Bourgeoisie

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(French; OFr. Burgeis). The dominant class in capitalist society, having ownership (property, worker ownership) of the primary means of production in industry, the economy, the financial sphere, and transport. The modern b. also owns the land (landed bourgeoisie) and what is contained in the soil below the surface. The b. accumulates wealth and, consequently, the power to exploit the wage labor of the workers and employees. There are different levels of b.: upper, middle, and petty. The largest numerically is the level of small entrepreneurs and merchants. The upper level, multimillionaires and billionaires, is few in number but possesses enormous business-financial power, and the power of the State is frequently subordinated to its interests: it controls the domestic and foreign policy of the State, imposing its will on the whole of society. On the international level, the upper b. of the different countries controls the multi-national corporations and multi-national banks, which divide the world into zones of influence. In its time, the b. has played a progressive historical role (the English Revolution, the great French Revolution, the War for Independence of the United States, the reforms of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries). Today, however, only the petty and to some degree the middle b. are capable of operating from democratic and progressive positions. The upper b. is now accelerating the process of computer and information technology, the development of new technologies and, in general, globalization. Nevertheless, it acts as an obstacle on the road to the humanization of social life, distorting the direction of individual and collective liberty, while preaching ideas of violence, elitism and discrimination. N.H. actively promotes measures for society to control the b. through the introduction of proportional taxation on property and wealth and through the implementation of anti-monopolistic legislation.