Proletarianization of the Middle Class

Marxism holds that the middle class will eventually disappear, as the world is polarized between a few large business owners and the masses of the proletariat.  Small and independent businesses would disappear, and most of the middle class would be pedestrianized.  The middle class was always a sticking point for Marx, and there is some question whether this is really prediction or wishful thinking.  I say wishful thinking, because Marx knew that he could not achieve his socialist end-state with a middle class in place -- he had to drive the middle class into the proletariat.

In a large sense, that is what was are seeing at the Democratic Convention -- the effort to convince the middle class that, against all reason and reality, they are actually not well-off, that they are marginalized victims.  It is an attempt to pedestrianize the middle class.  Thus we get this classic quote from Rahm Emanuel, via Matt Welch:

The truth is, the Bush crowd has been giving the middle
class a thumping. This November, the middle class is going to give it
right back. This election comes down to a simple question: do we want
four more years of Bush-McCain or do we want the change we need?

There
is only one candidate from the middle class, that understands the
middle class, and that can deliver the change the middle class needs:
Barack Obama. A strong economy depends on a strong middle class. But
George Bush has put the middle class in a hole and John McCain has a
plan to keep digging that hole with George Bush's shovel.

  • dearieme

    I loathe Marx as much as the next man, but I don't remember his having views on pedestrianization. I can recommend a visit to the Karl Marx Haus in Trier; he grew up in considerable bourgeois comfort. Insofar as he grew up at all.

  • Phil

    The 'middle class' talked about today is not the middle class in a classical economic sense. This page suggests Marx may have been more correct than you think.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    This isn’t limited to this “convention” (i.e. sales gathering).

    These people have been trumpeting this economic crap for 6 years now, and most of it is completely false.

    The actual truth is Rahm Emanuel and his econ-flunkie brethren have exactly zero knowledge of economics and therefore shouldn't be talking about it.

  • Micah

    I take it you didn't watch the "McCain and Obama go to Saddleback" thing from a few weeks ago?

    Obama said that anybody who makes less than 150k is poor.

  • Zach

    "There is only one candidate from the middle class, that understands the middle class, and that can deliver the change the middle class needs: Barack Obama."

    "Obama said that anybody who makes less than 150k is poor."

    So I guess when his wife got that $300k/yr position at a Chicago hospital they were still "middle class". How can anybody trust any words that come out of his mouth?

  • Mesa Econoguy

    I can hardly wait for Yoshalist’s response after Obamer’s speech…..

  • John David Galt

    Why would it need to be either prediction or wishful thinking?

    The Democrats *intend* to impoverish the middle class, by creating artificial shortages of both housing and fuel, so that soon, only the rich will be able to afford to drive or to have nice homes. The rest of us riff-raff can go live in crowded apartment towers and commute to work on public transit. We're simply too *common* to be allowed to live next door to the likes of Al Gore, Ted Turner, or Dianne Feinstein.

    This is the real purpose of the scam known as urban planning. (And I'll bet a lot of the old racial segregationists still back it for that reason, too.)

    An environmentalist is someone willing to believe that the rich politicians who impose this scam on us are doing it to "save the earth", rather than to satisfy their own personal greed and elitism without having to pay out of their own pockets for the land they "protect".

  • http://www.raygardner.typepad.com/ Ray G

    It's not so much a Marxist invention or something specific to the convention or this campaign, but it is organic to what socialism is in general.

    Leaving out some details of course, what his socialist-end state requires is a stripping away of equality, to be replaced by equal outcome.

    The middle-class - in whatever era definition one chooses to subscribe to - stands in the way to this absolute necessity of equal outcome.

    It's one thing to get Joe Sixpack to vote for some hair-brained populism, but it's quite another to convince him to give up his late model Ford F-250, plasma TV, and weekends on the lake so that the looters down the street can feel better about themselves and their self-imposed misery.

  • fletch

    Phil-

    This page suggests Marx may have been more correct than you think.

    You just linked to a page that uses "the anarchy of capitalist production" in a non-satirical manner.

    Here's even more abject idiocy...

    Summary

    Karl Marx dedicated most of his life to the analysis of capitalism One of the major questions which he addressed was whether or not capitalism would improve the material life of the working majority of the world's population in any measure proportional to capitalism's obvious ability to increase our productive capacity.

    Meanwhile, I am a 44 yr old HS grad whose most impressive job title was "Lead-Receiving Dock" -where I made $12.50/hr in 1992.

    Yet, I'm currently sitting in my air-conditioned condo communicating with you through my computer on the internet(my computer has more 'power' than the entire US govt. used putting humans on the moon 40 yrs ago)- while the Republican Pres. convention is playing on my 52" LCD HDTV in the background.

    Should I mention that I recently rolled my "horseless carriage" at an 'inconceivable' velocity (65 MPH) to any 19th century denizen-and I suffered an injury that was well known- but completely irreparable in 1860? In 2006, an Indian doctor sliced my arm open, 'reset' my elbow and wrist, bolted a titanium plate onto my fractured ulna to hold it in place, then stapled me up.

    I personally think my "material life" has advanced quite nicely when compared to Marx's existance... I can even afford to shower everyday!

  • leemark

    Marxism holds that the middle class will eventually disappear.Now days the middle class also enjoying like rich class.Marxism said all the things about middle class,it's true but Obama said that anybody who makes less than 150k is poor.
    -------------------------------------------
    lee
    California Dui