A-Z Popular Blog Economics Search »
Market Research
 Advertisements
Related Guides
Moment Of Truth

Product Development

Customer Attributes

Marketing Analysis

Marketing Environment

Competitive Factors

Culture Factors

Target Market

Benchmarking

Sensory Analysis

Customer Analysis

21 Examples of the Bourgeoisie

 , September 07, 2019
The bourgeoisie, or bourgeois, is a social and economic class that owns capital such that they can partially or completely live off the labor of others, namely the proletariat or working class. The term bourgeoisie is broadly applied to upper class, upper middle class and middle class families. The following are illustrative examples of the bourgeoisie.

Merchant Class

The bourgeoisie first emerged in 11th century Europe as a class of craftsman, artisans and merchants who lived in urban areas known as bourgs. They self-organized into societies known as guilds in order to monopolize their trade. The merchant class were vastly more productive than the peasant class and profited by employing workers. They were also able to resist handing all of their money over to feudal lords due to the political power of their guilds.

Political Class

The American and French revolutions of the late 18th century overthrew systems of colonialism and monarchy. This inspired vast political changes across Europe such that liberal democracies and republics began to replace absolute monarchies. The bourgeoisie began to actively pursue formal and informal political power and policies of free markets, free trade and property rights.

Capitalist Class

With the industrial revolution of the early 19th century, new production methods were introduced that were capital intensive and highly scalable. With automation, productivity and efficiency increased and employing the proletariat became more profitable than ever. This created a new class of capitalists that generated levels of wealth historically associated with royalty.

Rent Seeking

Rent seeking is any pursuit that seeks wealth without creating value. For example, cronyism whereby politicians are able to use the resources of a nation to enrich friends who return the favor in kind. This is a common path to building and sustaining bourgeoisie wealth.

Entrepreneurs

Another path to bourgeoisie economic status is to conquer markets with new products, business models, marketing approaches or cost cutting techniques.

Leadership

Capitalism created large firms that controlled significant wealth. Such firms may seek to minimize the pay of the proletariat but may pay executives and senior managers enough to place them firmly in the upper middle class or upper class.

Materialism

The bourgeoisie introduced materialist philosophies such as modernism. This challenged the dominance of religion in European society with the idea that nothing is spiritual and everything is simply physical.

Middle Class

Both the bourgeoisie and proletariat benefited from the rising productivity and efficiency rates in developed countries driven by automation and new production techniques such as interchangeable parts. This created a large middle class. Where the bourgeoisie is defined by their ownership of capital, the middle class is more generally defined as families that generate significant disposable income. This provides families and individuals with choices such that they can improve themselves, accumulate capital or enjoy leisure. Not all middle class can be considered bourgeoisie as they may not own capital and therefore depend solely on their labor for income.

Leisure Class

Historically, most people didn't have the money or time for leisure and this was a luxury of the ruling class. The arrival of industrialization changed this as working hours shortened, pay increased and workers were given holidays. This created a large leisure class whereby billions of people on a global basis now take holidays and enjoy leisure activities on a regular basis. Exotic, unusually long, unusually short and luxurious holidays are status symbols that are one way that bourgeoisie signal their wealth and freedom.

Social Status

Social status is the respect you obtain from others. This can be based on factors such as wealth, intelligence, accomplishments, popularity, experiences, physical appearance, fitness, youth, freedom and coolness. The bourgeoisie tend to be fiercely socially competitive and competent such that they build and sustain considerable status.

Conspicuous Consumption

Conspicuous consumption is spending that is aimed at producing social status. This is often as outlandish and noticeable as possible. The means of signalling wealth differ greatly by economic status. For example, a super wealthy individual may dress normcore but signal wealth with a series of houses that are architectural marvels.

Conspicuous Conservation

Conspicuous conservation is spending aimed at creating a virtuous image. At the highest level, this can involve founding charities in your own name.

Petite Bourgeoisie

The petite bourgeoisie is the lowest economic class that is considered bourgeoisie. They own capital and it improves their living standard but also must work for a living. For example, a professional with a reasonably good salary who owns stocks and rental properties. The term petite bourgeoisie is often used in a derogatory sense to indicate individuals who adopt the mannerisms of the upper class without having the same level of wealth.

Intelligentsia

A class of highly educated individuals who remain engaged in purely intellectual pursuits throughout their lives such as academics, artists, writers and journalists. The bourgeoisie tend to be educated and often consider themselves intelligentsia. Likewise, the intelligentsia may view themselves as bourgeoisie even if they aren't particularly wealthy.

High Culture

High culture is any culture that is recognized as valuable by powerful institutions. The bourgeoisie tend to support and participate in high culture. For example, they may commission paintings from up and coming artists as a means to grow cultural connections.

Cultural Capital

Cultural capital is a set of shared experiences, knowledge and norms that allow an individual to influence within the context of a culture. The bourgeoisie have a unique culture such that they can quickly determine if others are from the same upper class background.

Relational Capital

Relational capital are the relationships established by an individual or family. The upper class often belong to the same networks of friends and professional connections such that they know the same people.

Moyenne Bourgeoisie

The moyenne bourgeoisie is a term for upper middle class economic status whereby a family could live off their capital alone, i.e. without working, if they so chose. Adding "moyenne" to bourgeoisie indicates a family that is not super rich.

Cosmopolitanism

Cosmopolitanism is an enthusiasm for other cultures and ability to communicate, influence and enjoy shared experiences outside your own culture. This is heavily associated with the bourgeoisie as they tend to interact with other cultures through travel, business, education and by living in large global cities such as New York, London, Paris or Singapore.

Old Money

Old money is a term for families that have sustained bourgeoisie status for at least 5 generations such that they have extensive cultural and relational capital that marks them as unequivocally upper class. In some cases, families with deep cultural capital that enables them to get along with the upper class run out of actual money such that they risk a decline in status. As such, the discipline to use capital wisely such that it is sustained for many generations is a core virtue of upper class culture. For example, old money may not recklessly show off wealth as this can attract elements such as shadowy investment advisors intent on separating the family and its money.

Nouveau Riche

Nouveau riche denotes a family that has recently become upper class. These individuals lack the cultural capital and relational capital of old money families and may have difficulty fitting in. In many cases, the nouveau riche make mistakes that the old money families have avoided such as overconsumption, overconfidence and conspicuous consumption such that they revert to the middle class within a few generations.
Overview: Bourgeoisie
Type
Definition A social and economic class that owns significant capital such that they can partially or completely live off their capital without laboring.
Also Known AsBourgeois
Associated WithUpper Class
Upper Middle Class
Related Concepts

Demographics

This is the complete list of articles we have written about demographics.
Bourgeoisie
Demographic Factors
Generation X
Generation Z
Intended Audience
Life Stages
Middle Class
Proletariat
Social Class
Upper Class
More ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
 

Demographics

The definition of demographics with examples.

Generation X

An overview of Generation X.

Middle Class

The definition of middle class with examples.

Upper Class

The definition of upper class with examples.

Social Class

The definition of social class with examples.

Blue Collar

The definition of blue collar with examples.

Working Class

The definition of working class with examples.

Life Stages

The definition of life stage with examples.

Demographic Factors

A list of common demographic factors.

Economics

Everyday examples of economics.

Labor Economics

An overview of labor economics with examples.

Economic Sector

The definition of economic sector with examples.

Industrialization

The definition of industrialization with examples.

Consumerism

The definition of consumerism with examples.

Economic Activity

The definition of economic activity with examples.

Secondary Sector

The definition of secondary sector with examples.

Tax

An overview of the common types of taxes.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map