[iDC] viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

Dmytri Kleiner dk at telekommunisten.net
Mon Jun 25 16:20:42 EDT 2007

Guido Sohne wrote:
> On 6/25/07, Dmytri Kleiner <dk at telekommunisten.net> wrote:
>> Class is still based on property, which in most cases is inherited, and
>> wealth is still concentrating, class mobility is still all but non 
>> existent.
> The nature of wealth is to ease the process of concentrating it and
> power. Unlike before, it is no longer exclusively inherited or out of
> reach due to accidents of birth. It is still hard to reach, but not
> unreachable.

However Rent-capturing assets (i.e. land, patents, etc) will always 
drive all other productive inputs to their reproduction costs, and thus 
those who start out without the ability to capture it can not usually 
accumulate. As property is usually sold at it's fully capitalized value, 
you can not really buy the ability to capture rent, you either need to 
create it, which there are not many ways to do, steal it or inherit it.

There always have been and will be those that rise above their class, 
what is new now in this sense?

The existences of outliers who escape their class is not new and does 
not change the fact that wealth continues to accumulate and that class 
mobility continues to be statistically pretty much non-existent.

>> Don't confuse increased reproduction costs as a result of scarcity of
>> innate or acquired human capital with the capture of the surplus value
>> of other labourers by way of property ownership.

> Surplus value capture via property ownership or rent, makes it
> unnecessary for someone in that position to actually have to struggle
> or work (e.g Paris Hilton).

Correct, and no matter how much money you have, it is very difficult to 
_buy_ rent-capturing assets for _less_ than their fully capitalized 
value, making rent-capturing a game more or less exclusively for 
existing rent-collectors.

>> Lower paid and higher paid workers and _not_ different classes.
> Shades of grey. The CEO with a million dollar golden parachute and the
> assembly line worker with the pink slip and small compensation are
> definitely from different classes.

Class has to do with relationship with the mode of production, namely 
whether income comes from Rent, Interest, or Wages.

Any individual person may be part of both classes, as CEO may collect a 
wage and own property, but the CEO qua CEO is a worker (perhaps doing 
unnecessary work but that is a different issue) and as a worker his 
wages will be no more than the reproduction cost of his labour, scarcity 
rent on innate and acquired human capital (including social capital) 

> My point is they can start from the
> same class.

Perhaps certain individuals can, this has always been the case, but the 
body of the class can not.

Dmytri Kleiner <dk at telekommunisten.net>
robotnik, epicurean socialist, aspiring crank

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