New Internationalist Issue281

Know your place

How are you coping with the class struggle? Answer the questions and add up your score to find out.

(Note: the currency is in US dollars: don't forget to convert
roughly to your local currency where necessary)

Tick the boxes as indicated, and add up your score once you've completed all the questions.


It's not what you make, it's the way that you make it: how do earn your living?

[tick no more than two]
a) Benefits/welfare
b) Monthly Salary
c) Freelance/contracts
d) Weekly Wage
e) Piecework
f) Dividends on shares
g) Interest on deposits
h) Rent
i) Gambling
j) Profits (self-employed)
k) 'Black'/informal economy
l) Commission
m) Royalties
n) Speculation (shares/property/ currency etc...)
o) Begging

How much do you expect your real annual earnings to increase/decrease over the next five years?

[tick one]
a) At least treble
b) Double
c) Increase by about a half
d) Increase by about a third
e) Increase by about a tenth
f) Neither increase nor decrease
g) Decrease

What is the total limit of all the credit and charge cards that you can draw on?

[tick one]
a) More than $30,000
b) $20,001-$30,000
c) $10,001-$20,000
d) $5,001-$10,000
e) $2,501-$5,000
f) $1,001-$2,500
g) Up to $1,000
h) No credit or charge cards

What is the value of money or property you have already inherited or expect to inherit?
[tick one]
a) More than $1,000,000
b) $500,001-$1,000,000
c) $250,001-$500,000
d) $100,001-$250,000
e) $50,001-$100,000
f) $5,001-$50,000
g) less than $5,000
h) nothing

Are you better off than your parents?

[tick one]
a) A lot better off
b) A little wealthier
c) Neither wealthier nor poorer
d) A little poorer
e) A lot poorer

Who paid for it?

[tick one for the single most important funding source]
a)Your parents
b) Your family other than your parents
c) The state ('free')
d)Combination of the above
e) Scholarships /special grants
f) Yourself (working/bank loans)

When did you finish full-
time study?
a) Never started (no school at all)
b) At the legal minimum (usually mid-teens)
c) Before taking degree or equivalent
d) After taking degree or equivalent
e) Never finished (or not yet)

Which of the following do you own?

[tick as many as apply]
a) Home
b) Car
c) Burglar alarm
d) Camcorder
e) Grand piano
f) Horse
g) Jacuzzi
h) Mobile phone
i) Second home
j) Dishwasher
k) Rolex, Cartier or equivalent watch
l) None of these

What do you attend, watch or take part in?

[tick no more than two]
a) Ballet
b) Bingo
c) Bridge
d) Casino gambling
e) Cricket/baseball
f) Golf
g) Horse racing
h) Fox hunting
i) Shooting
j) Opera
k) Pigeon fancying
l) Fishing
m) Polo
n) Sailing
o) Yoga
p) Skiing
q) Soccer
r) Tennis
s) Theatre
t) Boxing
u) Motor racing
v) Jogging
w) Dinner parties
x) Bowling
y) Video games
z) Aerobics
What do you usually drink?

[tick no more than two]
a) Beer
b) Lager
c) Blended whisky/bourbon
d) Cappuccino/filter coffee
e) Champagne
f) Cheap wine
g) Gin and tonic
h) Instant coffee
i) Tea
j) Darjeeling tea
k) Mineral water
l) Sherry
m) Malt whiskey
n) Vodka
o) Vintage wine
p) Cola or similar
What have you done to improve your class position?

[tick as many as apply]
a) Disowned your parents
b) Faked academic qualifications
c) Falsified your resumé/cv
d) Lied about your background
e) Name-dropped people you barely know
f) Sent your children to private school despite your principles
g) Lied about your current status

What are your total earnings from all sources in a typical year?

[tick one]
a) $1,000,000 plus
b) $250,001-$1,000,000
c) $100,001-$250,000
d) $50,001-$100,000
e) $25,001-$50,000
f) $10,001-$25,000
g) $5,001-$10,000
h) less than $5,000

From whom do you take orders?

[tick as many as apply]
a) No-one
b) Superiors at work
c) Shareholders
d) Landlords
e) Parents
f) Customers
g) Anyone

Now add up your score


1 WORK: the most important single indicator of your class status is whether you derive your income (if you have one) as an employee or an owner.

a) 0; b) 30; c) 20; d) 10; e) 5; f) 45; g) 30; h) 40; i) 25; j) 25; k) 5 or 30 (if 'white-collar); l) 25 m) 30; n) 45 o) 0.

2 EXPECTATIONS: ambition counts for a lot, but there's a difference between what you'd ideally want and what you really expect ­p; give yourself marks only for what you're sure is realistic.

a) 30; b) 25; c) 20; d) 15; e) 10; f) 5; g) 0.

3 CREDIT: Your credit rating is a benchmark of your financial status: it's how the system decides where you fit, and it depends in good measure on the 'assets' you possess. Very few people have ever launched themselves up the class hierarchy, or managed to avoid falling back, without ready access to credit.

a) 50; b) 40; c) 30; d) 25; e) 20; f) 15; g) 10; h) 0.

4 INHERITANCE: whatever you may think to the contrary, the 'owning' or ruling class almost always relies on inherited privilege in hard cash for its status, and without it your chances of making headway in the class struggle are very much reduced.

a) 50; b) 40; c) 30; d) 25; e) 20; f) 15; g) 10; h) 0.

5 LIVING STANDARDS: well, even if you're not doing so well, at least if you're better off than your parents you can feel superior to someone and tell yourself you've made it yourself; if you're sliding backwards you'll have to deduct points.

a) 20; b) 10; c) 0; d) -10; e) -20.

6 EDUCATION: 'qualifications' do matter, but little more than the exclusiveness of the education you received and your 'contacts' ­p; the first lesson in class distinction.

1 a) 25; b) 20; c) 5; d) 10; e) 15; f) 10. 2 a) 0; b) 5; c) 10; d) 15; e) 5.

7 POSSESSIONS: ­p; as they say ­p; are nine-tenths of the law. Even at the
bottom of the class pile you probably possess something, but the nearer you get to the top the more important it becomes that what you possess is patently extravagant.

a) 15; b) 10; c) 20; d) 10; e) 25; f) 25; g) 25; h) 10; i) 30; j) 15; k) 25; l) 0.

8 SPARE TIME: having the resources to spend money on 'spare time' or 'entertainment' is pretty important to your status because the company you keep and the tastes you share may decide whether the class you aspire to is willing to accept you as a member.

a) 15; b) 5; c) 15; d) 20; e) 10; f) 15; g) 15; h) 30; i) 25; j) 30; k) 5; l) 10; m) 35; n) 20; o) 20; p) 20; q) 5; r) 15; s) 15; t) 5; u) 10; v) 10; w) 15; x) 5; y) 5; z) 10.

9 DRINKING: hard drinkers may not be too bothered how it comes, but our taste in drinks reflects very closely the class associations they have. Mark yourself only for what you most commonly drink during an ordinary week.

a) 5; b) 5; c) 15; d) 15; e) 20; f) 10; g) 15; h) 5; i) 5; j) 15; k) 10; l) 15; m) 20; n) 10; o) 20; p) 5.

10 HOW FAR ARE YOU PREPARED TO GO?: You can pick up a lot of points here, for trying. Award yourself 10 points for each one.

11 EARNINGS: in the end, there's no getting away from it - the amount of hard cash you pocket on a regular basis is more important than anything else in determining the 'capital' you are able to accumulate, or otherwise, and thus your class position.

a) 80; b) 60; c) 50; d) 40; e) 30; f) 20; g) 10; h) 0.

12 AUTHORITY: deduct 5 for every one you tick, except a), and deduct 10 if you ticked g).

Now add up your points:

MY SCORE......................

This test is just a bit of fun and not 'scientific' at all. But marketing executives around the world spend a great deal of time and money thinking about class: about who to 'target' and how to appeal to different 'segments' of the market: and it works! They routinely use the following classifications:

Points score needed to belong to:
A: Aristocracy/ruling - 501+
B: Upper middle - 301 to 500
C1: Middle - 151 to 300
C2: Working/lower - 51 to 150
D/E: Underclass - less than 50

Acknowledgement: Greg Hadfield and Mark Skipworth, Class: Where do you stand? Bloomsbury, London, 1994.

New Internationalist issue 281 magazine cover This article is from the July 1996 issue of New Internationalist.
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