I will preface this question with a statement of my own ignorance. My formal education was in the field of graphic design and my independent study is primarily centered around music history and the sociological impact of music on global culture. As such I have not explored economics or social classism and have little knowledge of economic history or contemporary trends.
However, recently I have been considering my place in the socio-economic system (especially as I've been reading classic dystopian novels) and am puzzled as I cannot find a name for what is surely a rapidly growing party in the global society.
It would appear that the modern era has seen the rise of an intellectual class that is neither proletariat nor bourgeoisie.
The internet has begun to level the educational playing field and as information is readily available to all first-world social classes, rich and poor. Whereas the wealth of knowledge was previously limited to university students, book shop junkies and tinkerers (HAM radio enthusiast and the like), the age of Google Books, the Wikipedia, and other instantly-accessible public domains of information have made this a golden era for those in pursuit of knowledge who may not otherwise be men of means.
Allow me to characterize the growing class that I perceive.
These are men and women who place a great value on learning. Many would be considered autodidacts.
Members of this group span a wide gamut of the financial classes, earning a household income ranging between the poverty line and 40k per year. (I've known brilliant men working on their Masters degree while subsisting on food stamps and SSI and other, equally intelligent individuals working as university professors and lawyers.)
But perhaps most importantly, these men earn their wage by using their minds instead of their physical labor.
Equally important is their position in the consumer population. These men and women are educated consumers. They carefully research products, study their sales history, and make the majority of their purchases on the Web for twenty-five to thirty percent of the price that an average consumer would pay in a the common, brick-and-mortar retail environment.
And as expected, these individuals commonly associate themselves with progressive political affiliations, whether it be the far Left, registered Independent, or groups like the Pirate Party.
They value individualism, identity of the Self, and likewise support independently-owned local businesses instead of big-box corporations.
As such they are barely a blip on the consumer grid. Most seldom purchase anything new, instead electing to invest in quality antiques or used goods whether for reasons of superior craftsmanship, style, or environmental impact over that of their plastic, 99 cent counterparts.
They also network with one another locally, bartering goods and services from other like-minded individuals with their own valuable skill sets.
So who are these able-minded lovers of learning? They are not simply the 20-30somethings of the latest generation. There is far too much apathy and ignorance in any generation of peoples to attribute these characteristics to an entire body of Gen-X's or Millenials.
And let me reiterate that this question is clearly asked from a position of ignorance. I simply ask that you, the community, enlighten me?