[Marxism] Clarifying the term "petty bourgeoisie"?

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Aug 12 23:26:07 MDT 2004

>>Most Americans are absolutely certain they are "middle class."  I saw a
homeless guy living in a cardboard box look directly into a TV camera and
say, "I can't believe this happened to me.  I'm middle class." I thought,
"Man, you live in a cardboard box, and you've not figured it out yet?" <<

Yes, there are absurd illusions about being “middle class” in America; for
example I heard Kerry apply the term to everyone without health insurance.
But the fact that the term is abused doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.

The term “new middle class” may be subject to abuse too, but here’s a
question for you: what do you call someone who supervises 30 people,
describes part of the workforce they supervise as “dead wood”, earns a
salary well above average, pays someone to clean their house, invests in
property and shares, opposes the union, believes in neo-liberal economics
and has plans to become a consultant? There are quite a few such people in
the industry I work in. They strike me as middle class.

Of course many traditional forms of middle class enterprise have been
radically reduced in importance, but that doesn’t mean they all have. In
fact the last 15 years of outsourcing have generated some new types. In my
job I deal with small entrepreneurs on a daily basis. They are not living
in cardboard boxes, either. 

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