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class and money

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Some personal finance bloggers and commentors have been talking about the NY Times class calculator. It splits you into a specific class (bottom fifth, lower middle, middle, upper middle, top fifth) based on occupation, education, income and wealth.

Any true Englishman knows class well. It was George Orwell who stated that “England is the most class-ridden country under the sun.” I’m a big fan of Watching the English by Kate Fox. It’ll tell you more that you ever wanted to know about the English rules of queuing, buying rounds and the peculiarities of class.

In particular, class is essentially unrelated to either income or wealth in the sense that having more or less of these things doesn’t determine your class. Class is determined by your pursuits, how you speak and the language you use, where you live, where you aspire to live, the food you eat and the food you admit to eating. Even the names you give your children are class indicators. None of this is intentional by the way, its just that we all act as we think people like us should do - and people like us almost always means people in our own social class.

By, the by, on the NY Times graphic I had no consistent class, but I am aware that I’m lower middle class possibly pushing at middle middle class. And none of this has anything to do with my money.

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