Class Structure

Class Struggle

“Pyramid of Capitalist Structure,” 1911

For most purposes we can consider there to be three basic classes as defined by the Marxist school of thought:


Karl Marx referred to capitalists as the “Bourgeoisie.” “Bourgeoisie” and “Capitalist” are essentially synonyms. The adjective form of “Bourgeoisie” is “Bourgeois.” In order to be a member of the Bourgeoisie you must a) own means of production, and b) collect profits from the wages of employees.


The proletariat are workers. Anyone who works for wages is a member of the proletariat class. The adjective form of proletariat is proletarian.

Petite (Petty) Bourgeoisie

The petite, or petty bourgeois class stand between the Bourgeois and Proletarian classes. These are managers, supervisors, and other workers who do not own means of production and do not collect wages, yet work for the interests of the Bourgeoisie class.

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