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History of the United States
Australia in WW2
Industrial Revolution
The Difference Between

How do the middle class and the working class differ?

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January 16, 2012 2:25AM

middle class means someone who has the means of production in a economy, while working class is someone who takes home a wage/salary. So unless you own a business that employs people outside your own family, you are technically working class.

This is the true definition of each of the 'classes'. In modern times it doesn't fit into our stereotypes of wealth = class. Class is defined by function and power in the economy, not by wealth. For example a doctor is, by definition, working class, but a plumber who employs 5 people is middle class.

In modern western society most working and middle class people have access to the same education opportunities and health services (except in the U.S), so most people enjoy a middle class lifestyle irrespective of their function in the economy. Ironically it is in the US, which proclaims to be the great classless society, where basic services and opportunities are most dependent upon wealth. This is due to the extreme capitalist economic governing model in place there.

Nowadays, most people equate middle-class with the professional classes (doctors, lawyers, teachers) and working-class with the apprenticed or untrained employment sector - however this understanding is not accurate and misinterprets the function of a person in the economy.

The goals of the industrial working class were much different than those of the middle class. The utmost important goal of the working class was to be able to support their families. They wanted to be able to build a strong work force. Also, they wanted the industry to rise up and make their regions the most powerful ones. The Middle Classes also wanted to support their families. However, their goals were more focused towards creating a balanced trade and achieve economic stability.