# 51 (2013) The classless society
The idea of a classless society is nothing more than a pipedream and if you believe otherwise then you’re kidding yourself. The thing is that, like any animal, mankind has a pecking order and that’s the way it is. In nature this order is simplified and sometimes far more brutal. For mankind it involves a whole range of issues both social and economic. Practically, it is impossible for us to live in a classless society.
Some time ago I read an article about queue jumpers. A clear demonstration that money talks. It’s one of the clearest divisions of class because it buys pretty much everything from physical objects to influence.
Queuing – waiting your turn – is a bugbear of many of us but equally jumping the queue is frowned upon and even if done legitimately still gets the angry eye from those around you. Now you can buy your way to the front of the queue – ‘priority queuing’. Airline passengers have seen this for years, finding their boarding prioritised according to how much they paid for their ticket. And it’s standard practice for many events, theme parks and museums. It’s all about money you see.
Making education open to all was another of these great strategies for banishing class. Many complain that rising fees are making education only available to those that can afford it and whilst I would argue this isn’t strictly the case since student loans are available to pretty much anyone that needs them, it has brought the classless issue back into the news.
Personally I don’t think a society with a social and economic structure is a bad thing. And I’m not just saying that because of my own background. Because in some respects I certainly haven’t always enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. In fact, despite my comfortable upbringing and according to a new BBC class calculator I fall into the two lowest classes in the country the ‘Precariat’ and the ‘Emergent Service Worker’.
This despite having savings and a good level of education. This calculator has quite upset a lot of people. It seems too vague to make a valid decision on your class and has ‘downgraded’ a lot of people. But is it a mistake or is it to do with our shifting class system? Perhaps having up to £25k in savings does put you in the lowest group because on the flipside you don’t go to museums or have solicitors amongst your social group. Maybe that’s the new perception of ‘poor’.
This calculator may be flawed since it’s questions seem very limited but it does suggest class isn’t based on the traditional mediums we are used to. Class is shifting in surprising ways.
Where do you fall in the pecking order and does it even bother you?