Fitting into the Better Spots
Middle and upper social classes also provide distinctive subcultures that prepare class members for specialized functions in society. Middle-class parents seek to impress their children with both the hope of advancement and the fear of dropping to a lower-class status. Thus, of all the social classes, the. middle class is the one most noted for strenuous effort to “getahead.” The upper class need not “make a living” or struggle for status but may feel impelled to justify its status and income through some form of public service. The Roosevelt’s, Rockefellers, Kennedys, and many others are examples. Such patricians often promote social policies which benefit the lower classes. Their political success shows that the masses will accept leaders from the wealthy elite if they appear sensitive to lower-class needs . The upper classes in most countries include the “jet-set,” the idle rich who lead useless lives of dissipation. They may be few, but they are very conspicuous in an era of mass communication, and the envy and resentment they arouse stimulate doubts about the legitimacy of an upper class.