Essentially, the economic standing of individuals in today’s society labels the individuals in specific classes as well as exploits social classes through popular culture via social media outlets. These include shows like Jersey Shore and The Kardashians. Therefore, one can argue that people in different economic situations are placed in different social classes with different opportunities available to them. These people can exploit the social networks available to them in the advancement of their prospects. For example, people within a specific social class can use the contacts within their classes, or they can exploit the social media outlets using their social standing. The trend is seen with the Kardashians during one interview with Larry King, where the Kardashians used paparazzi’s to make money. This involved the use of their socioeconomic standing and their status as a source of further prosperity by commercializing their lifestyle. Indeed, one’s economic standing in the society can label the individual in a specific class, and again enable the person to exploit social classes through the use of popular culture using social media outlets.
Social class refers to a category or group of persons with definite status in society that permanently determines their relations with other groups. This definition emphasizes on the economic aspects such as income, power, lifestyle and prosperity as some of the major determinants of class, pointing to the objectivity of a class’ existence as put by Carl Max. One such definition is the definition of social class by its relationship with the means of production. An example is a modern capitalist society where society will be divided into two classes namely, the bourgeoisie, who are the owners of the means of production necessary to reproduce in society, and the proletariat (Macionis & Plummer, 2012).In this case, the proletariats are those people who lack means of production. This brings forward the argument that ownership of a property is a critical factor in the determinations of an individual’s life chances. An important note is that in such cases, the sense of status becomes important in making a class distinction and is maintained by economic, political and social power and the characteristic modes of life associated with them.
Social class distinctions have clear implications on the lives of most Americans today given its central part in the determination of the opportunities and privileges available to an individual. In essence, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds have different opportunities at their disposal despite the authorities improvements on the social structures in America to benefit the people as a whole. It is evident that many people in America are at a disadvantage owing to their social class. In education, for example, individuals having attained only the lower levels of education and the uneducated people earn lower incomes as compared to individuals with a graduate degree. However, it can be seen that the higher the social status, the more the potentials, education and work opportunities available to an individual. Economically and socially privileged individuals in the upper classes remain at an advantage as compared to those in lower classes. The class of an individual consequently determines many other factors that are affected or are caused by their being in a particular class.
The relationship between social class and well-being remains persistent even in the twenty-first century. Those in distinctive classes not only have different opportunities but also have different gender relations and social positions for individuals at different ages in the community. However, social inequalities will mean that gender differences within a class remain of little significance within the classes. It would be observed that a male individual from a low social class is likely to face the same problems as his female counterpart within the same class.
Michaels finds that the economic collapse just comes to show how ignorant the literary world is today about social inequalities and that with capitalism we may be at the start of a new ideological warfare (Walter, 2009). With the collapse of socialism after the world war and the subsequent emergence of liberal democracy and capitalism, America has seen increased widening of the gap between the upper class and the lower class of people in society. The widening of this gap can be attributed to the fact that capitalism leads to the concentration of capital, employment, wealth and power to only a few people in an economy. This leaves the proletariats to few options for employment for income or other negative means such as robbing and begging.
Critics also argue that another down side to capitalism is that it leads to the destruction of economic freedom despite the fact that the opposite is expected of it (Piper, 2006). This comes as a result of the concentration of power and wealth to individuals and corporations. An example is a case of firms with monopsony power may choose to pay smaller wages to their employees while retaining great amounts of profit for themselves. Such would result in the widening of gaps between the social classes. The argument that capitalism leads to total economic and political freedom is challenged. A demonstration of this is seen where the people have the freedom to elect their political leaders but not their immediate bosses in the privately owned firms. These firms and corporations being some of the greatest influences of policies made and the fact that most of the individual time for most people being spent at work by these corporations.
Summarily, economic standing of individuals, in today’s capitalist society has great influence in the determination of the social class of an individual. As a result the opportunities that the distinct classes present to them will be different.