The Fate of the Middle Class

The human race is like a bunch of survivors in a life boat with one loaf of bread between them. There are only three ways to distribute it: you set it so the rich gobble it all up; you fight for it so the strong get it all…or you share it. And that is the choice we have to make and that can only really be done in a democratic world–and that’s one of the reasons why democracy is worth fighting for.

The establishment and growth in the influence of labor unions was the source of both the expansion of democracy and the economy. Unions provided, and continue to provide, a meaningful counter-balance to the private sector–both politically (by making sure fiscal policies followed by the government do not simply reflect the needs of the elite alone) and economically (by placing a decent income, or living wage, into the hands of 100s of thousands instead of just in the hands of the few).

Unfortunately, for the last 30 years conservatives have created an effective counter-narrative in which labor unions are disparaged as un-necessary, inefficient, and antiquated; however, historically speaking it was with the expansion of unions a sizable middle class emerged where real income quadrupled in the first two decades following World War II.

The 1% vs. 99% rhetoric we see nowadays reflects the erosion of a meaningful labor influence and the migration of capital to China and India where labor and resources are so cheap. President Nixon (1970s) was the first American president to make attempts at improved relations with China. I wonder if he, or anyone else, would have thought it’d be possible that over 50% of America’s and Canada’s manufacturing sector would move there within 30 years?

Bringing our attention to the present: Trump is either ignorant, lying or being disengenuine when he says he will bring jobs back to America; the jobs that have been lost are gone for good because of the impetus of globalization which emphasizes efficiency and share holder profit over equity or people receiving a living wage; under globalization the middle class isn’t just shrinking in the West, it has become an endangered species.

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