America Today: Class

Question: Is the class system dead?

 

David Patrick Columbia: Well it does appear now that money is the only arbiter in the class system. But the class system is – let’s call it the hierarchy – always exists. And you see that in any social group. If you’re an American, you see that in school. You see that in high school. You see that in college. And you see that in the office. So it’s just there. And basically what it is, is there are personalities that dominate over other personalities.

 

Question: What is the difference between old money and new?

 

David Patrick Columbia: The people who we’ve always regarded as old wealth now regard themselves as not having very much money at all. I hear people say, “Well she doesn’t have that much money. She only has $30 million.” Or, “She only has $50 million.” Or, “He only has $40 million.” A woman I know told me she felt she’s very middle class because she only had $10 million.

I didn’t ask her how much she had, but she was telling me about how she was so astounded and awed by the wealth around her that she realized that she was middle class. And I said, “Actually you’re just deluded because I think of one million as a lot.” I don’t have anything near that myself. It’s kind of all “funny money” time. And so the people who have the old wealth who were once considered very wealthy are just, in terms of numbers, not as wealthy anymore. But their point of view about wealth is often very, very different from the people who have new wealth who have acquired it very quickly.

 

Conducted on: October 29, 2007

 

The difference between old money and new.

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

What would happen if America defaulted on its debt?

Sure we know it would be bad, but what do all of these scary numbers really mean?

Politics & Current Affairs
  • At the press time, the value was $21.7 trillion dollars.
  • Lots of people know that a default would be bad, but not everybody seems to get how horrible it would be.
  • While the risk is low, knowing what would happen if a default did occur is important information for all voters.
Keep reading Show less