where’s my class?

The middle class is shrinking.

I’m not even sure I’m still in it.

We all know this: While corporations aiming for high- and low-end consumers at the expense of middle-class earners appears to be a new development, the income gap has been growing in America for at least three decades. While wages and productivity rose in tandem during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, they become decoupled in about 1980, as productivity continued to climb while wages slumped and then recovered only modestly. And the gap between rich and poor grew more pronounced during the late-2000s recession, according to Timothy Noah at Slate, due to a jump in the poverty rate that was the highest in over a decade.

But did you know that the “Gini” coefficient — a measure of a country’s income inequality — was at 0.468 in 2009, nearly halfway up the Gini scale that ranges from zero (most equal) to one (least equal)? A high Gini coefficient is often associated with political instability and a poor standard of living, and most first-world countries rank lower on the Gini scale than the U.S. Some other nations that have had Gini coefficients similar to the United States’ include the Philippines, Ecuador and Rwanda.

I’m not making this up.

The Philippines, Ecuador, and Rwanda.

That’s just terrific.



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