Aussies have long said, “Jack is as good as his master” – we are the land where equal status is championed and where we eschew the class consciousness that separated the lower convict class and their gentrified overseers at the outset of European settlement.
Sociologist Jill Sheppard, in a recent report, suggests there are six identifiable classes in Australian society. Jettisoning the usual single streamed occupation marker exploring working, management and executive roles and, nodding to generational changes that have taken place, Sheppard adds social, recreational and aspirational factors that separate distinct groupings and their perceived standing in the community.
There are probably no surprises here. It has long been established that Western society fueled by a Christian Reformation work ethic has been inherently upwardly mobile and that the goal in life has been perceived as reaching the next rung on the ladder. The transported convict aspired to become the freeman who aspired to lease an allotment who then aspired to outright ownership and some measure of control over those following behind.
It is an ancient phenomenon. In a kind of a coach’s pep talk, G-d tells the Israelites who have benefited from resettlement in their promised land not to forget the core values upon which their nation is being built. Deuteronomy 6:10-18. Their forebears were freed from tyranny to forge a new society that would be an attractive model for all nations. How easy it is to forget!