This book describes very nicely what the working class is, which is really true middle class, and how it differs from other classes of American society: poor, professionals, and the wealthy elite. It also concentrates on increasing challenges for people in this group created by globalization, outsourcing of manufacturing, and the disappearance of American lore of business as a family, either small or big. The disappearance of the job as a source of belonging and change to a job as the transactional process also removed the stability from many people’s lives, causing severe psychological distress. The book also reviews many political issues that separated this group of people from their former champion – the democratic party. This change created a new political division in America: The Middle (Working) Class being fleeced by the Government vs. United forces of the wealthy elite and the poor Underclass prospering or surviving via receiving the Government’s largess either in the form of a tenured professorship or welfare checks and free services. The book also reviews economic and psychological commonalities between people of different races in this class. The author formulated the book’s central message this way:” It’s a simple message: when you leave the two-thirds of Americans without college degrees out of your vision of the good life, they notice. And when elites commit to equality for many different groups but arrogantly dismiss “the dark rigidity of fundamentalist rural America, this is a recipe for extreme alienation among working-class whites. Deriding “political correctness” becomes a way for less-privileged whites to express their fury at the snobbery of more-privileged whites. If you like what that dynamic is doing to the country, by all means continue business as usual. I don’t, for two reasons. The first is ethical: I am committed to social equality, not for some groups but for all groups. The second is strategic: the hidden injuries of class now have become visible in politics so polarized that our democracy is threatened. Another key message is that elite truths don’t make sense in working-class lives. Working-class truths do, and my hope is that I’ve provided a window into why. If we’re not going to provide elite lives for the broad mass of people, neither can we expect them to embrace elite truths.”
MY TAKE ON IT:
I do not accept the typical division of contemporary society into classes based on income. I think income has little relevance in society when nobody is starving while housing and staff are available for everybody, albeit of different quality. The critical difference is how people get resources to maintain whatever is their way of life:
- The poor have no property and have little to offer to others, so they have to do simple work where they are easily substituted by others and have little to no bargaining power.
- Middle Class possesses some valuable material property like a farm, shop, or similar small business, or valuable intellectual property such as experience in doing some complex job, which provides some serious bargaining power. However, in both cases, these properties need the application of significant effort to produce good returns.
- The elite possesses a large amount of property, usually material like inherited or acquired wealth or prestige that allows obtaining resources with little or no effort.
In my opinion, the current problems are caused by a massive decrease in the need for human effort to produce goods and services, making a great many people of the Middle class redundant, consequently pushing them into the rank of poor. So naturally, this causes people to become upset and unhappy, quite possibly leading to massive changes in the structure of society.