America's Secret Caste System

We tend to think of the class system as money thing. Rich people are high-class, poor people are of a lower class, and those things can change with the purchase of a lottery ticket or one bad financial investment. But that common understanding of class in America is not really how things work.

Think of how many lottery winners are bankrupt within years because they overspend on frivolous things that would seem impressive to their own class. That explains Donald Trump's rise to political power. He's basically the lower class idea of wealth: he owns golf courses and casinos, has his name on everything, and is obsessed with gold. To your Vanderbilts or Rockefellers, he's a clown, but to lower class people, his lifestyle is something to strive for.

On this week's episode Jack O'Brien and Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) take a deep dive into how we perceive class in America, what most people get wrong about it, and the surprising ways class is confused with race.


Siderea on Economic and Social Class in America

Slate Star Codex's Entry Summarizing Siderea's Piece

Slate Star Codex: I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup

The Atlantic's Review of 'Class: A Guide Through The American Status System'

Throw on your headphones and click play above, go here to subscribe on iTunes, or download it here.

Make sure to buy tickets to our next live podcast taping on Saturday, April 9th at 7pm at the UCB Sunset Theatre in Los Angeles. The topic? Unknown Badasses: the epic sequel to our 2014 podcast "Epic Lives of People You've Never Heard Of". Jack O'Brien and Michael Swaim will be joined onstage by the Cracked Staff for a Gladiator-like competition to find out who was the most hardcore tough-guy (or tough-gal) relegated to the footnotes of history. Tickets are only $5 and you can purchase them here.

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