Amazing things can happen when societies realize they don’t need an awesomely affluent. What sort of amazing things? Take what happened in the United States between 1940 and 1960, as economists William Collins and Gregory Niemesh do in a just-published research paper on America’s mid-century home ownership boom. Over a mere 20-year span, the United States essentially birthed a “new middle class.” The share of U.S. households owning their own homes, Collins and Niemesh note, jumped an “unprecedented” 20 percentage points. By 1960, most American families resided in housing they owned “for the first time since at least 1870” — for the first time, in effect, since before the Industrial Revolution.
Israeli forces invading Palestinian Territory have just killed a 15-year-old unarmed Palestinian boy. A sniper shot him in the head with an expanding bullet. This is the 10,000th Palestinian killed by an Israeli since the round of violence that began in fall 2000. The boy was reportedly shot in the face. During the same period, Palestinians have killed 1,270 Israelis.
Passing through the vestibules of airports, one experiences the quotidian toil of modern neoliberal life. Even as one’s spirits rise at the thought of a fresh destination, or perhaps a familiar one, the vast task force of transit works fastidiously about you. The TSA army bark irritated orders to lethargic queues of travelers; everywhere badged employees swipe cards and pass through nondescript doors; a lone, lank youth brushes the carpeted floor with a broom, sweeping miniscule dust mites into his empty dust pan; the cashier issues her rote boilerplate: “Is that all?”...
By Josh Bivens for EPI - During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised that he would take the side of American workers against economic elites when evaluating policy. Yet, the policy proposals he put forth during the campaign had nothing in them that would actually help working- and middle-class Americans. Now that more plans and potential cabinet appointments are coming into focus, it looks worse than many of us thought even before the election.
By Laurie Wdowiak for LSE - Since March, France has known a wave of opposition against a labour law reform. The reform plans to further deregulate labour and decentralize bargaining, among other things; it will dispose of decades of social gains. 74% of French people oppose it. It has brought more than a million people on the street for the last 2 months, and led to heated confrontations between the police and participants. Public squares have been occupied under the name Nuit Debout (meaning “standing up night” or “awoken night”).
By Staff of Pew Research Center - The American middle class is losing ground in metropolitan areas across the country, affecting communities from Boston to Seattle and from Dallas to Milwaukee. From 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally.
By Robert Reich for The Huffington Post - The great American middle class has become an anxious class -- and it's in revolt. Before I explain how that revolt is playing out, you need to understand the sources of the anxiety. Start with the fact that the middle class is shrinking, according to a new Pew survey. The odds of falling into poverty are frighteningly high, especially for the majority without college degrees. Two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most could lose their jobs at any time. Many are part of a burgeoning "on-demand" workforce -- employed as needed, paid whatever they can get whenever they can get it.
High property prices will wipe out the British middle class within the next 30 years, according to a UK government advisor. He says society will be left with a “tiny elite” and a “huge sprawling proletariat.” “The really scary thing is if in the next 30 years house prices rise as much as they have done in the last 30 years, then the average house in Britain will cost £1.2 million (US$2 million),” said David Boyle, a British author and a government advisor who is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation. According to Boyle, who spoke at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, most representatives from the traditional middle class won’t be able to afford a house because wages will fail to keep up with huge price increases. "We won’t own our own homes, we won’t be able to afford it,” he said. “We cheered the rise of property prices not realizing that it would destroy, if not our own lives, but the lives of our children.” He added that in order to pay rent, representatives from the traditional middle class will have to take on several jobs. As a result, they won’t have time for any hobbies, Boyle predicted.