What is the difference between a working class, and working classes?


Essentially, members of the working class work in unskilled or semiskilled professions for wages which are typically lower. MORE?

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working class

The working class (or lower class, labouring class, sometimes proletariat) are those employed in lower tier, subordinate jobs. These typically include blue-collar jobs, but also include large amounts of white collar and service work. The working class subsists on wages, by working for others, because it does not own independent means of income generation. The working class therefore includes a large majority of the population in industrialized economies, of the urban areas of non-industrialized economies, and also a significant sector of the rural workforce worldwide. The working class generally includes all of those possessing below-average incomes, but may also include layers that earn high incomes.

In Marxist theory and socialist literature, working class is often used synonymously with the term proletariat, and includes all those who expend either mental or physical labor to produce economic value, or wealth in non-academic terms, for those who own means of production. It thus includes knowledge workers and white collar workers who work for a salary. Since wages can be very low, and since the state of unemployment is by definition a lack of independent means of income generation and a lack of waged employment, the working class also includes the extremely poor and unemployed, which are sometimes called the lumpenproletariat.


Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are terms that cover work in philosophy that is strongly influenced by Karl Marx's materialist approach to theory or that is written by Marxists. It may be broadly divided into Western Marxism, which drew out of various sources, and the official philosophy in the Soviet Union, which enforced a rigid reading of Marx called dialectical materialism, in particular during the 1930s.

The phrase "Marxist philosophy" itself does not indicate a strictly defined sub-field of philosophy, because the diverse influence of Marxist theory has extended into fields as varied as aesthetics, ethics, ontology, epistemology, theoretical psychology and philosophy of science, as well as its obvious influence on political philosophy and the philosophy of history. The key characteristics of Marxism in philosophy are its materialism and its commitment to political practice as the end goal of all thought.

Social class (or simply "class"), as in a class society, is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle, and lower classes.

Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, and social historians. However, there is not a consensus on the best definition of the term "class", and the term has different contextual meanings. In common parlance, the term "social class" is usually synonymous with "socio-economic class," defined as "people having the same social, economic, or educational status," e.g., "the working class"; "an emerging professional class." The precise measurements of what determines social class in society has varied over time. According to philosopher Karl Marx, 'class' is determined entirely by one's relationship to the means of production, the classes in modern capitalist society being the "proletarians": those who work but do not own the means of production, and the "bourgeoisie": those who invest and live off of the surplus generated by the latter.


In the social sciences a social group has been defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity. Other theorists, however, are a wary of definitions which stress the importance of interdependence or objective similarity. Instead, for researchers in the social identity tradition "a group is defined in terms of those who identify themselves as members of the group". Regardless, social groups come in a myriad of sizes and varieties. For example, a society can be viewed as a large social group.


Labor aristocracy or labour aristocracy (also aristocracy of labor) has three meanings: as a term with Marxist theoretical underpinnings, as a specific type of trade unionism, and as a shorthand description by revolutionary industrial unions (such as the Industrial Workers of the World) for the bureaucracy of craft-based business unionism.

Manual labour

Manual labour (manual labor in American English) or manual work is physical work done by people, most especially in contrast to that done by machines, and also to that done by working animals. It is most literally work done with the hands (the word "manual" comes from the Latin word for hand), and, by figurative extension, it is work done with any of the muscles and bones of the body. For most of human prehistory and history, manual labour and its close cousin, animal labour, have been the primary ways that physical work has been accomplished. Mechanisation and automation, which reduce the need for human and animal labour in production, have existed for centuries, but it was only starting in the 19th century that they began to significantly expand and to change human culture. To be implemented, they require that sufficient technology exist and that its capital costs be justified by the amount of future wages that they will obviate.

Although nearly any work can potentially have skill and intelligence applied to it, many jobs that mostly comprise manual labour—such as fruit and vegetable picking, manual materials handling (for example, shelf stocking), manual digging, or manual assembly of parts—often may be done successfully (if not masterfully) by unskilled or semiskilled workers. Thus there is a partial but significant correlation between manual labour and unskilled or semiskilled workers. Based on economic and social conflict of interest, people may often distort that partial correlation into an exaggeration that equates manual labour with lack of skill; with lack of any potential to apply skill (to a task) or to develop skill (in a worker); and with low social class. Throughout human existence the latter has involved a spectrum of variants, from slavery (with stigmatisation of the slaves as "subhuman"), to caste or caste-like systems, to subtler forms of inequality.


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