Overclass  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Overclass is a recent and pejorative term for the most powerful group in a social hierarchy. Users of the term generally imply excessive and unjust privilege and exploitation of the rest of society.

Perhaps the most commonly agreed-upon "overclass" consists of leaders in international business, finance and the war industry.

The word is fairly recent: the Oxford English Dictionary included it only in December 2004. But it has been in use since at least 1995. At least some writers compare it to the more familiar underclass:

We now have a quite new phenomenon in the history of the republic: two radically isolated sectors of the population, the underclass and the overclass. Both are in an adversarial posture toward the great majority of Americans, the overclass by virtue of ambition and unbounded self-esteem, the underclass by virtue of social incompetence and anomie. Between the two there is a fearful symmetry on many scores, but their service to each other is far from equal.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Overclass" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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