The Tale of Two Middle Classes

The Tale of Two Middle Classes. YaleGlobal. Branko Milanovic. July 31, 2014.

Thanks to globalization and trade, middle-class incomes have more than doubled in countries like China and Indonesia, but still remain a fraction of those earned by the middle class in Europe or the United States. Meanwhile, in Europe, the United States and Japan, incomes for the middle class have stagnated even as their richest citizens accrue more wealth, profiting by investing in globalization ventures of all types. Growing inequality, polarization in politics, and the political influence of the wealthy suggest wages will continue to stagnate for the middle classes in the most advanced economies. “This calls into question either the sustainability of democracy under such conditions or the sustainability of globalization,” argues economist Branko Milanovic. Investing just a larger portion of the gains in infrastructure, education and other programs that benefit society as a whole could protect political systems, including democracy, as well as the globalization that benefits the world’s poor. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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