Stats on Amerikan working class conditions

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Wed Oct 4 12:04:01 MDT 1995

At 1:09 AM 10/4/95, Maoist Internationalist Movement wrote:

>MIM statistics update on the condition of the Amerikan working class

This spelling of America is childish. I know you won't stop it, but I must
register my ojbections. But I suppose it fits with the infantile politics.

>All figures from Leonard Beeghly, The Structure of Social Stratification in
>the United States (Boston:  Allyn & Bacon, 1996)--an author who makes a
>point of disagreeing with our theses
>I. Occupational structure
>White collar:
>1880: 19%
>1993: 58%
>Blue collar:
>1880: 29%
>1993: 39%
>1880: 52%
>1993: 3%

These numbers are preposterous. About 80% of the US workforce is
"nonsupervisory." Surely any reasonable definition of "white collar"
involves management - i.e., supervision. People sloppily use "white collar"
as a synonym for office work, but people who do data entry are not white
collar by any reasonable social definition.

I won't quote the long bit on assets, to reduce the bitstream. The figures
are profoundly flawed because they include residential wealth, which is
largely meaningless. If you think an owner-occupied house is a capital
asset, you need to go back and read your Marx.



Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax

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