This came up on Jeanne's blog too, in a comment, that working class folk can be too concerned about "putting food on the table" - to the point of not valuing the arts, social action, and various things that won't, "put food on the table"
One of the weird things is, that it's not usually really about food. Most people who are making decisions about what sort of education to pursue, for example, have enough that they're not in a position to really worry about whether they will have food. It may really be more questions like, can we have a car? a good car? an annual vacation? more than one?
I'm not denying that people in the US (and goodness knows, elsewhere!) have to worry about having food - just that lots more talk in those terms than actually have that problem.
I just read an essay in The Case Against the Global Economy about folks in some remote village/country/culture, who used to be very self sufficient, proud, and assured that none of them are poor, having been introduced to western values and systems, now despair of their poverty, and are unwilling to do much to help themselves. I think it's a pretty common story. People who used to work togetehr, grow their own food, build their own houses, and think that they had enough, were even blessed with abundance, get electricity and TV and western "jobs", and all of a sudden they are terribly poor, and ashamed of where they have come from.
I just bought a new computer, I dont' really need one, but I do like to email people, play around online, be able to look up recipes and blog and post my photos - since I now have only a digital camera and never get photos printed when I have film anyway.....
But I obviously, clearly, don't need that stuff.
Plus, I went with a friend who likes this stuff more than me (she doesn't blog, or play around online as much as me as far as I can tell, but she likes gadgets more.) and she and the salesguy were just on a roll together - you need the latest because the old ones can't do this and that, videoconferencing, yada yada. I don't want to do any of that stuff, and I dont' really want to be tempted to do that stuff, but on the other hand, if you get an old one with a small amount of memory, you may not even be able to open some websites, or do basic things, as even the basics get jazzier and jazzier. I want it to stop, and it won't, and I don't have the guts or the wherewithal (apparently) to just jump off... I bought the new one, though a low end model. blah.
And there are things I question needing which I have much better justification for - my house, health insurance, a car (!)
I wonder what it would be like to decide I don't need those, to find another way. The house I'm most determined about, though it's the greatest expense. Plus there is plenty else to look at before that even becomes a reasonable idea (all the crap IN the house, for starters...)
I fantasize about a quaker community/commune - growing our own food, having some simple, sustainable, needed business. Maybe it woudlnt' need to be quaker. I've been drawn to Eastwind, which makes peanut butter, and which has been most in front of my face over the years because I eat their peanut butter, but I don't know. I have never even visited.
And I don't want a bunch of other weirdos to go off and play in the forest with, I want a revolution, all over.
I want to see air travel fall off immensely, and car travel. I want to live in a world where people know the names of almost everyone they see all day (not because they're isolated and only see three people, but because they're in a vibrant community) I want to live in a world where work that doesn't need to be done (making crappy clothes, or stupid plastic toys, for example) just doesnt' get done, and we do something meaningful, or at least fun or relaxing, with that time.
I'm not sure how it relates to class, but how we think about what exaclty we need seems crucial, and how much we need to have before we have enough to share. In my experience the more people have, the farther away that figure is from where they are right now.