He states: 10Next Page
In so far as our propertied classes are also social classes according to occupation, they are not such because their occupation creates property, but rather because property determines the selection of a vocation....
Every vocation under our industrial organization yields an income; and only the propertied person is in a situation to seek out for himself the more lucrative positions...while the unpropertied person must be content with the inferior positions.
Given a broader interpretation, but in the same spirit, this could read: Members of the higher social classes will enter a given field according to the amount of esteem, prestige, and money which the occupation represents. It is not so much that the occupation gives the person prestige -- rather it is a case of the person lending his social dignity, or lack of it, to the occupation he enters.11 Persons of high standing are likely, more often than not, to aspire to reputable positions with real chance of success. If the work desired requires both social and technical training, those of the higher and middle classes have the social background and the necessary time, patience, persistence, and money to obtain that technical training.
Men with such advantages have tended to monopolize political and colonial offices in the British Empire, for instance. From such groups were the army officers of the Kaiserreich (the first German Reich) chosen. They had the background and social contacts which gave them high status; they prepared themselves by university training and special education for the positions awaiting them.
In an extended debate with Bücher Schmoller 12 argued that the social classes were a product of the division of labor and the accumulation of property. But Bücher answered that "the differences in property and income are not a consequence of the division of labor, rather they are its chief cause." 13 In attempting to prove this, Bücher 14 points out that persons on certain social levels intermarry and have close social ties. As a part of this regular association with each other they tend to hold for each other positions comparable to their social rank. Although their vocations often change from one generation to the next, the rank is likely to remain the same.
10. Carl Bücher, Individual Evolution, tr. S.M. Wickett (New York, 1912) p. 333.
11. Among primitives, trades are rated according to the desire of the different classes to monopolize or to avoid them. In one place the smiths are honored, in another outcast.
12. Gustaf Schmoller, Die Soziale Frage, Klassenbildung, Arbeterfrage, Klassenkampf (Munich, 1918) p. 149.
13. Karl Bücher, Die Enstehung der Volkswirtschaft (Tübingen, 1904) p. 384; translation ours.
14. Ibid., p. 390.