets/teaching hours/resources for this year depending on the predicted number of students, so its cheaper to fill them with people from clearing than it is to redo it all. Next year they will reduce the number of places so that they more closely match demand.

Its a symptom of Unis milking cheap to run degree courses rather than grade inflation.

Lallante
September 17 2012, 11:42:05 AM
People who insist all education should be free (not just in principle, which I agree with, but in practice), invariably also resent the fact that this means that non-university goers (i.e. what some in this thread would call the "working class" are inherently subsidising those who go ("middle class") through taxation. One of life's many examples of contrarianism.

Tafkat
September 17 2012, 12:06:20 PM
People who insist all education should be free (not just in principle, which I agree with, but in practice), invariably also resent the fact that this means that non-university goers (i.e. what some in this thread would call the "working class" are inherently subsidising those who go ("middle class") through taxation. One of life's many examples of contrarianism.
What bearing does this have on the subject at hand? Also, who in this thread has argued that all education should be free to the student, and assuming such a post actually exists, what makes you think the poster would express such resentment? Are you just randomly lobbing bad trolls around in order to avoid supporting the arguments you made in the OP and susbequently?

TheManFromDelmonte
September 17 2012, 07:13:29 PM
People who insist all education should be free (not just in principle, which I agree with, but in practice), invariably also resent the fact that this means that non-university goers (i.e. what some in this thread would call the "working class" are inherently subsidising those who go ("middle class") through taxation. One of life's many examples of contrarianism.

I'm happy to prove you wrong by saying I believe in free education and have no problem with the poor subsidising it through taxation. Universal benefits require universal payment, or society fragments.

Lallante
September 18 2012, 08:46:48 AM
People who insist all education should be free (not just in principle, which I agree with, but in practice), invariably also resent the fact that this means that non-university goers (i.e. what some in this thread would call the "working class" are inherently subsidising those who go ("middle class") through taxation. One of life's many examples of contrarianism.

I'm happy to prove you wrong by saying I believe in free education and have no problem with the poor subsidising it through taxation. Universal benefits require universal payment, or society fragments.

Lets take it to a new thread

helgur
September 29 2012, 10:43:54 PM
The occupations you've picked as being representative of traditional working class employment are actually from the very top end of the old-style working class; master craftsmen and farmers have always been well compensated and had comparatively high social standing (especially the latter - the Gentleman Farmer has been A Thing for centuries...). If we replace the occupations you listed with three more common and less prestigious but equally old working class occupations - shop assistants, cleaning ladies, and street sweepers, for example - your assertion immediately becomes ridiculous.

If you define working class as "unskilled labour" then thats an immense narrowing of the category, to people with no specific marketable abilities or experience.


it's a fairly well accepted definition of working class and isn't really very narrow at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_structure_of_the_United_Kingdom#Working_cla ss

It is. And the same wiki article you linked to also includes skilled labour under this definition.