Class Characteristics â€“ Could You Survive in a Different Economic Class?
One of our recent posts discussed a researcherâ€™s view on the differences between economic classes. The researcher stated that the upper, lower and middle classes live their lives based on the past, present and future, respectively. What this researcher was getting at is that there are a number of differences in classes aside from the job titles and bank statements typical of the groupâ€™s members.
We typically consider nationality, religious views and geographic location to be the main factors which determine a personâ€™s culture. We consider ourselves to be â€œAmericansâ€ so we celebrate the traditional holidays and eat the customary foods. But what role does economic class play in our culture?
Not only does this researcher discuss the idea that the various economic classes live their lives with respect to â€œdifferent time zones,â€ but he takes it one step further to say that they have entirely different cultures. Even if you do make the necessary changes to shift classes, he states that you still may not be able to survive there.
For those of us in the lower and middle classes, it may seem like it would be great to move to the upper class. We see the upper class as freedom from worries about money, a high status in society and the chance to know all the right people. However, could we really fulfill all the roles expected of someone in certain circles of the upper class? How many of could order off a menu in three languages? Or learn the names of 300 attendees at an important social event?
Conversely, people in the upper class might think that moving to the lower class would mean freedom from all the pressures of having to uphold the family name and act according to a certain set of norms. However, would people accustomed to life in the upper class have the â€œstreet smartsâ€ to survive day-to-day? Would they know where to get low-cost or free meals for their family? Would they be able to fend for themselves in neighborhoods that may not be safe?
While potentially full of stereotypes, this researcherâ€™s statements certainly provide some interesting food for thought. These ideas paint the picture that â€œthe grass is always greener on the other sideâ€ and help us re-examine our traditional definitions of culture.