According to elite neoliberalism, the US and Western Europe today are imperfect meritocracies divided chiefly by race and gender, and not by class.

Anyone whose career does not depend on affirming this narrative can see through it. It is obvious that class conflicts have set the North Atlantic world ablaze. But what are the classes?

In The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite (2020), building on my argument in The Next American Nation (1995), I offered an answer. I proposed that, while the proletariat is still the proletariat, James Burnham, Bruno Rizzi, John Kenneth Galbraith and other thinkers were correct that by the mid-twentieth century power had passed from individual bourgeois business owners to a new ruling class of technocrats or bureaucrats, whose income, wealth, and status is linked to their positions in large, hierarchical organizations, (i.e. nonprofits, government agencies, industrial and financial firms, and so on).

I use the term “overclass” to describe this group. A similar though not identical concept is what is known, after Barbara Ehrenreich, as the “professional-managerial class” (PMC). Whatever terminology you prefer to use, generalizations about all Western elites need to be accompanied by more granular analysis at the level of each country. Referring only to the US, I think it is helpful to go beyond the basic distinction between the overclass and the working class and identify distinct groups within each.

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