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Title: Overclass  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Underclass, Status inconsistency, Social class in Colombia, Social structure of Romania, Loss of rights due to felony conviction
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Overclass is a recent and pejorative[1][2] term for the most powerful group in a social hierarchy. Users of the term generally imply excessive and unjust privilege and exploitation of the rest of society.[3][4][5]

Perhaps the most commonly agreed-upon "overclass" consists of leaders in international business, finance and the war industry.[6]

The word is fairly recent: the Oxford English Dictionary included it only in December 2004.[7] But it has been in use since at least 1995. At least some writers compare it to the more familiar underclass:

We now have a quite new phenomenon in the history of the republic: two radically isolated sectors of the population, the underclass and the overclass. Both are in an adversarial posture toward the great majority of Americans, the overclass by virtue of ambition and unbounded self-esteem, the underclass by virtue of social incompetence and anomie. Between the two there is a fearful symmetry on many scores, but their service to each other is far from equal.[8]

See also


  1. ^ The next American nation: the new nationalism and the fourth American revolution - Michael Lind - Google Books
  2. ^ Fighting Poverty, Inequality and Injustice: A Manifesto Inspired by Peter ... - Google Books
  3. ^ Chronicles - Rockford Institute - Google Books
  4. ^ This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation - Barbara Ehrenreich - Google Books
  5. ^ Delight of the Overclass! Demise of the Middleclass! - Jay T. Baldwin - Google Books
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Quarterly updates to OED Online
  8. ^ Farewell to the Overclass 1996 Richard John Neuhaus

Further reading

  • Adler, Jerry (July 31, 1995). "The Rise of the Overclass; The Overclass 100".   – Newsweek cover story on "How the new elite scrambled up the merit ladder—and wants to stay there any way it can."

External links

  • Why the Right Is Wrong for America, 1996
  • To have and to have not, 1995

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