class polarization

class polarization

(MARXISM) the tendency for the inherently conflicting interests of the two main classes within CAPITALISM to result in an increasing consciousness of these differences, with the two classes eventually becoming opposing camps. According to Marx, this process comes about as the result of the tendency for the proletariat to experience ‘immiseration’ under capitalism, while at the same time also being thrown together in situations which will encourage collective action, e.g. in large factories and towns (see CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS). As part of this polarization, classes which stand in various INTERMEDIATE CLASS locations within capitalism also tend to be drawn into one camp or the other, mostly into the ranks of the proletariat, as tendencies to crisis within capitalism intensify.

It is obvious that Marx's hypothesis has not been borne out, at least in any straightforward way, partly because immiseration has not occurred on the scale Marx expected and also because class interests, and the foundations of class consciousness, are far more complex than he anticipated (see CLASS IMAGERY). On the other hand, a broadly class-based form of politics has become the norm within most Western liberal democracies (see POLITICAL CLEAVAGE, STABLE DEMOCRACY), despite some suggestions that CLASS DEALIGNMENT had removed this, and although the issue is much complicated by the continued existence of ‘intermediate classes’ (see also VOTING BEHAVIOUR).

Polarization, on a world scale, between rich and poor nations, is a further element of class polarization which can either be handled in terms of Marxian conceptions, or seen as involving a fundamental departure from his schemas (see DEPENDENCY THEORY, WALLERSTEIN).

References in periodicals archive ?
These photos register the transformations in the political economy of the region over a period marked by rising real estate prices and class polarization.
In the normative chapters, Murray finally reveals his dystopian conclusion: class polarization is threatening the "American project.
China in Ten Words depicts a morally compromised nation, plagued by escalating unemployment, class polarization and endemic corruption and waste.
They detail the moment when America began to be restructured from a nation committed to shared prosperity to one of increasing class polarization.
It spoke to a cumulative pain that reaches back to the late seventies when the late President Anwar Sadat turned Egypt into a pro-western government and introduced "the open-door economic policies" that deepened class polarization and produced a wealthy elite of "fat cats" that thrived on corruption and exploitation.
This section also examines the impact of globalization on income equality, class polarization, and the welfare state.
Though still low by world standards, class polarization in American voting patterns is increasing and has never been higher than in recent years.
In a separate chapter devoted entirely to the Communist-Socialist split, he is able to demonstrate convincingly that the degree of class polarization in the countryside is easily the strongest "objective" predictor of whether or not a country will, even generations later, have a strongly-rooted Communist Party.
The class polarization pits youth, workers, farmers, salaried employees and professionals against the financial and industrial ruling classes.
I agree with Eisenstein that we have to put the evolution of the women's movement in the context of the class polarization, and the political shift to the right, that has taken place in the United States over the last several decades.
This class polarization, however, has not been associated with a major political reaction in America.