- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The New Proletariat

Posted by: R Rockliff on September 10, 1999 at 21:53:17:

I would like to elicit thoughts on what I call the "new proletariat," if anyone finds this concept suggestive or interesting.

The new proletariat is an emerging class (I do not necessarily endorse any particular class theories when I use this term) which, unlike the traditional proletariat, is generally highly educated. This new, and ever growing, class consists of those who are highly educated (in disciplines that are not valued by capitalist societies) but are nevertheless quickly trapped into a form of wage slavery soon after graduation, usually making even less than traditional "blue collar" workers, but unlike the blue collar workers they have the added burden of the expense of their education to pay off. The new proletariat generally works in clerical positions with very long hours for very low wages with very poor benefits, while trying to manage the debt incurred by their education.

How were they lured into this trap? Generally, they have fallen prey to the principle of caveat emptor. They were sold a degree which, though it was expensive, was advertised as a means to provide for themselves in the future, but they were in fact deceived. The modern university is a capitalist enterprise. It sells degrees and makes a profit doing it. Like other things sold in capitalist economies, a degree is almost always worth much less than what the consumer pays for it.

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