Answer Key for In Class Writing Exercise #1 (Marx)

1) What are the two classes according to Marxist theory? (5 points)

They are the labor class and the capitalist class, also known as the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, respectively.

2. In a short paragraph: Compare the mobility (in terms of class and/or income) possible in feudal society and the modern capitalist society. Please talk about what actually happens in capitalist society, not about the ideal ( you need not give specific numbers, just talk about the trends). (10 points)

Mobility was next to impossible in feudal society; you were pretty much born into your class. While capitalist society has no laws to prevent mobility up and down the class scale, in practice it may not be easy. Your book noted that less than half, but a significant number of people move up in the income scale, relative to where their parents were. Most people do not move very far up the scale, either. They may move up one notch, but it is rare to move from the very bottom to the very top.

3. Why do Marxist theorists think mobility is difficult in modern capitalist society? Please give some specific examples. (10 points)

Marxist theorists talk about lots of issues. The reading focused on "cultural capital" the idea that you need to be raised with the"right manners" to fit in with higher income class people. Also, wealthy parents can spend more money on their children, which certainly gives them an advantage over poor children. Health, and the ability to pay for medical care or live in safe neighborhoods is also harder to come by for lower income class families.

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