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proletariat vs. bourgeoisie

proletariat vs. bourgeoisie: What's the difference?

Proletariat and bourgeoisie are terms that refer to people of a particular socioeconomic class, especially in Marxist theory. The proletariat are people who earn a wage for a living, especially people who are dependent on manual, daily, or casual labor. The bourgeoisie are those who make their living through property or through ownership of the means of production.

[ proh-li-tair-ee-uht ]
  1. in Marxist theory, the class made up of workers, especially industrial wage earners, who do not possess capital or property and must sell their labor to those who do in order to survive: The call of the proletariat is to overthrow the capitalist mode of production and finally abolish the whole class structure.A dictatorship of the proletariat is the first stage of the revolution.
  2. the class made up of wage earners, especially unskilled or semiskilled workers who earn their living by manual labor, often dependent on daily or casual employment and typically having low levels of education and disposable income; the working class.
  3. the lowest or poorest class of people, possessing no property, especially in ancient Rome.
[ boor-zhwah-zee; French boor-zhwa-zee ]
  1. in Marxist theory, the powerful capitalist class that owns and is concerned with property, as contrasted with the wage-earning class, which must concern itself with survival: the interests of the bourgeoisie are opposed to revolution and invested in the status quo: According to Marx, the rise of the bourgeoisie split the whole of society into two enemy camps—the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.Many postcolonial societies in the 21st century are hindered by greedy and repressive bourgeoisies.
  2. the middle class, made up mainly of entrepreneurs, managers, professionals, and skilled office workers, and often characterized as having conventional tastes and values and prizing respectability: The pleasure park was for the entertainment of the little town's bourgeoisie on summer evenings, with a dance hall, a gazebo, and other attractions.These mass-produced postcards of exotic places were intended for consumption by a white, urban bourgeoisie back home.

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