class [klas, klahs]
7. a social stratum sharing basic economic, political, or cultural characteristics, and having the same social position: Artisans form a distinct class in some societies.

working class
1. those persons working for wages, especially in manual labor.

lower class [loh-er]
1. a class of people below the middle class, having the lowest social rank or standing due to low income, lack of skills or education, and the like.
2. (broadly) working class.

middle class
1. a class of people intermediate between the classes of higher and lower social rank or standing; the social, economic, cultural class, having approximately average status, income, education, tastes, and the like.
2. the class traditionally intermediate between the aristocratic class and the laboring class.

upper class
1. a class of people above the middle class, having the highest social rank or standing based on wealth, family connections, and the like.

4. the wealth, whether in money or property, owned or employed in business by an individual, firm, corporation, etc.
6. any form of wealth employed or capable of being employed in the production of more wealth.
From Latin capitālis “of the head” (capit-, stem of caput head, + -ālis -al).

[kap-i-tl-iz-uh m]
1. an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.
Woodchuck Words. an economic system that concentrates ownership of the means of production and exchange and excludes most people from being able to fully participate in the marketplace without the interference of monopolies.

free market
1. an economic system in which prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses, without government regulation or fear of monopolies.
Woodchuck Words. a market in which ownership of the means of production and exchange is broadly distributed and most people are able to participate both as producers and consumers of goods and services with little interference from government and/or monopolies; synonymous with friendly market.


wage [weyj]
1. Often, wages. money that is paid or received for work or services, as by the hour, day, or week.
Compare living wage, minimum wage.
2. Usually, wages. Economics. the share of the products of industry received by labor for its work (as distinct from the share going to capital).

living wage
1. a wage on which it is possible for a wage earner or an individual and his or her family to live at least according to minimum customary standards.

minimum wage
1. the lowest wage payable to employees in general or to designated employees as fixed by law or by union agreement.

wage slave
1. a person who works for a wage, especially with total and immediate dependency on the income derived from such labor.

Iron Law of Wages
noun, Economics
1. the doctrine or theory that wages tend toward a level sufficient only to maintain a subsistence standard of living.
Also called Brazen Law of Wages. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.

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