How many academics does it take to miss the point? In their new ‘test’, the BBC and ‘sociologists from leading universities’ still fail to grasp the central, abiding reality of class, which is that it is a reflection of bargaining power..
If they’d wanted to save time and tell the truth, they could simply have referred everyone to the term ‘Credit-Rating‘ or ‘score’, which always divided the working class labourer from the working class skilled worker with his own tools, from the lower middle class baker with his own oven and shop, from the business class Miller who supplied all the bakers with flour, from the propertied landowners who grew the corn – all with increasingly more capital to be used as security on loans from the bank. And all higher up on the social scale. There has always been a ‘technical’ or ‘managerial’ or ‘professional’ class to service the needs of business and property, often by swearing black is white on monday and that white is black on tuesday. Their capital is intellectual, but just as bankable as 100 acres of land. The ‘profess-ions’, that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire’, as the man says.
Class is a hard economic fact. The clearest explanation of capitalism we have, which is why the disciples of capitalism deny there is a class system, while relying on it every day, and why it is subject to constant attempts to complicate it with ‘culture’ and to throw sand in people’s eyes. Class = Credit Rating. It is a mathematical formula banks have been using since before the steam engine. Nothing to do with flat caps, bowlers or top hats, and simply a matter of how much security you can offer the bank when trying to claw your way out of poverty. See ‘Hobson’s Choice’ by Harold Brighouse for an eezee primer in how it works.
Naturally, different levels of income and their accompanying neuroses produce different class cultures. The traditional immobile working class family, with just enough money to get by, and moderate levels of job security, enjoyed a culture of moderate hedonism combined with domestic cosiness which it is not easy for today’s sanitised aspirational classes to appreciate.