The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy.
The term 'middle class' is used by Marxists -including Marx and Engels themselves- in two different ways:
- Firstly, in the historical sense, in the sense of the French word bourgeoisie that possessing class which is differentiated from the aristocracy.
- Secondly, when speaking of modern capitalist society, with the meaning of petty bourgeoisie.
Modern American usage
In contemporary American usage the middle class also includes a privileged section of the "proletariat," for example "high-paying middle class jobs" means well-paid industrial jobs with generous benefits. American politicians of all stripes appeal to the "middle class" for support, although occasionally the formulation "middle and working class" is used. This in a nation where 70% of the population is working class by any fair definition. There are a number of other conventions of political rhetoric which are used in the United States to avoid direct reference to working class interests and organizations in a direct way, notably progressive which, in contemporary usage displaces nearly all specific references to leftist political organizations.
World Bank definition
From a global perspective the World Bank defines middle class as those those who spend $2 to $20 a day. One World Bank researcher speaks of a “developing world’s middle class” and a “Western middle class”.
- Friedrich Engels: Preface to The Condition of the Working Class in England: From Personal Observation and Authentic Sources', in: Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: 'Collected Works', Volume 4; Moscow; 1975; p. 304.
- Marxism and Class: Some Definitions. A paper from the Communist League (Britain).
- Sara Schonhardt. "As Indonesia Grows, Discontent Sets in Among Workers", December 26, 2011. Retrieved on December 27, 2011.
- "The Developing World’s Bulging (but Vulnerable) “Middle Class” Martin Ravallion, The World Bank Development Research Group Director's Office January 2009, accessed December 27, 2011 "The “developing world’s middle class” is defined here as those who are not poor when judged by the median poverty line of developing countries, but are still poor by US standards. The “Western middle class” is defined as those who are not poor by US standards. Although barely 80 million people in the developing world entered the Western middle class over 1990-2002, economic growth and distributional shifts allowed an extra 1.2 billion people to join the developing world’s middle class."