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Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of June 13, 2011

Readers write in on the Monitor's Future Focus issue covering the rise of the global middle class.

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Rise of global middle class?

The May 23 cover stories on the "Rise of the Global Middle Class" for the recent "Future Focus" issue were provocative, but also disputable. I suppose it depends on how you define "middle class," but the chasm between rich and poor appears to be widening, not only in the United States but in India and other countries as well.

While more Indians can buy automobiles now, there are also increasing numbers of superwealthy and impoverished Indians. The projected size of the surging global middle class doesn't acknowledge the overall world population statistics. You might also do a story on the "Rise of the global billionaires" and another on the "Rise of the global poor."

 

"Up with the middle" notes that the growth of the middle class in other countries doesn't parallel the growth of the US middle class in part because American society is more individualistic and less communal. But these terms have been painted with a broad brush.

Take one example of a communal-oriented country with a rising middle class: Colombia. Diesel jeans sell like hotcakes, though the average person has a low income. This is status advertisement, and it isn't about the family.

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