After thirty-five years of globalization, most people in the world are still living a wretched existence by US middle class standards, according to the Pew Research Center. More people than ever before have entered the middle class throughout the world, which the US corporate news media will brag about, but definitions of middle class vary throughout the world, which the same corporate news media won’t tell you. So, for example, people living in poverty in Vietnam on $2.70 a day might be considered middle class if their wages double, which would mean those folks are still living a wretched existence by any standard, except now they’re considered middle class, by somebody’s definition.
According to a Pew Research Center analysis, “…though there was growth in the middle-income population (in the world) from 2001 to 2011, the rise in prosperity was concentrated in certain regions of the globe, namely China, South America and Eastern Europe. The middle class barely expanded in India and Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America.”
This rise in the third world middle class corresponds with a decline in the middle class in the United States, which the corporate news media won’t mention. That’s because globalization is a facade hiding the reality that free trade as is currently negotiated is nothing more than an income redistribution scam. Here’s how it works, and here’s how the researchers at Pew have been easily fooled.
One needs to earn between $6,000 and $25,000 a year to be considered middle class in China. See understanding-chinas-middle-class–China Business Review. In China, these people are free from such things as social security, free from overtime pay, free to suck in the world’s worst air pollution, free to drink among the world’s most polluted water, and they’re are often forced to work sixteen hours a day.
Do a little math. A person in the USA earning the federal minimum wage of $7.50 an hour working forty hours earns $15,600 a year, hardly middle class by US standards. The difference between middle class in the US and China is one of income redistribution.
When the US government signs a so-called free trade treaty, the result redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent because these agreements legally pave the way for US corporations to ship jobs from the US to lesser paying nations, like China. The treaties also pave the way for US corporations to create jobs overseas, rather than in the US, so they serve to discourage US job growth, and corporate investment in the USA. The difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower pay, in say China, goes straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising share prices and soaring dividends.
So, for example, a job paying $50,000 in the US may pay only $6,000 in China (with no overtime pay, and often being forced to work 16 hours a day). The difference between the two figures is $44,000, and that goes toward rising corporate profits, which in turn, goes into the pockets of the one percent via rising dividends and share prices. The US jobs losers get a few months of unemployment insurance, if they’re lucky.
In the meantime, as millions of jobs are shipped overseas, or created there when they would have been created over here in the absence of these income redistribution scams known as free trade agreements, the tax dollars that normally go to schools, fire, police, roads and other infrastructure, and our social safety nets, are being redistributed to the 1 percent with every job that is exported overseas. By the way, the BIGGEST EXPORT PRODUCT OF THE UNITED STATES IS JOBS.
These agreements weaken the Social Security Trust Fund because the people earning $55,000 a year are paying into it, and the people who steal their wages when jobs are shipped overseas, pay social security taxes on only the first $118,500 of their their $10,000,000+ income, which, coincidentally, violates the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause of the US Constitution.
However, narrow minded researchers and corrupt news media reporters influenced by corporate dollars will declare that free trade agreements are good things, and they’ll point to China’s growing middle class as their evidence, rather than the declining US middle class, as an example. And they’ll do this without mentioning that middle class in China means living a very subsistence life style at best, and being encapsulated with dire poverty at the worst.
So when the corporate news media reports on the growth of the middle class throughout the world, take it for what it’s worth, which is nothing.