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That Great British class calculator April 3, 2013

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Capitalism, Complete nonsense.

I was already having nightmares about this thread on Broadsheet yesterday but this from BBC is a bit mindboggling isn’t it.

On wealth




and who you know


Bizarre no?

Im boxed the lowest of wretched Proles however, while still living on >10k with no savings I effortlessly achieved social mobility by claiming to like Opera and know a Chief Executive (which could of course be my boss)


The traditional categories of working, middle and upper class are outdated, fitting 39% of people.

It found a new model of seven social classes ranging from the elite at the top to a “precariat” – the poor, precarious proletariat – at the bottom.

More than 161,000 people took part in the Great British Class Survey, the largest study of class in the UK.

Class has traditionally been defined by occupation, wealth and education. But this research argues that this is too simplistic, suggesting that class has three dimensions – economic, social and cultural.

The BBC Lab UK study measured economic capital – income, savings, house value – and social capital – the number and status of people someone knows.

The study also measured cultural capital, defined as the extent and nature of cultural interests and activities.

The ‘new’ classes are defined as:

  • Elite – the most privileged group in the UK, distinct from the other six classes through its wealth. This group has the highest levels of all three capitals

  • Established middle class – the second wealthiest, scoring highly on all three capitals. The largest and most gregarious group, scoring second highest for cultural capital
  • Technical middle class – a small, distinctive new class group which is prosperous but scores low for social and cultural capital. Distinguished by its social isolation and cultural apathy
  • New affluent workers – a young class group which is socially and culturally active, with middling levels of economic capital
  • Traditional working class – scores low on all forms of capital, but is not completely deprived. Its members have reasonably high house values, explained by this group having the oldest average age at 66
  • Emergent service workers – a new, young, urban group which is relatively poor but has high social and cultural capital
  • Precariat, or precarious proletariat – the poorest, most deprived class, scoring low for social and cultural capital

and what of this?

The researchers said while the elite group had been identified before, this is the first time it had been placed within a wider analysis of the class structure,

Even on basic level of uselessness, White middle class kids have been the biggest consumers of “hip-hop/rap” for the last twenty years and what relation has it to Class at all?

So what would an Irish version look like?


Surely as useful a guide as the above effort.

For a better picture check out this week’s welfare reforms.


1. neilcaff - April 3, 2013

I took the test and got Emergent Service Worker. I think it’s a polite English way of saying I’m a prole but not an oik?

In broader terms it’s interesting the way talk about class has re-entered the mainstream political discussion in a big way since the financial crisis. At the same time there’s also an effort to make the idea of class as fuzzy as possible because of the uncomfortable conclusions that can be drawn from any frank discussion of class and how it impacts on politics.

I’m going to be debating it tonight on BBC5 and the main thrust of questioning from the producer who rang me up was that class doesn’t really matter because we can all change our class. Apparently they’re going to have Gill Fielding from Secret Millionaire on as well, probably to tell us all that because she became a millionaire from a working class background we can all do it too.


Michael Carley - April 3, 2013

What time are you on at Neil?


Neil - April 3, 2013



WorldbyStorm - April 3, 2013

Best of luck with that Neil.


neilcaff - April 3, 2013

Unfortunately they pulled the discussion. Oh well.


2. Garibaldy - April 3, 2013
doctorfive - April 3, 2013

Apparently the biggest welfare spend in the UK is income supplement rather then unemployment assistance . That could be a bit of voodoo for the headline rate of course but between that and all the tax dodging someone’s mode of production is in big trouble.

And the calculated sinisterness of this week’s ‘reforms’. A Tory masterpiece.

A lot of places will become “net-exporters” of families as the poor get pushed out. After bringing a load of people into the council tax net. Nasty stuff.


WorldbyStorm - April 3, 2013

+1 doctorfive

It’s blatant stuff, and I hope it shows up any remaining cant about the Lib Dems being centre left given that they’ve allowed this to go through.


3. Blissett - April 3, 2013

The distinctions seem to be underpinned that to be middle class (or more specifically to be not working class) is to have a balanced lifestyle, a broad range of interests and a moderately broad social circle. Bizarre


4. doctorfive - April 3, 2013

You have nothing to lose but your chains..and ballet tickets

Seems a lot people believed they were middle class but turned out they are just debt.


5. WorldbyStorm - April 3, 2013

Survey is rubbish, it really is. Your point about a CE being one’s boss is a very good one doctorfive. Though it does say socially, but even still.


6. Liam Cullinane - April 3, 2013

I like how it decided I was an emergent service worker without asking me if I worked in the service sector. Also, the main thing about the poll is the fact that it is extremely revealing of how utterly middle class the people making the questionaire are. For example only South Yorkshire miners watch sports (including everything from third division football to polo) while the thought of the great unwashed enjoying opera or ballet or jazz would shock the sensibilities (and prejudices) of whatever middle class cretin designed this thing. Also, apparently 25% of the British public are in management or the professions. Which sounds like a topheavy economy with five people supervising every rank and file worker or, more likely, complete horseshit.


7. ECL - April 3, 2013

As I noted in Autumn in Tiblisi Stalin stated:

As we know, the goal of every struggle is victory. But if the proletariat is to achieve victory, all the workers, irrespective of class, must be united. Clearly, the demolition of barriers and close unity between the, New affluent workers, Traditional working class and Emergent service workers, and the Precariat, or precarious proletariat, is a necessary condition for the victory of the proletariat of all Russia


8. sonofstan - April 3, 2013

Vaguely relevant – or maybe not – but re comment above about income supplement being the biggest item in the UK SW budget: the IMF review issued today calculated that if you add the ‘involuntary part-time’ workers, and those who are ‘barely employed’ (interns, CE workers etc) to the unemployment total here, you get a figure of 23%, which the IMF bods described as ‘staggering’. I must admit to being a bit of a fan of the way the IMF constantly undermine the government like a particularly sadistic office tyrant picking on the hapless admin. assistant.


doctorfive - April 3, 2013

IMF looking increasingly to the left of the Labour Party as time goes on but smells a lot like good cop-bad cop in the Troika tbh. IMF are the old hand to our European wing after all.

Yesterday’s Novara looked at the welfare reforms in better detail then elsewhere. Really good on the ever creeping disciplinary and surveillance aspects. A Tory masterpiece as I said above. Worth a listen for the commute


this also


Situation is just crazy over there with all the Atos fuckers and the like. Was noise about similar arriving here in the Autumn. Think Joan has rowed back a bit since though only a matter of time. The push to do to welfare what was done to health .


FergusD - April 4, 2013

On the local news here (Midlands UK) there was an item about a a dad, separated from his wife (and mother of his 11 year old son) who was going to be trapped by the changes to housing benefit. He was advised (by Social Worker?) that it wasn’t really suitable when his 11 year old son visited him for 3 days a week in his single bedroom flat and they slept in the same room, that as the lad got older he should have his own room. So they found him a 2 bedroom flat (pretty basic). But now the rule for housing benefit says you only need a separate bedroom if the “child” is over 16, so he will loose a substantial slice of his housing benefit, which he can’t afford to loose, so now he is having to find a single bedroom flat again. Jeez.


CL - April 4, 2013

Speaking of ‘disciplinary and surveillance’ aspects. Add emigration to the 23% IMF figure and unemployment is probably about 25%, easily outpacing the great depression of the 1930s. Yet the IMF is insisting, as part of ‘stuctural adjustment’, on privatised ‘job activation measures’ to further harass and intimidate those without work. And Joan Burton will be implementing these regressive, Reaganite workfare measures,-an appalling vista


doctorfive - April 4, 2013
9. Rydon - April 3, 2013

What a load of tosh and promoted by the BBC. Labelling people is as useful as it was when ‘class ‘ was used to restrict and 50 years later we’re still looking at surveys still advocating it! We need to look at what people do, what use they are to society not what their income is or who they know. Get a life. Good grief we are going backwards.


10. hjfoley - April 4, 2013

Reblogged this on misebogland.


11. eamonncork - April 4, 2013

That’s one seriously silly survey. The mostly As, Bs or Cs quizzes in my eldest daughter’s magazines are models of depth beside it.


12. doctorfive - April 5, 2013

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