In our society, the place of the upper class is leadership. They are our parents. They don't have to choose leadership, but they are automatically granted it. Some, like politicians and some corporate leaders, work hard to be leaders. But others, like entertainment celebrities, inherited wealth, or sports stars are leaders whether they want to be or not.
In our society, the middle class are the masses. They are the peers, the siblings, those who hold the social position of equality, for whom laws and authority work.
In our society, the lower class are the dependents. They are the children, the pitiful ones, those for whom everything must be given. They are mocked for they never "grow up" and become adults.
But the fact is, the lower class must exist, for we must have people to pity, people to mock. We must have the "dysfunctional" member of the family to blame, or else we must blame the leadership for being inadequate for the job. We may talk about "ending homelessness" or a "war on poverty", but the leadership must create homelessness and poverty as quickly as they create "solutions." It is a social mandate.
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We see certain people as being "one of us." These are people who hold to the same lifestyle as us, who perform the same rituals as us, hold the same general values as us and who generally have the same genetic type as us. We include these as our broader "family" and our brains give these people privileges that complete strangers don't.
We can flex this a bit, but not too far. We can accept some who are genetically different, if we try. We can take on a new lifestyle (but often, especially in stress, we will revert to something closer to what we grew up with).
This is why politicians will help the banks and corporations more than they will help the "everyday" person. This is why politicians look at those on welfare and the homeless with disgust-- because they want to help people who are a part of their "family." They will listen to the people who speak the same language they learned at the same colleges. This is why CEOs insist that they "need" millions of dollars to survive-- because that's the lifestyle they know best, and anything less stresses them too much.
As for the desperately poor, since "normal" people fly on planes and drive luxury cars and have no problems finding a place to live (even when they are bankrupt), they can't imagine being in a place where they would live on the street or really need welfare. They can't understand the poor, because only an extreme amount of laziness and lack of connection could someone in their place get on welfare or be homeless.
This is why the leaders of our society-- congresspersons, judges, bishops, mayors, and police commissioners-- need to live as a poor person. Because they are too secluded in their lives to accept the poor as citizens, as part of their community "family."