The vanishing middle class

Last week I attended a very interesting seminar by Peter Temin about his new book (out next year), The Vanishing Middle Class. The book concentrates on the US. Prof Temin began with the data: defining middle class as those on between two thirds of median income and twice median income, the proportion of the US population who are middle class declined from 62% in 1970 to 43% in 2014. Much of the talk concerned the overlap between this decline and the role of race in the United States. The figures on poverty and incarceration for African-Americans are shocking. One in three black men will go to prison during their lives. However, Professor Temin pointed out that – although race has been a forceful part of the political argument used in favour of minimal welfare in the US – less than a fifth of low wage workers are black, a fifth Hispanic, and 80% white.

The book sounds like it will be a must-read. Meanwhile, some of the books cited during his talk were: Michelle Alexander, [amazon_link id=”1595586431″ target=”_blank” ]The New Jim Crow[/amazon_link]; Jane Mayer, [amazon_link id=”1925228843″ target=”_blank” ]Dark Money[/amazon_link] (on the Koch brothers); and Ta Nehisi Coates, [amazon_link id=”1925240703″ target=”_blank” ]Between the World and Me[/amazon_link].

[amazon_image id=”1595581030″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]New Jim Crow, The[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0385535597″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”1410485846″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Between the World and Me (Thorndike Press Large Print Popular and Narrative Nonfiction Series)[/amazon_image]