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Between the two major political parties the Democrats and the Republicans there are only relatively minor ideological differences with the former leaning slightly more to the liberal side while the latter are more conservative though neither articulates anything near resembling class politics This has led to much speculation among scholars as to why this could be the case The United States has roughly six social classes Upper class New money Middle class white-collar class Working class blue-collar class Working poor and Poverty level America is mainly a middle class society with an individualistic culture high levels of social mobility and equality of opportunity which are prized over collective action America does not have a feudal past from which class cleavages can be drawn America is the richest industrialized nation in the world and therefore has an overall higher standard of living which minimizes any potential for class action The American working class is divided sharply along ethnic and racial lines The American two-party system makes it difficult for radical political parties to develop However despite this lack of class politics the US continues to experience some of the most exacerbated income and wealth inequalities in the industrialized world with the gap between the rich and the poor growing over the past thirty years In addition the proportion of the population living in poverty according to official figures is at around 14-16 percent McKay op cit27 This raises the question as to the nature of class in the United States and as to how the US class structure is reflected in mainstream politics Your position in the social world determines what you can see The project of 19th century thought was to find a point from where to look at the world and see its social relations unaffected by the observers position They were based mainly on ideals of political equality and democracy rather than on lines of class race or religion Thus from the beginning
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