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Capitalism has no Space for a Middle Class


Cael

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Here are some stats which show that the capitalist ruling class now consider that having a middle class is a luxury they can do without. In America, being middle class has meant not having to live from pay cheque to pay cheque (which was regarded as the norm for the working class.) Not any more.


83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.

61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.

Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.

In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.

The top 10% of Americans now earn around 50% of our national income.

Read more: 22 Statistics That Prove The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America
 


Disillusioned democrat

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The US is a cesspool and the UK is fast approaching same level, The "middle class" is a European concept, not US/UK. The fact that an idiot like GW Bush can buy the Presidency of the US proves that democracy in the US is a facade - not so sure about Tory victory in UK.
 

Cael

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It seems that since the fall of the USSR, there has been a reinstatement of the Ancien Régime, where a tiny elite own nearly everything, and the vast majority survive from hand to mouth. Whatever you might say about Communism, it put the fear of God in the ruling class, and forced them to keep a middle class on side. But, once the USSR fell, so did the need for a middle class.
 

Cael

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I see that that gobdaw Sync moved this out of economics, on the basis that it only has to do with the US. As if capitalism only exists in the US. Is it not time to get rid of this character and take on some mods who know what they are doing?
 

SideysGhost

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Is that really a big deal Cael? So what if it's in the US section?
The squeezing of the middle class is a huge issue across all the Anglo-Saxon economies - including here. There have been profound changes in "middle class" incomes and costs in the last 30 years that very few people are talking about and the implications are shocking.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A&feature=player_embedded#]YouTube - The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class[/ame]!
 

Cael

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The squeezing of the middle class is a huge issue across all the Anglo-Saxon economies - including here. There have been profound changes in "middle class" incomes and costs in the last 30 years that very few people are talking about and the implications are shocking.
Of course, a chara. Its a gross and obvious attempt to silence this debate on Sync's part.
 

ne0ica

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Your right Cael. The middle class in America trough technology and globalisation have become the new working class. The next edition of Time magazine is dedicated to this very issue.
 

Cael

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Your right Cael. The middle class in America trough technology and globalisation have become the new working class. The next edition of Time magazine is dedicated to this very issue.
But, of course, we are not just talking about the US. The middle class in Ireland and all Anglophone countries has been decimated. Thousands of civil servants will be losing their jobs in the next budget, and the small business man is becoming an extinct species.
 

Cael

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DUBLIN — As a veteran nurse, Margaret Horan is used to feeling overworked and underpaid. A steady flow of coughing, moaning and bleeding Dubliners must wait hours to be seen because of staff shortages at her hospital in the working-class heart of the capital.

As if that wasn't enough, Horan now can scarcely believe that the government plans to cut her pay by 10 percent or more — a sacrifice to be shared by hundreds of thousands of middle-class families across Ireland's unraveling economy.

A government that long profited from a property boom is now raising income taxes and pension charges to combat a sudden, gaping hole in the public finances that means borrowing one euro for every three spent. Its emergency approach is fueling rebellion throughout the bedrock of Irish society — teachers, bus drivers, police officers and nurses — who feel they are being asked to surrender too much in defense of a wealthy, discredited elite.

Financial crisis hits Irish middle class - World news - Europe - msnbc.com
 

ne0ica

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But, of course, we are not just talking about the US. The middle class in Ireland and all Anglophone countries has been decimated. Thousands of civil servants will be losing their jobs in the next budget, and the small business man is becoming an extinct species.
I don't know if your aware of the housing foreclosure scandal in America. Basically many of the banks were foreclosing on mortgages in arrears. Many houses that were not in arrears or sufficiently in arrears to merit foreclosure were foreclosed. It transpired that the banks and law firms involved had let go of large percent of their staff during the recession. Rather than reemploy the skilled bank staff needed for foreclosure the banks and law firms hired part time McDonald's staff and other minimum wage workers who did not understand the task involved but as long at they met their targets nobody cared. This does not bode well for the rest of middle class even in Ireland. How long before accounting, legal, secretarial work is outsourced to India.
 

Cael

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I don't know if your aware of the housing foreclosure scandal in America. Basically many of the banks were foreclosing on mortgages in arrears. Many houses that were not in arrears or sufficiently in arrears to merit foreclosure were foreclosed. It transpired that the banks and law firms involved had let go of large percent of their staff during the recession. Rather than reemploy the skilled bank staff needed for foreclosure the banks and law firms hired part time McDonald's staff and other minimum wage workers who did not understand the task involved but as long at they met their targets nobody cared. This does not bode well for the rest of middle class even in Ireland. How long before accounting, legal, secretarial work is outsourced to India.
Yes, a chara, the question is: what is the need for a middle class any more? It seems that there is no need for such a thing within the capitalist system. As you say, most work can now be outsourced to India and other parts of the third world, and the idea of permanent jobs with good pay and pensions seems to be against the religion of the ruling class.
 

Breadan O'Connor

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It seems that since the fall of the USSR, there has been a reinstatement of the Ancien Régime, where a tiny elite own nearly everything, and the vast majority survive from hand to mouth. Whatever you might say about Communism, it put the fear of God in the ruling class, and forced them to keep a middle class on side. But, once the USSR fell, so did the need for a middle class.

I think myself there are similarities between Communism and oligarchic capitalism.

Communism wanted total power for the state while oligarchs use their political power to eliminate competition and grab resources for their own benefit.

Both systems are hostile to the middle class and small independent entrepeneur.

The communists ruthlessly took action against the kulak class in Russia and Ukraine for example.

Also it is worth noting how quickly there was a transition from Communism to oligarchy by well-connected individuals in Russia in the 90s. If the systems were so different then it is unlikely that the transition from one system to the other could have happened so quickly.
 

Cael

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I think myself there are similarities between Communism and oligarchic capitalism.

Communism wanted total power for the state while oligarchs use their political power to eliminate competition and grab resources for their own benefit.

Both systems are hostile to the middle class and small independent entrepeneur.

The communists ruthlessly took action against the kulak class in Russia and Ukraine for example.

Also it is worth noting how quickly there was a transition from Communism to oligarchy by well-connected individuals in Russia in the 90s. If the systems were so different then it is unlikely that the transition from one system to the other could have happened so quickly.
Well, Russia was an oligarchy under the Tsar, and it has gone back to being one now. It never really had a middle class, as such - just a small elite, and a great many impoverished serfs. The rise of the Kulacks was probably the nearest to a middle class it ever had. But, that really just goes to show that systems can work without a middle class, and it seems capitalism is now trying that too.
 

Breadan O'Connor

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This video states that forms of government can be ultimately boiled down to just two-oligarchy-the rule of the few-or Republicanism-where the power of government is limited by law.

I would say that Ireland presently, where our government has loaded us with so much debt, can only be described as an oligarchy.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk113iYSI6I]YouTube - Form of Government in USA - Oligarchy[/ame]
 

Cael

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This video states that forms of government can be ultimately boiled down to just two-oligarchy-the rule of the few-or Republicanism-where the power of government is limited by law.

I would say that Ireland presently, where our government has loaded us with so much debt, can only be described as an oligarchy.
I dont believe that anyone could reasonably contradict you, a chara.
 

rigumagoo

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the alarmist notion that ''The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America!'' has been trotted out for decades despite all contradictory evidence. Here I quote the economist Thomas Sowell from his book Economic Facts and Fallacies:

The Vanishing Middle Class
One of the perennial alarms based on income statistics is that the
American middle class is declining in size, presumably leaving only the
small group of the rich and the masses of the poor. But what has in fact
been happening to the middle class?

One of the simplest statistical illusions has been created by defining the
middle class by some fixed interval of income— such as between $35,000
and $50,000— and then counting how many people are in that interval over
the years.

If the interval chosen is in the middle of a statistical distribution
of incomes, that may be a valid definition so long as the midpoint in that
distribution of incomes does not change.
But, as already noted, American
incomes have been rising over the years, despite strenuous statistical efforts
to make incomes seem to be stagnating.

As the statistical distribution of incomes shifts to the right over the years
the number of people in the income range originally in the center of that
distribution declines. In other words, the number of middle class people
declines when there is a fixed definition of "middle class" in a country with
rising levels of income.

The simple situation illustrated in these graphs- a general rise in
incomes- has generated large and recurring waves of journalistic and
political rhetoric deploring an ominous shrinking of the middle class,
implicitly defined as a reduction in the numbers of people between the
income levels represented by perpendicular lines a and b on these graphs.
Let this graph illustrate the initial distribution of income, with incomes
between line a and line b being defined as "middle class" incomes:



Then let the graph below illustrate an increase in median income:



The fact that there are now fewer people within the fixed income brackets
between a and b that previously defined the middle class does not mean that
the middle class is disappearing when the median income increases.

Despite the simplicity of this fallacy, people who should know better
(and perhaps do know better) have been depicting this reduction in the
number of people within fixed income brackets as something dire.

The insinuation is that the statistical distribution of incomes has shifted
to the left, when in fact it has shifted to the right.
 
Last edited:

Cael

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the alarmist notion that ''The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America!'' has been trotted out for decades despite all contradictory evidence. Here I quote the economist Thomas Sowell from his book Economic Facts and Fallacies:
There is one simple fact that shows up Sowell's argument to be nonsense. In 1970, a working man could buy a house, and his wife did not need to work. Today, with both partners working, its still a struggle to pay a mortgage. Sowell's chart only shows pay increases - he does not show the increase in household bills that have to come out of these increases.
 

rigumagoo

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In 1970, a working man could buy a house, and his wife did not need to work. Today, with both partners working, its still a struggle to pay a mortgage.
[citation needed]

If this is even true, it is because houses are more expensive today because of the 90s housing boom, not because of some prolonged elitist conspiracy to drive down the wages of the middle class.
(In before "the housing boom was an elitist conspiracy!")
 

Cael

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If this is even true, it is because houses are more expensive today because of the 90s housing boom, not because of some prolonged elitist conspiracy to drive down the wages of the middle class.
There is no need to think of it in terms of, say, the Bilderberg Group, sitting down and planning all this. Though they might have in a sense done that. Whats really of interest to us here is that fact that the middle class family is now significently poorer than it was in 1970 - to the point that two wages are needed in a house to have the same standard of living as could be had with one wage in 1970. These stats are actually given in the vid posted above.
 

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