Meritocracy and the Middle Class envy

Few men have the natural strength to honor a friend’s success without envy

                                                   Aeschylus.

In this last part of our Meritocracy series, we are going to explore the notion of envy and classes.

I have never understood the notion of Middle Class. I do not even know what it is really mean. In France where I came from we have given them the name of “bourgeoisie” meaning those living in the “Bourg” i.e. the city. It was to differentiate them from their countryside  counterparts “the land owners”. The bourgeoisie meaning the tradespeople that they were mostly composed of in the city starting to become a political and social force. Those vulgar people who needed to work for a leaving and often mocked by the aristocracy, were becoming “the darling” of the political parties, the economists  and sociologists. They were all trying to understand this new class which has emerged with the industrialisation of the western countries.

 

So what exactly is the middle class?

 

According to the Cambridge Dictionary the middle class is : a social group that consists of well-educated people like doctors, lawyers, and teachers, who have good jobs and and are not poor, but are not very rich.

But personally, I prefer the Wikipedia definition which states that the middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. Its usage has often been vague whether defined in terms of occupation, income, education or social status. The definition by any author is often chosen for political connotations. Writers on the left favour the lower-status term working class. Modern social theorists—and especially economists—have defined and re-defined the term “middle class” in order to serve their particular social or political ends.

So the Middle Class is suppose to be this vague notion that politicians or economists used when it suits them to show everyone that meritocracy and the capitalism system is  working like it should be  as they allow a segment of the population to better their lives.

Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society consequent to socio-economic competition among the social classes or between rich and poor.