Sunday, October 12, 2008

The well off liberal or bourgeois view of the working class in America

I speak from experience here. Class segregation is extreme in the U.S. and people who aren't working class tend to the world divided into two camps: people like them and people who work at McDonalds or some other low wage low prestige environment, who they can then laugh at and figure that they got what they deserved for being stupid. The idea of people who have more skills than that, putting the McDonalds worker aside for a second, who do valuable work, but who don't make as much money as your typical bourgeois liberal is something that never crosses their mind. College and its value or lack of value is constantly debated, with the attendant fear of being mediocre despite having credentials, but the value of someone who knows a trade and uses that trade every working day, who regularly provides a concrete useful service, is either denied or avoided as a topic. I mean, if these folks work hard doing something that I don't have the skills to do, while either I or someone else sits in an office doing marginal work that has little to do with what I'm really interested in, and I make more money than they do....how is that right? It isn't. Ding Ding Ding! You win the prize.

*on edit: living in Seattle I have to point out the huge disparity between how IT workers are treated by their bosses and how regular workers are. I know some people in IT out here and they've described to me how their employers pamper them and piss money at them in efforts to stimulate creativity. One person in all honesty talked about how on Fridays employees who were members of bands in their spare time are invited to bring their guitars in and play for the benefit of the rest of the company. Everything short of being served grapes by half naked women while reclining on couches in the manner of Roman Emperors seems to be done.

On the other hand, work conditions for people with regular jobs in Seattle are similar to how they are in the rest of the country. This meaning that instead of having gifts for creativity showered on them workers get chewed out if their work falls one degree below that of absolute perfection, which instead of leading to brainstorming and processing to find out what was wrong frequently can lead to being fired. Are the jobs that the IT people do so much more valuable that they justify all of this excess, and are working class jobs so inferior that they justify the complete opposite?

I don't think so. It comes back to the bourgeois-worker divide, where the people in power shower their comrades with money but punish those who they consider inferior to them.

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