In times of national economic stress bordering on a depression, almost everyone in the nation feels the pinch. A trend develops in which most people begin to rethink their chosen occupation. People scramble to meet the qualifications of job markets they may be unfamiliar with. Families learn how to live new lifestyles that fit their thinning budgets.
When it comes to the classes, the major difference is in the luxuries. The things that consumers once viewed as necessities suddenly fall into the category of “luxury items” that they just can’t afford any more. The members of each class view these things differently. The bottom line is that each of the classes comes closer to remembering what is actually necessary for survival. The rest is just details.
The Internet is abound with stories of people being laid off, losing their homes and having to cut costs in general. To be honest, it may even be gratifying to those in the lower class that have previously been snubbed by members of middle and upper class society. Let’s take a look at the difference in lifestyles below to see why this may be so.
Luxuries for the lower class include some elements that the upper and middle classes may find surprising. For instance, in many houses, meat is a luxury item. The rising cost of food has forced the low income population to live on staples that consist mostly of cheap pastas and starches that can feed everyone, yet provide minimal nourishment.
After school activities are mostly a fantasy that some lower class parents have for their children. In fact, school clothes, shoes and other supplies are often passed from family to family as needed. Even every day items such as toilet paper, shampoo, soap, conditioner and fabric softeners are bought in their cheapest form and some not bought at all. Entire families may even move in together to save on housing and utility costs. Even gas to go anywhere other than work seems to be a luxury item.
The middle class seems to be making some adjustments to their idea of luxuries as well, though this class reflects an entirely different set of concerns. For them, meat is not a luxury item, but dining out is. Some families find themselves canceling after school activities that their children normally attended. Those that cannot afford the homes they live in simply down size to a more affordable home.
School clothing and supplies are still bought. They are simply bought at different stores now. Instead of shopping at specialty stores, many members of the middle class find themselves looking for new resources for affordable quality clothing. Those that are feeling the pinch of gas costs may simply travel less or trade in their late model cars for an even newer, more efficient vehicle.
The breach between the classes is getting even wider, with no end in sight. People are learning to get back to the basics, but still struggle to hold on to the items and attitudes that are synonymous with their class. Maybe the time has come for society in general to take a look at the barriers that separate the classes and remember that the only things that are actually needed for survival are air, food, water and shelter.