This is Independent Cataclysm, in this post I will begin with my own commentaries and insight based on the New York Times article series "The Agenda" Written by NYTimes writer David Leonhardt.
Leonhardt begins by addressing statistics pertaining to economic decline from the Great Depression and how these compare to present day middle class decay. His details point towards the fact, however, that despite the waning size of the middle class that the affluent have actually been only earning more as each quarter progresses. The affluent in the United States making $1.5 million in 2010, that figure has literally doubled since then (more than 100 percent) adjusting for inflation; whereas the middle class have only received 11 percent increases to adjust for inflation (Leonhardt).
The United States had, according to Bernake, had a annual growth percent of 4.6 during the 1920-1929 decade (far surpassing the stable growth of 3.5 percent through the 80's and 90's); in these decades the Middle Class was not fighting for survival rather thriving (EHA).
This, for some reason, has gone on uncontested as the decades have progressed only fueling economic inequality, the only capital available to individuals in the poor and middle class sectors is intellectual capital. The gap between the affluent and the poor/middle class sectors only increase; "The top-earning 1 percent of households now bring home about 20 percent of total income, up from less than 10 percent 40 years ago" (Leonhardt). This can be directly linked to the streamlining of globalized capitalism, not a particularly negative phenomena though I feel as if without having international trade laws or policies (similar to labor laws of the United States) off-shore capitalist ventures are far more profitable than national labor.
This ventures into murky waters however, with the entire laissez faire system at risk. In my next post I would like to address those hazards, the pros and cons of the globalized system ranging from technological growth potentials and providing jobs overseas, to the realities of unfair labor practices and the lack of policy to protect workers overseas (providing us with the bargains we Americans need).
Provided below is the NYTimes article link to the series "The Agenda: A Closer Look At The Middle Class Decline."
(Information and Statistics were also retrieved from the Economic History Association).