A discerning critic might re-phrase the foregoing in these words:Next Page
The key to a person's economic condition is best found in the social class into which he was born. His social position determines the occupation for which he fits himself or which he has a chance of entering after training. The social class condition in which he is reared is an index to his mode of life and to his educational training. From it we infer, certainly, the sort of people whom he meets on equal terms; and it is his background, not his present economic condition, which is most likely to limit his choice of mate, etc.
This debate runs through the literature on social classes, in one form or another, and the reader will have to decide which argument has the more cogency, the economic or the socio-psychological explanation of causation.
Gumplowicz takes his place alongside the economic determinists in saying that "a man's behavior is determined immediately by his economic status, which constrains him to follow a certain mode of life and awakens the corresponding mental conditions within him." 6
Marshall 7 divides class from social class by associating the former with production and the latter with consumption. Veblen's well known theory of modern hierarchies of prestige is in terms of conspicuous consumption rather than in terms of "relationship to the instruments of production," the Marxian formula. A recent textbook in sociology, however, states that a "social class is an economic group whose members are alike in their relations to the process of getting a living." 8
Few social theorists still hold this view; Mombert, Speier, Ginsberg, MacIver, Mess, Vablen, and many others have directly or indirectly refuted it.
Max Weber synthesizes the economic aspect and the socio-psychological factors in the making of status groups. He lists: "(1) the possession of economic means, (2) the external standard of living, (3) cultural and recreational possibilities." 9 As a matter of descending importance, the order should perhaps be reversed. Social contracts might come first, conspicuous consumption second, and the possession of wealth third.
Occupational and social hierarchies. Since Many writers have used the terms occupational hierarchy and social hierarchy synonymously, there must be a relationship between the two hierarchies. Complete identicalness has been discredited by theorists, and although an adequate formula of the exact relationship is difficult to invent, attempt is made here to do so.
Bücher discerned the close relationship between the status of the individual and his choice of an occupation. The inference here is that the status determines the vocation of one's choice quite as much as the vocation determines the status of the individual later in life.
6. Ludwig Gumplowicz, The Outlines of Sociology, tr. Albion Small (Philadelphia, 1899) p. 163.
7. T.H. Marshall, "Social Class -- A Preliminary Analysis," in the Sociological Review, vol. XXVI (January, 1934) p. 62
8. Charles Horton Cooley, Robert Cooley Angell, and Lowell Juillard Carr, Introductory Sociology (New York, 1933) p. 287.
9. According to Paul Mombert, "Class," Ency. of the Social Sciences, vol. III (New York, 1937) p. 532.