This is the one great achievement of the last half century. It is entirely and absolutely astonishing, we’ve just seen the biggest reduction in absolute poverty in the entire history of our species. And it’s not just that people are moving up to that second stale crust a day – we’ve got to where half of all of us now enjoy those bourgeois pleasures of three squares, a change of clothes and a roof overhead. We are actually solving the grand economic question, how do we all get rich?
More than half the world’s population is now middle class, researchers have calculated.
The tipping point was reached when the number of people who qualify as middle class nudged to just short of 3.6 billion, presenting vast new markets for businesses but creating rising expectations of public services.
The proportion is higher than the 3.1 billion considered to be economically vulnerable and the 630 million who live in poverty. A further 200 million people were classed as rich.
That 630 million who live in poverty, that’s under 10% of all of us. Back 50 years it was more than 40% of all. And our best bet yet is that we’re going to get that number down to about zero in these next 15 to 20 years.
The point here being that we’ve clearly been doing something right over this time period. The modal human experience has been that abject poverty of less than $1.90 a day over history. We’re about to abolish it. Ain’t that great?
And what is it that has been doing it? That’s right, it’s that neoliberal globalisation, our buying stuff made by poor people in poor countries. Go to Primark and buy a second £1 t-shirt to celebrate. Because it’s those sweatshops that are taking people off the garbage mountains and dragging them up into this bourgeoisie.
By the way, if the proletarians are no long the majority does that mean communism is dead?