We’re told the world is turning middle class, but those at the bottom have little to cheer
Half the world is now middle class. So ran the headlines reporting a Brookings Institution analysis of global poverty, according to which 3.8 billion people can now be defined as “middle class” or “rich”. We have, Brookings suggested, reached a “global tipping point”.
Economic development, in China and India in particular, has helped pull millions out of poverty, a shift reflected in these figures. What is striking about the report, though, is as much what it obscures as what it reveals. The four categories in the Brookings analysis are: poor, vulnerable, middle class and rich. Notice what’s missing? The working class.