Essay on What defines an individual’s social class?

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What defines an individual’s social class? How many social classes are there and is it possible to move and change the social class that a person is born into? Max Weber, Karl Marx and Robert Purrucci and Earl Wysong have all, to some extent, answered these questions, although in some respects they are different they also share many similarities. Marx and Purrucci and Wysong believe there are only two social classes, while Weber believes there are an intermediate number. There are in fact five social classes that allow mobility among classes, in addition the following will be used to determine an individual’s social class: occupation, income, wealth, education and status. “People with common occupations, earning approximately similar…show more content…
“Income does not confer prestige,” (Davis and Moore 81) because, although income contributes to an individual’s social class, it only has substance if he or she has “a stable job and income.” (Purrucci and Wysong 153) A loss of a job or change in pay can allow a person to move up or down in social class. “The potential to accumulate wealth is very great among certain segments of professionals.” (Purrucci and Wysong 148) Wealth, like income, attributes to inequality in the United States and the more income an individual makes the more potential they have to have an excess of money, to put away for future endeavors unlike the hourly minimum wage worker. The high up an individual is in the company they are more likely to, “receive substantial salaries and bonuses along with additional opportunities to accumulate wealth.” (147) These individuals are “applying their resources to secure and sustain their place at the top,” (Marger 52) because the inequality of wealth is only growing between the rich and the poor, with the top twenty percent owning eighty-four percent of the entire wealth in the United States. Companies seem to give incentives for their top business professionals to acquire wealth, while the less desired employees are not given those same opportunities.
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