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The petite bourgeoisie or petty bourgeoisie are the class between the proletariat and the capitalist class. They are the class of smaller scale merchants and semi-automomous peasants. In contrast with the high bourgeoisie, most petite bourgeoisie's means of subsistence are not entirely derived from the exploitation of the labour of others. In Western imperialist countries, the petite-bougeoisie are often called "small-business owners."