CDZ America Is Regressing Into A Developing Country For Most People

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by skews13, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. skews13
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    skews13 VIP Member

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    You’ve probably heard the news that the celebrated post-WW II beating heart of America known as the middle class has gone from “burdened,” to “squeezed” to “dying.” But you might have heard less about what exactly is emerging in its place.

    In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.

    Two roads diverged
    In one of these countries live members of what Temin calls the “FTE sector” (named for finance, technology, and electronics, the industries which largely support its growth). These are the 20 percent of Americans who enjoy college educations, have good jobs, and sleep soundly knowing that they have not only enough money to meet life’s challenges, but also social networks to bolster their success. They grow up with parents who read books to them, tutors to help with homework, and plenty of stimulating things to do and places to go. They travel in planes and drive new cars. The citizens of this country see economic growth all around them and exciting possibilities for the future. They make plans, influence policies, and count themselves as lucky to be Americans.

    The FTE citizens rarely visit the country where the other 80 percent of Americans live: the low-wage sector. Here, the world of possibility is shrinking, often dramatically. People are burdened with debt and anxious about their insecure jobs if they have a job at all. Many of them are getting sicker and dying younger than they used to. They get around by crumbling public transport and cars they have trouble paying for. Family life is uncertain here; people often don’t partner for the long-term even when they have children. If they go to college, they finance it by going heavily into debt. They are not thinking about the future; they are focused on surviving the present. The world in which they reside is very different from the one they were taught to believe in. While members of the first country act, these people are acted upon.

    America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People
     
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  2. percysunshine
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    percysunshine Gold Member

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    They will be fine. All immigrants have faced the same issues throughout our history.
     
  3. jwoodie
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    jwoodie Gold Member Supporting Member

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    America is regressing into a developing nation for most people who are unable to form thoughts of their own and simply repeat those expounded by others in apparent authority.
     
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  4. Xelor
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    Xelor Gold Member

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    What I've seen and heard is that the middle class is indeed smaller than it was before, but it's smaller because more people who've left it have shifted to the upper-middle or upper income brackets than have shifted to low income brackets.
    So, while the middle class is shrinking, I'm not about to consider the shrinkage as a problem when the majority of people who are no longer middle class are better off economically than being middle class allows. That's not something to bemoan; it's something to applaud, for it means that people who have aspired to be wealthier have, more often than not, achieved that goal.

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    Now as for the central theme articulated in the thread title -- that the U.S. is beginning to look like a developing country -- in one aspect it "sort of, but not truly" is. Many developing nations have two income classes rather than three. That said, the U.S. population is approximately half middle class; thus a very large plurality of Americans are middle class, and that's a far cry from what one observes in developing nations.

    Should we aim to have to be a two class nation? Well, that depends on the share of people who are in each class. What one sees in developing nations is a very small upper income class and a huge low income class. Of course, we don't want that to happen in the U.S. However, as the chart above shows, that isn't what's happening, although one can live in an area where the demographic trend suggests it is what's happening.

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    As the chart above indicates, what's going on in one's own "little neck of the woods" need not at all be what's going on everywhere; one needs to "get out more" or at least read more. Basing one's view merely on what one observes locally is not going to provide a fair picture or accurate answer.

    Even as lots of people (the population of a city is "a lot" of people) can and do live in locales where the trend they observe locally differs from the national trend, the national trend is the one that's relevant. The people in places where their opportunity to participate in the larger national trend have an economically rational option -- assuming they prioritize above other things their economic well being -- and are well advised to avail themselves of it. What is that option? Move to where opportunity is greater.

    It's really quite simple, and one'd think that'd be the obvious and rational decision to make. One wouldn't remain on a sinking ship, right? Why stay in a locality that's not growing and/or giving one the opportunity and compensation one demands?

    I'm sure people have their reasons for not seeking greater utility elsewhere. I'm fine with whatever reasons they have -- I'm not of a mind to tell people how to manage their lives -- as long as they are fine with the fact that their subordinating their economic advancement to whatever be those reasons, and in turn quit their beefin' about the fact that the consequence of their choice in that regard is that they aren't among the 20% of the country that went from being middle income to upper income.

    If those people want to complain and plead for change in their town, county or whatever, their mayor, city council, state elected representatives and governor are the people to whom they should be griping. That isn't their only course of action, however. Exercising some entrepreneurship to create their own "oyster" also works. Indeed, that's the route worked for me and lots of others, and it's not as though I started a business -- in the living room of my one bedroom condo -- that others before and after me also haven't; I merely started a business that offers something that is and was in high demand.

    Those figures -- 20% and 80% -- aren't close to accurate. (see the charts above) They do, however, fit nicely with the narrative of a genre of people who want someone else to make their lives be that which they themselves refuse to make happen. It also fits nicely with the narrative of people (and their so-called advocates) who refuse to be accountable for and learn from their own failings and mistakes.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017

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