Middle Class: Winners or Losers in a Globalized World?

Middle Class: Winners or Losers in a Globalized World? Center for Global Development. Nancy Birdsall. August 3, 2017.

Globalization is under attack in the West. The debate among pundits is no longer about whether globalization is to blame or not. It is about why globalization is now the bugaboo it has become.

Is the resistance to globalization grounded in economic losses for the once-secure middle class citizens of the Western-style democracies, and the fear of future losses for them and their children? Has anti-globalization grown because the growth of trade has brought economic competition from China, reducing high-wage manufacturing jobs, and more immigrants taking once steady working class “trades” and construction and other service jobs? Or is the anti-globalization movement (Trump’s America First) a by-product of what we call, in the United States, the “culture wars?” Is the rise of protectionism and anti-immigrant, nationalist xenophobia fundamentally about inchoate resentment of a new “cosmopolitan” elite: the corporate “Davos men,” bankers, lawyers, “experts,” even academics, whose globalist attitudes and networks are unmooring Western societies from allegiances to traditional nationalist, ethnic, and religious customs and values? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Most Americans Say Government Doesn’t Do Enough to Help Middle Class

Most Americans Say Government Doesn’t Do Enough to Help Middle Class. Pew Research Center. February 4, 2016.

At a time when the middle class in the United States is losing ground, most Americans say the federal government provides too little help to this segment of society. And as voters begin casting the first ballots in the 2016 presidential election, neither political party is widely viewed as supportive of the middle class in this country. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 19 pages, 550.74 KB].

A Global Middle Class Is More Promise than Reality

A Global Middle Class Is More Promise than Reality. Pew Research Center. Rakesh Kochhar. July 8, 2015.

The first decade of this century witnessed an historic reduction in global poverty and a near doubling of the number of people who could be considered middle income. But the emergence of a truly global middle class is still more promise than reality, according to the analysis. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 95 pages, 3.6 MB].

The Rise of a Global Middle Class: Global Societal Trends to 2030

The Rise of a Global Middle Class: Global Societal Trends to 2030. RAND Corporation. Samuel Drabble et al. February 2015.

The report analyses the rise of a middle class beyond national boundaries, as well as issues of inequality. It notes that while inequality between countries is decreasing, within-country inequality is on the rise. The report also examines the extent to which this global middle class shares the same values. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 63 pages, 1.1 MB].

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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Call for Inclusiveness May Not Work for Middle East’s Sectarian Divide

Call for Inclusiveness May Not Work for Middle East’s Sectarian Divide. YaleGlobal. Dilip Hiro. June 18, 2014.

ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, began as an Al Qaeda offshoot in Iraq and is described as more fanatical than the parent group. With up to 5000 troops, ISIS controls an area of Syria and now storms through northern Iraq exploiting power vacuums and frustrations over minority rights. The group imposes a rigid Sunni interpretation of Islam that could unleash sectarian war across the region, explains author Dilip Hiro. Hiro reviews the history of Shia and Sunni influences over governance and warns that the centuries-old religious divide will continue to test the patience of western democracies who quarrel over how to intervene. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Middle Childhood Success and Economic Mobility

Middle Childhood Success and Economic Mobility. Center on Children and Families at Brookings. J. Lawrence Aber. February 15, 2013.

The study uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) to analyze competencies that children need to master by the end of elementary school, the extent to which they are doing so, what might be done to improve their performance, and how this might affect their ultimate ability to earn a living and their chances of being middle class by middle age. Both academic skills and socio-emotional skills contribute to core competency. It measures core competence at age eleven using five outcomes: math skills, reading skills, self-regulation, behavior problems, and physical health. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages, 532 KB].