USA: den krympande medelklassen slår mot världsekonomin och USA:s ställning i världen

Newsweek wealth

Det är konstigt att den franske ekonomien Thomas Pickettys bästsäljare
När Capital in the Twenty-First Century skulle ha orsakat en sån storm när den kom ut på franska 2013 och på engelska året efter.

För det har länge varit uppenbart att den amerikanska medelklassen, som alltid har utgjort USA:s styrka och grunden för dess position som världens enda supermakt, nu krymper som inlandsisen på Grönland och Nordpolen. Och precis som den globala uppvärmningen så kommer medelklassens nedgång och fall, för att göra en parafras på Edward Gibbon, knappast att vändas under de närmaste hundra åren. This is it, det här är slutstationen för den amerikanska supermakten, och vad som kommer därefter är det ingen som vet.

Charles Moore som har skrivit Margaret Thatchers officiella biografi, skriver en insiktsfull essä på det här temat i Wall Street Journal: The Middle-Class Squeeze. If Western countries want to disprove the dire forecasts of Karl Marx, we must think creatively about how to make the middle class more prosperous and secure

Take ownership much more seriously. Why are so few companies owned by the people who work for them, and why do both liberal and conservative political parties not offer greater incentives, such as tax advantages, for this to change? It is extraordinary that the joint stock company, the foundation of modern commercial and industrial wealth, is still so little influenced by the views of shareholders.

This is perhaps most evident in the preposterous salaries paid, particularly in the U.S. and Britain, to top executives of public companies. If the owners of these companies truly exercised authority over what is theirs, this wouldn’t happen. If these enterprises had grown over the last 20 years at the same rate as pay for the men who run them (it usually still is men), no one would be talking of a crisis of capitalism.

Ownership of housing, stocks and pensions is an area where creativity has died. This failing of our consumer society may owe something to the baby boomers’ desire to “have it now,” but another part of the problem is that people are correctly no longer confident that what they save now will be available to them later. Savings need more long-term government protection than they receive in most Western societies. A business culture based on deals and bonuses means that the best business minds are not interested in saving.

Newsweeks omslagsartikel, se bilden ovan, visar att det går att vända på trenden mot allt större sociala klyftor: As Wealth Inequality Soars, One City Shows the Way

Today, Ogden, with a population of roughly 86,000, boasts a distinction that has put it on the national radar: At a time when the United States—along with much of the rest of the world—is grappling with the pernicious effects of ever-widening wealth inequality, Ogden has become an unlikely beacon of egalitarianism. The city, together with its neighboring communities, has the narrowest wealth gap among America’s largest metropolitan statistical areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s five-year American Community Survey.

But just over a decade ago, the future here looked bleak. Ogden’s main streets were deserted, its shopping districts lay in ruins, and vagrants roamed downtown, peddling drugs. An online message board from 2009 decried Ogden’s urban wasteland and reputation for being “a low-class gang-infested area,” adding despairingly: “Sadly, the Ogden mentality is so deep-rooted” that any efforts to revitalize the town were opposed, and “pursuit of change has offended” many.

Om medelklassen försvinner så kommer det förr eller senare att leda till en revolution mot de rikaste en procenten både i USA och Sverige. Och det kommer inte att bli en trevlig situation. Men de rikaste verkar inte bry sig. Den spansk-amerikanske filosofen George Santanayah uttryckte det bäst: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


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