The title of this book is misleading. When an educated reader sees it, they tend to expect explanations of the different social classes and how they are stratified – all of that in empirical ways.
Yet it appears to be that this book is marred by philosophical reflection on the topic, that is, what the authors of the different chapters (this book is a collection of certain authors’ works among which is the Communist Manifesto), generally know about the rich and the poor. One example is Eric Olin Wright’s explanation of “what social class is in America.” He concludes that there are economic factors as basic characteristics of social status, and goes on to point out the importance of education in the individual’s social status, as if most readers are not aware of both.
Another example is the charts and tables that appear here and there throughout the book, such as the trade-off chart on page 158 which explains how the capitalist class is able to earn income even without working, as opposed to the middle class and the working class, a point usually made only by a person who has never owned a business in their lifetime (which is what a capitalist is) and also furiously envies and hates successful and hardworking businessmen.
It is not even hard for me to criticize these charts and tables because most of them are not taken from any data but are merely applications of a certain left-wing social theory. The works contained in the book oversimplify an apparently complex social system with Marxist, Weberian and other left-wing theories, without even supporting these theories’ claims with hard evidence.
This book is good for nothing beyond explaining social theories which technically makes it useless. It doesn’t answer which theory is right but merely the rationale behind a specific theory, which can easily be explained in one page or less, instead of two hundred and fifty.