There are still classes in the world

Dear Editor,

Shaun Michael Samaroo in his letter dated March 28, 2009, captioned ‘SN editorial accomplishes nothing productive’ himself seems not to have anything constructive to say.

The fact that Guyanese migrate does not reflect that they have developed a “globalist world view.” Guyanese are responding like millions in the rest of the world to push and pull factors. Most of the Guyanese who have migrated still have a strong sense of nationalism and most would probably return if things were a lot better in Guyana. The migration itself is reflexive of stratification. The nationals of poor countries are migrating to the rich countries in order to have a better life because the world is stratified into the rich and the poor. The individual countries are not exempt from the classification of rich and poor − the former being a minority.

Mr Samaroo obscures and distorts social reality when he states that the division of people into ‘elites’ and ‘masses’ is ancient and not something that is present in the real world of today. Even in the USA the concept of classes exists and they speak in terms of upper, middle and lower classes. Others who have criticised Marx speak of ‘cycle of elites’ to counter Marx’s position that upon the ascendance of the working class to power classes would be abolished. Max Weber in his attempt to neutralise Marx’s concept of classes states that classes are determined by education, wealth, status, etc, but even he did not refuse to appreciate that these groups with common positions do exist, even though his position would indeed end up creating confusion in that a person could end up in many classes simultaneously.

The reality is that society is not atomised as Mr Samaroo would like us to accept. That man is a social animal denies that. The fact of acculturation, the fact that we have a concept such as ‘subculture,’ even gangs, denies that.  The statement that we are born equal and should be treated equally is a myth. The man in the street is definitely not on par with Ramphal or the ‘jet set’ or the one per cent of the US population that receives a large percentage of the created wealth of the USA. There is a need for us to seriously examine the concept of class. Such a discussion could prove useful in understanding the real world that we live in and would open the eyes of many who have fallen prey to the concept of an atomised world in which we are free to be what we want to be.

The response by the editor needs to be questioned also. It quotes the editorial which says that we need to consider that “most of us are of humble origin with our roots in slavery and indentureship.” So what? The world started with everyone gathering fruits but the world has been transformed and we had slavery. So our roots are the same but what have we developed into? Some have become businessmen/capitalists, others are workers. We have evolved as a society. I do not deny that the businessman may have worked his rear end off to accomplish what he has. The workers would have worked also.

This does not change the fact that regardless of where they came from they now occupy different positions within the arena of production and they enjoy different types of remuneration, different levels of consumption and consequently different life-styles that would place them in different social catagories. The fact that a worker can and does become a businessman does not and should not mask the transformation.

Today the problems in the USA and the globalised world are not simply a product of individual corruption and greed, but the result of the way the economy is structured, and where people reside in the process of production. The structure determines that the bulk of the income goes to a small percentage which cannot consume what it purchases, and the rest of the masses with a small percentage and the need,  can consume the products that they themselves have produced but do not have the level of income to purchase them. So we have what is known as capitalist overproduction.

There are those who have concluded that classes have become sort of caste-like in today’s world. Some are born with over a billion in assets. I guess they are equal to the man in Regent Street.

Yours faithfully,
Rajendra Bisessar

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