Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The US/UK Middle Class Is Dead

The [Manchester/London] Guardian writes about the disappearance of the US and UK middle class. I see it more simply than they do.

Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, the rich in the US and the UK needed a middle class to provide them with middle management to run their industries.

The payoff was that middle management, unable to earn enough to buy the goodies necessary to ape their rich masters, were granted private and public subsidy by the rich, in order to allow the middle class to afford some facsimile of rich life.

Both the US and the UK are now in post-industrial mode. Emerging and developing countries provide the industry the world needs. What industry remains in the US and the UK no longer needs so many middle managers. Technology has seen to that.

In the meantime, the rich in the US and the UK have switched their money-making ambitions from US and UK industry to speculation and other countries. Further reason to abandon the middle class, who no longer provide either a market or a labor source for US and UK rich folk.

No need for US or UK middle managers = no need for middle class = no need for all the subsidies, both private and public, which the rich made available to the middle class, to keep them happy.

The rich now use a whole new under-rich class to provide them with the services they need: stock market advice, computer services, pilots, whatever. Middle management have been demoted to working class. Or even worse, just left to rot.

The former middle class don't like it. They don't like being lumped with the workers. They don't like being left behind. They don't like their jobs being outsourced. Their unions castrated. Their private perks and public benefits dissipated.

They take it out on anyone different, who is an easy target for blame: immigrants, refugees, gays, minorities. They blame anyone and everyone else. And they are prime fodder for Trump, Farage and Le Pen.

I wrote about all of this at greater length just before the Second Inauguration of President Obama, back in 2013.