–One significant difference: in "working cultures" one may be suddently cut off from one’s source of support, which for people with tenuous social support may be equivalent to being banished, something tribal culures reserve for serious violations of social norms. One reason the professions requiring costly credentials provide more "mortality insurance" than minimum wage jobs. Bruno Bettelheim said the people who had the hardest time adapting to life in concentration camps were middle class professionals who tried to cling to their professional identity. Political activists from the working class did much better, since their ideals were not taken away but strengthened by persecution.
Taken from the Ernest Becker Listserv Discussion Archives