What percentage of the population in the U.S. is proletarian?

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yoda's walking stick
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Sep 7 2011 00:02
What percentage of the population in the U.S. is proletarian?

How many millions of people does this represent? I'd love an answer I could source, but I would be interested in informed estimates as well.

Cheers. smile

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devoration1
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Sep 7 2011 00:59

http://www.bls.gov/cps/

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Sep 7 2011 23:49

The population of the USA, in my opinion, is clearly overwelmingly Proletarian! Do you think there is a peasant class? Obviously there is an exploitation of immigrant labour, but that has always been the case in America - and is mirrored today in the UK, Germany, Australia etc. Not sure what you are getting at by your question?

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Sep 8 2011 00:06

yeah the question seems ridiculous. Almost everyone is proletarian, but huge chunks think they are "middle class" whatever the fuck that is supposed to be.

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Sep 8 2011 04:36

I think the best way to respond to answer this is to critique the question. You have to have a specific reason for talking about class. If you're a politician, an advertiser, a world bank economist, an anthropologist, you'll look at the same population and pick out various differences, and draw distinctions based on whatever makes sense for your subject. You could have any number of classes and define them however you want. The idea of a proletarian class is pretty much meaningless, unless you're relating class to the possibilities of communism. For our purposes, we want to know who has the potential to support and engage in revolutionary action. This is not a matter of statistics but a matter of looking at struggles. But for what it's worth, I think the potential is there in the vast majority of the population of the US (and every other country in the world).

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Sep 8 2011 05:07

73.2% with an error margin of anywhere from 30 to 70 percent.

(just a rough guestimate)

yoda's walking stick
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Sep 8 2011 08:32

I understand the mockery of some of my questions, but I don't understand it in this case. Surely people who are concerned with class issues should be interested in knowing the size of different classes with some clarity. Being ignorant of statistics offhand is fine. I am. But I don't understand the need to cover it up, which seems to be a motivation here, by mocking the question.

Manic
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Sep 8 2011 08:41

I don't know the exact percentage and I'm not sure if anyone would as the government is unlikely to use Marxist class analysis in their statistics. But I'd take a guess at it being in the high 90's say around 97-98%. I base that guess on statistics I've read and heard but cannot accurately remember.

LBird
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Sep 8 2011 09:12
yoda's walking stick wrote:
I understand the mockery of some of my questions, but I don't understand it in this case. Surely people who are concerned with class issues should be interested in knowing the size of different classes with some clarity.

Yoda, I don't think that the other posters are really 'mocking' your reasonable question, but rather pointing out that both 'asking' and 'answering' a question contains ideological starting points.

If one uses liberal sociology, the answer is probably about 20%.

If one uses class analysis, the answer is probably about 80%.

I think our education system should teach people to be able to answer questions from multiple perspectives. But it doesn't, and it can't. That's because this way of thinking undermines authority, and one of the main purposes of the current 'education' (sic) system is to teach respect for 'authorities' of all stripes, from 'professors' to 'politicians' and 'scientists'.

Which ideological answer do you prefer? 20% or 80%? And why?

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Fall Back
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Sep 8 2011 09:23

To be fair, while yoda's question posts are usually annoying as fuck, this one seems perfectly fine.

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Sep 8 2011 09:41

Part of the confusion is that capital has sought (successfully!) to blur the distinction between capitalist and worker, for example by encouraging workers to become shareholders, and encouraging a confused view of class based on accent, cash-on-hand, home ownership, type of job etc. So for example workers that have small shareholdings self-identify as capitalists and "middle-class". But a worker's shareholding is more like a bet on a race rather than a capitalist managing capital, and I think we need to be clear that checking the charts of your plummeting shares on your lunchbreak does not "lift you out" of the working class.

As CRUD said in another thread, if you have to work for a wage to live, or have to live on benefits, or are, say, a student preparing for either of these situations, you are a worker, and working class.

Where do you get your 80% LBird? I would have thought it was a higher number.

And sorry Yoda for calling your question ridiculous, it just seems fairly obvious to me that most people are proles, because almost everyone I meet works for a wage. But it's not a ridiculous question if you have a confused view of class.

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Sep 8 2011 09:54

Even top-level managers work for a wage. Does that mean they are part of the working class? I don't think so.

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Sep 8 2011 10:07
jura wrote:
Even top-level managers work for a wage. Does that mean they are part of the working class? I don't think so.

What's a "top-level" manager? It makes me think of board-level executives, who "work" for profit-related bonuses and big payoffs as much as or more than their wage, and often they have quite large (relative to other individual shareholders) stock holdings.

I admit I'm not too clear on this.

Perhaps one way of clarifying their situation is to see that most of those top-level managers do not need to work for a wage to live.

LBird
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Sep 8 2011 11:44
Pikel wrote:
Where do you get your 80% LBird? I would have thought it was a higher number.

Very broadly speaking (really, just as a contrast to the nonsense of 'liberal sociology'), I would put the percentages in most current capitalist societies at:

5% - bourgeoisie
15% - petit bourgeoisie
80% - proletariat

And I would define these categories, so:

bourgeoisie - 1. owns/controls large productive property (banks, factories, shipping, transport, chain stores, etc.)
2. employs labour
3. does not have to work (might choose to, but this is immaterial)

petit bourgeoisie - 1. owns small productive property (corner shop, crafts, market stall,etc.)
2. employs labour
3. has to work (labouring or supervising, but compelled by lack of resources)

proletarian - 1. owns no productive property
2. cannot employ labour
3. must sell own labour to bourgeoisie (of either type)

Of course, thousands of hours, decades of history and numerous PhDs have been spent defining 'productive', 'compulsion', 'large', 'small', 'labour', and rightly so. The debate is still alive.

But...

...if we are ever to get anywhere politically, we have to get ourselves into a position where the vast majority of proletarians can define for themselves the above three socio-economic classes, and recognise that they embody an exploitative relationship.

These are not categories of what an individual thinks of themself, but an objective definition to help understand how society currently works.

It is a simplification to aid political development and change, not a complex academic debate in which 'how many angels fit on a pinhead' type argument has to be addressed.

And so...

jura wrote:
Even top-level managers work for a wage. Does that mean they are part of the working class? I don't think so.

Pikel provides the political answer, quite easily:

Pikel wrote:
What's a "top-level" manager? It makes me think of board-level executives, who "work" for profit-related bonuses and big payoffs as much as or more than their wage, and often they have quite large (relative to other individual shareholders) stock holdings.

Yes, 'bonuses', 'big payoffs' and 'stock holdings' give the clue to placing these 'managers' into our categorisation.

'Large stock holdings' mean that these are the owners of 'large property', whether they work in the enterprise or not.

'Top level' managers are in the bourgeoisie.

The placing of individuals is an almost arbitrary act: the purpose of 'class analysis' is to analyse society, not categorise individuals.

We can define 'top level' as anyone 'earning' above £100,000, or £500,000, or £10,000,000.

This doesn't really matter to us. The overwhelming majority of society on this planet does not earn £100,000, or.... That is the crucial fact, not the amount.

It allows us to discern the 'shape' of society, especially the exploitative relationship at its heart... and, hopefully, to change it.

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Sep 8 2011 13:40

What I was trying to say is that if a person "works" (is employed in an enterprise, does not live off dividends etc.) and earns a monthly pay (however big or small it is), it does not necessarily mean that their interests are identical with the interests of the working class. Moreover, such a categorization would ultimately be based on juridical relations – like an employment contract. That's too vague, in my view.

I think various layers of management, but also state bureaucrats, cops, soldiers etc. are a problem for any kind of Marx-inspired class analysis that does not shy away from reality. The practical limits of saying things like "cops/soldiers are just workers in uniforms" have recently been made very clear again by events all over the world. BTW, Martin Glaberman suggests somewhere that even teachers, due to their function as an instrument of social control, are problematic as well. I'm not saying (and neither was MG) they are not of the working class (teachers definitely are), but perhaps we need a more fine-grained analysis.

Saying that "class analysis" analyzes society and not individuals is fine, and I agree with that to some extent, but sooner or later you have to figure out how these theoretical categories relate to empirical reality.

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Sep 8 2011 13:48
yoda's walking stick wrote:
I understand the mockery of some of my questions, but I don't understand it in this case. Surely people who are concerned with class issues should be interested in knowing the size of different classes with some clarity. Being ignorant of statistics offhand is fine. I am. But I don't understand the need to cover it up, which seems to be a motivation here, by mocking the question.

If you're looking for raw numbers, go to the link I posted. The US government keeps track of the data regarding employment.

Quote:
The labor force rose to 153.6 million in August. Both the civilian labor force
participation rate, at 64.0 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at
58.2 percent, were little changed. (See table A-1.)

The total population is 310 million give or take in the US. 153.6 million are employed 'nonfarm workers'.

Quote:
The number of unemployed persons, at 14.0 million, was essentially unchanged
in August, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent. The rate has shown
little change since April. (See table A-1.)

With an additional 14 million workers unemployed. This is all as of last month, August 2011.

Add in homemakers, farm workers, uncounted immigrant labor, and most likely 60-70% of the total population of the US are 'workers'. This doesn't account for those too young to work but come from working-class families, those too old to continue working but are retirees/pensioners and thus also part of the working class, those disabled from on the job injuries, etc.

It also doesn't account for the declassed/lumpenproletariat who may work sometimes (and may be included in either unemployment or employed statistics) and the very large petit-bourgeois strata in the US.

But as others have stated, raw numbers in this era of capitalism aren't important anymore. Arguments and theories could be debated and discussed when petit-bourgeois artisans, the peasantry, etc were much larger portions of the population. Today capitalism has created the kind of modern proletariat that silence any notion of 'not having enough workers to make socialism'- nations that a few generations ago were considered backward and deficient (tribal, no industry, etc) are now urbanized, industrialized with a very large and substantial working-class (places like India, Argentina, Malaysia, etc).

Angelus Novus
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Sep 8 2011 13:58
jura wrote:
I think various layers of management, but also state bureaucrats, cops, soldiers etc. are a problem for any kind of Marx-inspired class analysis that does not shy away from reality. The practical limits of saying things like "cops/soldiers are just workers in uniforms" have recently been made very clear again by events all over the world. BTW, Martin Glaberman suggests somewhere that even teachers, due to their function as an instrument of social control, are problematic as well.

I'll have to go look up the Volume later, but in Hal Draper's Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, Draper argues that public employees in general, even if they're garbage collectors or road workers, aren't really proletarians in a strictly Marxian sense. However, if those same garbage workers or road workers are working for a private profit firm, then they would be. However, this seems extremely counter-intuitive and I want to look it up again to see exactly what quotations from Marx it is that Draper uses to support this assertion.

LBird
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Sep 8 2011 14:11
jura wrote:
Saying that "class analysis" analyzes society and not individuals is fine, and I agree with that to some extent, but sooner or later you have to figure out how these theoretical categories relate to empirical reality.

That depends, jura, on what 'empirical reality' one is trying to 'theorise'!

The 'theory' often determines (what part of) 'empirical reality' is the 'real' one, for the purposes of the 'theoriser'. Remember Einstein's wise statement: 'It is the theory which determines what one observes'. The current illustration of this 'law of physics' is the 'Higgs Boson' conundrum.

Theory and reality and fundamentally related to each other (I'd say 'dialectically', if I was looking for a different argument, and if I really knew what 'dialectic' meant!). Just as for physical nature, so it is for society: 'understanding' requires both reality and theory. There is no understanding 'social reality' outside of the attempt to theorise it.

'Class analysis' is only about society, not the individuals who comprise that society, so there is no 'sooner or later'. For us Communists, 'society' is our 'empirical reality', not the focus on 'individuals'. We aim to analyse 'economic exploitation', not examine personal attitudes, beliefs or feelings. If we do the former, we have the key to the latter.

As I said on another thread, 'a wall is not just a collection of bricks', and studying 'bricks' in isolation will tell one nothing about a 'wall'. Trying to 'slot' individuals into socio-economic class categories is, I would argue, a waste of our time.

We have 'a world to win', not 'six billion individuals to psycho-analyse'!

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Sep 8 2011 14:20
jura wrote:
What I was trying to say is that if a person "works" (is employed in an enterprise, does not live off dividends etc.) and earns a monthly pay (however big or small it is), it does not necessarily mean that their interests are identical with the interests of the working class. Moreover, such a categorization would ultimately be based on juridical relations – like an employment contract. That's too vague, in my view.

I think various layers of management, but also state bureaucrats, cops, soldiers etc. are a problem for any kind of Marx-inspired class analysis that does not shy away from reality. The practical limits of saying things like "cops/soldiers are just workers in uniforms" have recently been made very clear again by events all over the world. BTW, Martin Glaberman suggests somewhere that even teachers, due to their function as an instrument of social control, ale problematic as well. I'm not saying (and neither was MG) they are not of the working class (teachers definitely are), but perhaps we need a more fine-grainded analysis.

Saying that "class analysis" analyzes society and not individuals is fine, and I agree with that to some extent, but sooner or later you have to figure out how these theoretical categories relate to empirical reality.

I think the problem is, that most of the Marx-inspired class analysis focuses on the economical aspects of being working class, and doesn't align this with the political reality. To say that the coppers aren't working class is a political judgement, where we use the working class as a possible revolutionary subject, though the filth is also on paycheck, and is the part of the capital reproduction as a lorry driver, or a building site worker.

As previously mentioned, class analysis isn't out there to classify individuals but rather a broad overview of the economical process of exploitation. It is dangerous game to use it to judge, classify people by the source of income because in the case of blurry lines between proles and bosses (and this blurry line gives the birth to the middleclass-idea, the ever loyal, non-combatant layer) is broad enough to obscure any "us and them" logic, and also, puts the class consciousness in to question.

For the OP. I don't have any specific answer, but lurking in the statistics could give ideas about such a percentages if you know what you looking for. Along with the employed and enumployed figures (in these numbers you can easily ignore the problem of the fake-wages, they aren't represented in high numbers), you have to research the small business numbers as you will find, many of the self-employed or small business owners aren't employing by themselves, only their exploitation is more clever, made through interests and dodgy paperwork. Once I was doing some studies on this issue of the Hungarian figures, and I find that compared to the employed this layer was quite numerous, almost 28%. To this figure there come the different layers of pensioners, and in my experience, you can also ignore the marginal capitalist-pensioners, due to their small numbers in reallity (as most of the wealthiest doesn't bother herself to apply for any pension). Children are more complicated. Although it's true that if mummy or daddy make their living through profit, it is very likely that they finance their children through the same source, we can not conclude that all children of the bosses become capitalists. Indeed, their are plenty of counter-example of that so I would go for a percentage of 1 perc bourgois family, but that's a very inaccurate, and lazy guess. Unfortunately, the picture even more bizarre to give a precise mathematical formula: there are plenty of sectors which you won't, or hardly find any useful figures of, including illegal drug industry, various kind of pickpockets, illegal immigrants with invisible employment, vague but almost certainly existing slave trade, full time home-workers looking after the family. Although these people aren't officially represented in employment statistics, they numerous, and also having their division by earning wages or living of profits.

All in all, through the Hungarian example, I can roughly confirm the numbers that LBird gave you, and I would be very surprised if the structure of the class relations would be utterly different overseas. Surely, in comparison, Russia and Sweden has a different class composition, but that's a relative swing from the previously mentioned figures and structure. In case of specific political analyis (researching figures of unemployment, local tensions and such), it worth to investigate this relative swing, but otherwise I would go with this rough estimates.

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Sep 8 2011 14:27

LBird, as someone with background in philosophy of science, I agree with your view, as well as with the Duhem-Quine thesis etc. I don't see how it's relevant to the present discussion, though. Of course one's theoretical views shape the approach to empirical reality. The question is what this approach should be in the case of Marxian categories like "working class".

You can have the nicest theoretical categories possible, but unless you are able to somehow use them in empirical research, they're pretty much useless apart from being of aesthetical interest as an elegant piece of theory. And I'm not speaking about academic empirical research. Any piece of writing on the present struggles in China, for example, which wants to go beyond what's already on the news, has to employ theoretical categories to empirical reality.

LBird
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Sep 8 2011 14:29
soc wrote:
All in all, through the Hungarian example, I can roughly confirm the numbers that LBird gave you...

Thanks for your support, soc.

Yeah, 'rough numbers' are all we need.

Let's regard our problem as one of the combatant numbers between three groups of humans adding up to a hundred people.

I suggest that the '5', even if they have the support of the '15', can still be beaten by the '80'.

In reality, we know that many of the '15', under pressure from the '5', often come over to our side of '80'.

It's probably that we have the potential to become '90' against '10', or better.

It's not much of an argument for the '5' to shout "Your empirical maths is shite! You only have '88' on your side - we have 12!"

Or, '85' and '15'. Or '83' and '17'.

So, we're shit at maths, eh?

That's not the problem. It's bringing the '80' to proletarian consciousness. If we can't do that, the '5' have won.

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Sep 8 2011 14:37

BTW, there's a very interesting piece of writing on this problem by an apparently young German guy called Sven Ellmers. It's called "Die formanalytische Klassentheorie von Karl Marx" (Karl Marx's Form-Analytical Theory of Class) and AFAIK it's only available in German.

What he says basically goes like this: there are two uses of "class" in Marx. One is the one related to the theoretical critique of political economy. "Class" as it is used in Capital is a "structural" category with little direct correspondence to individuals. In reality, there are very few "pure" capitalists, and not that many "pure" workers who only live off selling their labor power to capital (think various self-subsistence measures which partially fall outside the capital circuit; interest-bearing savings etc. – all this and more "contaminates" the empirical counterpart of the worker from Capital).

Then there's "class" as an empirical category used by Marx in his "political" writings like the Eighteenth Brumaire etc. Ellmers argues that much of the confusion concerning class in Marx stems from conflating the two uses and trying to find a correct wage scale (think E. O. Wright) for the first category. I fully agree with soc that such attempts are ridiculous. The question, of course, is how to move beyond that. You certainly need to use the category of class empirically when dealing with the composition of a particular country (like China).

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Sep 8 2011 14:44

Angelus, does Draper's argument by any chance have something to do with productive vs. unproductive labor? (On the standard theory, state employees are unproductive.) That would mean Draper only deems productive laborers as working class, which I wouldn't agree with at all.

LBird
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Sep 8 2011 15:00

Jura, and anybody else who's interested, on the definition of 'class', etc., I recommend the first 100 pages of de Ste. Croix's The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Class-Struggle-Ancient-Greek-World/dp/071561701X

extract from the book's reviewer, Germinal, wrote:
...the book has a unifying theme. It is, quite simply, exploitation. In what is in my view the best single discussion of the Marxist theory of class [and mine, too, LBird], Ste Croix argues that 'class is the way in which exploitation is reflected in a social structure'. Classes are defined by people's positions in the relations of production, and in particular by their control or lack of control of the means of production. Thus understood, class is an objective relationship. It does not depend on individuals being aware of their class position or on classes self consciously organising themselves politically...
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Sep 8 2011 22:13

By any calculation there are over 200 million workers in the USA. Many of them may consider themselves "middle class" ,whatever that means in 2011, but they are clearly workers.
The American poletariat have surely a crucial role to play in the destruction of limping Global Capitalism.

Llocsird
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Sep 9 2011 01:05

My guess would be about 95%, seeing as the vast majority are workers would have no control over the managment of the company.

Alexander Roxwell
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Sep 9 2011 02:28

Who would have the ability to collect such statistics? I would not. You would not. Something like the Bureau of Labor Statistics could but how would they define it? They define "Production Workers" within the Manufacturing sector which would seem to fit the narrowest definition of the proletariat within that sector. However it excludes office workers and those engaged in activities peripheral to direct production. They also have "production workers" under Mining and "Construction Workers" under Construction but these suffer the same exclusions. On the other hand the other sectors of the economy just distinguish between "Supervisory" and "NonSupervisory" employees and allow the employer to make these definitions with a very sloppy and contradictory set of instructions. On the other hand "Government" makes no distinction whatsoever. The Unemployed in the meantime are also undefined.

The question about "productive" and "nonproductive" workers is a very interesting question and one where I got into a dispute with my nominally "Marxist" economics professor when I did a term paper on the subject. I do not believe that it should have anything to do with who is or who is not proletarian, however.

It seems to me that we do have to exclude the armed thugs that enforce the rules of the bosses (the police) from the working class. We should also exclude prison guards and / or "correctional officers." Other than that I think that anyone who is does not own enough "property" to live off the "dividends" or extract a significant portion of her or his food supply should be considered a proletarian - but who collects this information?

We must realize that we cannot "know" as much about "our" social science as the bad guys do of theirs. I think I agree that in the United States it would be some 95% or so of the people but that is not based on much.

A more interesting question would be worldwide. For many many years the vast majority of the world's population would be classified as "peasant." Is this still true? Obviously this has been shrinking steadily since the middle ages.

LBird
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Sep 9 2011 07:28

There seems to be two broad streams of opinion in answering yoda's question on this thread.

The 'working class' of the USA is roughly either:

a) 80%

or

b) 95%.

Since I have already given a rough outline of a 3-class structure and definitions of those 3 classes, I think it's incumbent upon those arguing for '95%' to provide a guide to their thinking. Is this essentially a 2-class analysis? What are the characteristics of those 2 (or 3) classes?

We Communists have to have a quick 'rule-of-thumb' explanation of 'class struggle' which we can use to explain to those workers who have become interested in our ideas, whether through struggle or reading, how our current exploitative system works. This explanation has to be of the type that can be used on a picket line or in a pub. It needs to be an immediate political explanation, rather than a profound academic explanation. That will come later in their learning.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
I think I agree that in the United States it would be some 95% or so of the people ...

It gives me great pleasure to see that Alex has sided with the opposition.

This alone should give you '95%-ers' pause for thought!

Manic
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Sep 9 2011 09:57

95%-er here to defend my guesstimates laugh out loud

For me the point of class analysis is to determine who a change in property relations would benefit. So material conditions come into play somewhat looking at the earnings of US workers...damn can't copy paste the table scroll down to "top percentiles"

Now if we look at LBird's percentages
5% - bourgeoisie
15% - petit bourgeoisie
80% - proletariat

Top 5% of Households earn over $200,000 per year (£125,000) I thought the bourgeoisie would be doing a little better than that.

Your 15% of petty bourgeois earn between $118,000 - $166,200 (£74,000 - £104,000) and remember that's households so in the majority of cases I'd guess that is two incomes.

80% earn under $118,000 (£74,000) per household

Now obviously that's not based on the means of production and proletarians can earn considerably more than the petit bourgeois (especially if you include doctors). But I believe it does show that your percentage of the bourgeois is way out. And when looking at whose interests a change in the means of production would be based on their material conditions I would suggest that it would be above 95%. As if we look at the real earners households that earn over $1,600,000 (£1,000,000) they consist of only 0.12%.

EDIT: I should also say that the statistics are from 2006 and the currency conversions are current. If I remember rightly the £ was much stronger than the $ at around 1/2.

LBird
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Sep 9 2011 12:58
Manic wrote:
95%-er here to defend my guesstimates

Spoken like a good Communist, comrade!

However…

Manic wrote:
Now if we look at LBird's percentages
5% - bourgeoisie
15% - petit bourgeoisie
80% - proletariat
Top 5% of Households earn over $200,000 per year (£125,000) I thought the bourgeoisie would be doing a little better than that.
Your 15% of petty bourgeois earn between $118,000 - $166,200 (£74,000 - £104,000) and remember that's households so in the majority of cases I'd guess that is two incomes.
80% earn under $118,000 (£74,000) per household

The problem here, Manic, is that you’re using the wrong method. ‘Income tables’ are the basis of liberal sociological classification, by which ‘classes’ are defined by ‘income’.

The bourgeoisie don’t even appear on these bourgeois tables, because their ‘income’ is ‘unearned income’.

As Communists, we must use ‘class analysis’, which is based upon examining the ownership/control of the means of production.

We need to identify exploitative relationships, not separated income groupings.

For liberal sociology, classes are based upon surface appearances, a bit like classifying animals as dogs, cats and horses. There is no relationship between these, because if ‘dogs’ die out, the others still exist.

On the contrary, class analysis identifies exploitative relationships, a bit like a vampire and its victim. If the vampire dies, the ‘victim’ is no longer a victim; if the victim dies, so does the vampire, because its existence depends upon a live victim. They are fundamentally related to each other.

Bare income figures do not show relationships, let alone exploitative relationships.

Manic wrote:
Now obviously that's not based on the means of production and proletarians can earn considerably more than the petit bourgeois (especially if you include doctors).

So, you accept that you’re not using class analysis, and now we all know that income figures have nothing to do with class analysis.

As you say, many proletarians earn more than petit-bourgeois. So what? The key is that the petit bourgeois employs proletarians, and so is in an exploitative relationship with their employees. This social relationship is nothing to do with income.

To sum up, Manic, your figure of 95% might be correct from the point of view of 'liberal sociology' and its 'income groupings', but it's definitely not correct from the perspective of 'class analysis' and its 'exploitative relationships'.

Your first step must be to define 'class'. Please see my post # 14, for my definitions.

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Sep 9 2011 13:56

The 95% analysis has to be wrong on its face. It discounts the number of petit-bourgeoisie by a large margin, and overestimates the population of the American national bourgeoisie by a large margin.

Roxwell is correct that going by state statistics provides many obstacles, but for a rough outline, I think the capitalists are trustworthy when it comes to how many wage earners they've got, and business breakdown statistics are also in their best interest to have and maintain to the best of their ability.

Using the People's Encyclopedia:

Quote:
Though distinct from the ordinary working class and the lumpenproletariat, who rely entirely on the sale of their labor-power for survival, the petit- is different from the haute bourgeoisie, (high bourgeoisie) or capitalist class, who own the means of production and buy the labor-power of others to work it. Though the petite bourgeoisie may buy the labor power of others, in contrast to the haute bourgeoisie, they typically work alongside their own employees; and although they generally own their own businesses, they do not own a controlling share of the means of production.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petite_bourgeoisie

In many ways, in modern American politics, the petit-bourgeoisie (since we don't have a peasantry) is largely made up of small businessmen- the US has a heritage of being a nation of wannabe-entrepeaneurs.

Quote:
What is a Small Business? In making a detailed definition SBA may use a number of criteria, including the number of employees, annual receipts, affiliates, or other applicable factors. The Office of Advocacy defines a small business for research purposes as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. Firms wishing to be designated small businesses for government programs such as contracting must meet size standards specified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Size Standards. These specific criteria are set forth in the SBA Small Business Size Regulations, Title 13, Part 121 of the Code of federal regulations. SBA has established a size standard for most industries in the economy. Visit the Table of Size Standards for additional information/

Further, and this is very important:

Quote:
How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?
Small firms:
•Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.

•Employ just over half of all private sector employees.

•Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.

•Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.

•Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).

•Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).

•Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.

•Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007.

•Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.

Sources (see the Office of Advocacy's Research and Statistics page):
•U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census and International Trade Admin.
•Advocacy-funded research by Kathryn Kobe, 2007
•CHI Research, 2003
•U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

http://www.sba.gov/advocacy/7495

According to the Small Business Administration, 99.7% of private sector businesses are designated small businesses, meaning the remaining 0.3% are the bourgeoisie, the large firms, multinationals, conglomerates etc concentrated in few hands. It also means that half of private sector workers in the US are employed in these petit-bourgeois businesses, and that 0.3% of private businesses employ half of the private sector workforce as well.

The census bureau gives the numbers breaking all of this into charts:

http://www.census.gov/econ/smallbus.html

As a guidepost, the state has, through its use of census taking, taxation, etc, compiled the necessary information to show the density of the population by class in a rough but adequate way. Going by the US states own economic statistics, the petit-bourgeoisie represents a far larger number than is given credit for and the bourgeoisie represents a far lower number. My guess of a breakdown would be:

<1% Bourgeoisie
15-20% petit-bourgeoisie
70-75% proletariat
5% +/- declassed/lumpen