Everyone in Australia Thinks That They Are Middle Class

Essay by XykonUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, June 2004

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The Australian population tends to be incessantly labelled as 'larrikins' and 'easy goers'. However, these superficial assertions seem to be drifting further away from the true characteristics of the typical Australian. Terms like 'aggressive', 'struggling', and 'unhappy' are becoming more feasible when describing Australia's average earning 'middle class'. This is evidenced by the 'Middle Australia' review, which found that over 50% of people surveyed in 1996 felt that their quality of life was declining, while just below 40% believed it was getting better (Pusey in Norton 2003). Whilst the true reasons are debatable, it is clear to say that the middle class of Australia is undergoing some significant changes in the new millennium. In this essay, I examine notions of what middle class in Australia really means and why many Australians don't consider themselves to be solely middle class, contrary to what many may think.

It was Karl Marx who first asked the question, 'how are classes formed'? He also wrote about middle and working class people being exploited by a capitalist regime.

His argument was based around workers generating large sums of money for an employer using their 'labour power', but only getting a diminutive portion of the profit, which is very unfair to the worker who has done all the hard manual labour. The famous theorist also states that there are no clear lines between the classes, since it is possible for an individual to aver more than one class position (Marx 1959, p.886). With this being the case, it would seem that most Australians would categorise themselves in the middle class because they generally earn 'enough' money to support themselves. In addition, they would fall into the 'working class' because most are still exploited by a capitalist superior. This is evidenced by a response in the 'Social...