Bryan Caplan  

My Future Calhounian Class Autobio

Global Warming, con't... Class and Poverty...

The most interesting comment I've gotten about class autobiography comes from James at Degrees of Freedom:

I'm not a big fan of this theory of class, largely because it doesn't do what class theories are supposed to do according to the people that take class analysis seriously. From Marx to the present, class theories have been predicated on the view that a person's class more or less determines or at least correlates with what that person believes about a variety of issues...

James suggests that I should have built on Calhoun's class analysis - which emphasizes the conflict between "tax-payers" and "tax-consumers" - instead. I'm not sure that this will be more fruitful than the orthodox approach, but it's worth a try. So, coming soon: Confessions of a Scion of Tax-Consumers.

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COMMENTS (3 to date)
James writes:

Wow! I'm flattered. I'm not sure how much more fruitful a Calhounian approach would be for a libertarian economist at a state institution. Your position is an exceptional one. It will be interesting enough to see.

But for most of's target audience, I think such an approach would be helpful for getting over the bogus notion that antagonistic classes are defined by income levels.

tax-payer writes:

I am not sure the distinction helps to think about the problem. If most people feel that government produces too little economics teaching and research you are probably a net producer.

If most people think government produces too much of whatever it is you produce you are probably a net consumer (of taxes).

liberty writes:

It would be pretty easy to test this Marxist theory with a short survey and a regression.

In the survey get some basics on the class background (combined num,ber of years of education of parents & grandparents, average income of parents during first 20 years of life, etc) and some basics on political philosophy (prefer flat or progressive income tax, belive social programs should be expanded or reduced, believe its governments role to ensure basic income, etc).

But, to do it properly, you'll have to control for where the person lives, rural or urban, state and country, at the very least and also what the parents political philosophy is - eg democrat/republican/socialist and perhaps the person's family faith and some other factors.

I think if you did this, you'd find a much stronger correlation with where the person lives and the philosophy of his parents than you would with his class background.

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