+3 votes
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in Politics & Government ✌ by

Here is the statement, and it surprised me; do you think this is true?

"Having a middle class is not a natural state. We had to essentially create one, and it gave us our democracy." (My emphasis.)

I will ask more in a later Q, but the point may be that a middle class/working class is indispensable for democracy, and also for a thriving economy...?

5 Answers

+1 vote
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Best answer

There is also another possible reason for middle class! The Bubonic Plague (or Black Death)!  There were so many deaths, that skilled labour was hard to find, increasing the rate of pay for the skilled labourers. Another possibility is that many of the Lords died, basically leaving lowly peons in charge of their own farms, owing nothing to anyone save themselves. They were lower than the Lords, and higher than the peons working some Lords land.

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Korvo that is a very good point! 

Once I read a history of the 14th century in Europe, when the Black Plague was killing so many people; it truly changed the course of history, and set the stage for what you have described so well.

Thank you!

+3 votes
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Yes it is Virginia. Most of us are that middle class working people. But I see it slowly shrinking until we are like Russia or China. The rich and the poor. The age old battle. Of course the middle class is badly needed in this country but I do see it shrinking as it seems the middle gets all the kicks in the butt while the poor get welfare and free medical and we all know what the rich get and where they get it from. I highly agree with your statement 100%. I'm no economist but I can sure see the writing on the wall!

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Thank you, Rooster...I am learning SO much - interesting, but scary too.

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@Rooster

Wait a minute, here's some info with comparisons - while waiting for T(h)ink:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_class

further:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourgeoisie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class

:)

+3 votes
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Yes, Virginia, there is a logical background to this quote, as far as living and working conditions are really sustainable for all the sides involved. But such systems are not perfect, and freedom involves fair-play, transparency, honesty and assuming one's responsibilities.

But presently, overpopulation is depleting essential resources, space and environments, and it spreads conflicts and disasters.

Too few will accept abstinence or birth control, and too many "religious" and other leaders, fanatics, interpreters, etc., are still imposing "high fertility rates" and sacrifices (mainly children and women) - while poverty, crimes, abuse and murders spread.

http://www.everythingconnects.org/overpopulation-effects.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/population-and-sustainability/

and:

https://www.popsugar.com/news/Catholic-Nun-Quote-Abortion-43096831


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Marianne, one thing I learned, especially from your links for Rooster...the definition of 'working class,' as well as 'middle class' and other classes as well, that is NOT set in stone, but has changed over the centuries...probably different with different societies...

I have been using middle class and working class a synonymous, but not necessarily so!

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Yes, Virginia, there were different levels and systems, changing, shifting and/or evolving within human social orders, rankings and their history. Animals have their structures and behavioural patterns too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominance_hierarchy

+4 votes
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I, personally, do not see what middle class has to do with politics. It seems to me that middle class came about due to the industrial revolution. Some people had enough money to own the new machines (upper class) but they needed people to maintain/operate the new machines.  These people needed more education thus were paid more, which created a middle class.  Lower class people (people who were paid less) were the normal uneducated folk who did manual labour.

  It may be indispensable for a thriving economy, but why would anyone think it is necessary for democracy? It seems to me that a democracy (present day democracy) is based on all people have an equal say on who governs them and what direction the government leans.

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And, as far as classes go, there are more than three. Due to education of so many people, and different jobs,there have become more than three classes. When I started working, there were about 9 classes. High upper, mid upper, low upper, high middle, mid middle, low middle, high lower, mid lower, and low lower classes. The distinction between each of these classes has become very grey. How do you differentiate between low upper and high middle? Or any other two adjacent classes? Today the whole thing has become grey, with just as many classes as you have people. It has nothing to do with politics, unless you are talking about a communistic society, where everyone is paid the same. Even there, there is a certain amount of distinction.

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Well defined, Korvo!

:)

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@ Korvo,

I agree that industrialization made the middle class possible, but I also think it was not a coincidence that modern ideas of republican democracy emerged at the same time with the emergence of a skilled, literate middle class.

Prior to that, roughly speaking, there had only been the few rich and educated nobles and the many poor and uneducated commoners. The gap was so wide that I think questions of equality would have seemed absurd.

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Could you explain the difference between "republican democracy" and either "direct democracy" or "representative democracy" please? I understand both of the latter, the first (direct) originating in Athens long ago, and the second (representative) evolving from the direct as countries became larger in population.

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Yes, sure, although for the present purposes, I don't think we need to make a distinction between republican democracy and representative democracy, or for that matter, a democratic republic, as long as it is truly participatory. (Even North Korea calls itself a democratic people's republic.)  :)

http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0199261180.001.0001/acprof-9780199261185-chapter-12

"Public debate broadened and its scope gained some depth. This new form of democracy has been called ‘participatory democracy’ and ‘deliberative democracy’; I suggest it should also be called ‘republican democracy’."

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So you could say, due to increased communication and knowledge of what is going on in government, and the pressure that can be put on representatives, we are actually leaning more and more towards "direct democracy", and possibly, with the computer, and internet, it could become a direct democratic type of government?

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It could well be moving in that direction. Politicians already pay a lot of attention to opinion polls, and indeed often commission them themselves on local issues.

Of course, that has its downside too, since public opinion is fickle. The leaders, who supposedly are better informed on the issues, ideally should lead public opinion by cogent argument rather than simply follow it willy-nilly, right or wrong.

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Thank you Korvo, I found your comments intriguing and helpful, especially for the discussion that followed.

+3 votes
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Yes, I think there s a lot of truth to that quote.

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Thank you O'Tink, I appreciated the interesting discussion between you and Korvo.

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