March 28 2006
The Middle Class comprises up to twenty percent of the population. The well-to-do members have higher functions and higher incomes but not as high as the elite at the top of society.
It is suggested that both the elite and the Middle Class profit from an economic boom. Maybe that is still the case in developing countries, see for example my last Letter about the Asian Economic Boom.
The "2006 Economic Report of the (American) President" affirms however that only the oligarchy (the elite) has profited from the American economic growth of the last thirty years.
"Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary of Americans at the 90th percentile (top 10%) of the income distribution rose only 34%, or about 1% a year.
Income at the 99th percentile rose 87%, income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181% and income at the 99.99th percentile (barely 30.000 persons) rose 497%." (Paul Krugman of the New York Times).
For the richest 30.000 persons every million in income in the seventies rose in thirty years to six million dollars while the income of the rest of the population hardly changed.
Krugman rightly asks the question: "Should we be worried about the increasingly
oligarchic nature of American society" The word increasingly implies however that he does not acknowledge that American society has always been very
His answer is clear: "Yes, and not just because a rising economic tide has failed to lift most boats. But also because a highly unequal society tends to be highly corrupt."
One kind of corruption I described in my Third Letter "Gatesian Corruption".
The dominating question remains however "What can YOU do to change this situation?"
Again I advance the solution that masspeople should invade the eliteworld to make it impossible that elitepeople continue to live their prosperous, privileged and undisturbed life they have been living for ages. (see also
"Discontent is only the beginning of change" or
"How to cause a catastrophe").
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis