أهلا وسهلا

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Your Move, Chief

My non-iMac computer in my office is installing updates right now (currently on 11 of 130) and since it’s the computer where all the work happens, I figured we could have a quick chat while I wait.

I am going to share a secret with you, a secret regarding a global mystery that thus far I have quietly kept to myself whilst simultaneously investigating since my first ever Economics class during my senior year of high school.  This secret will change your life in ways you could never imagine, whether you’re a pensive teenage student, a busy parent juggling kids and a job and a mortgage and a demanding Facebook account, an undecided voter seeking answers on Fox News, a senior editor of The Economist, or an anonymous internet troll causing others to question their faith in humanity via asinine social media commentary.

And this secret applies to any time period, any country, and any region of the world and addresses the single claim that’s always a little bit true and a little bit of a major fucking lie and isn’t ever challenged, not even by Malcom Gladwell himself.  Like a quivering, fuzzy cluster of baby ducks nudging their little beaks out of the gooey chips of their freshly cracked shells: the middle class is forever in the process of almost-but-not-quite emerging.

What does every “economist” talk about?  The suddenly-almost influential middle class.  Turn your tv to cable news and check what the authority on third-world markets is saying.  That’s right, the budding middle class.  Writing a paper on Marie Antoinette?  Don’t forget to conclude the paper with her demise called upon by the mounting middle class.  What was the middle class doing during the Renaissance? Blossoming.  What’s the middle class doing right this very second in China? Developing.  Like you can’t stop the sun from rising or the rain from falling, you can’t stop the middle class from suddenly sprouting buds and you can’t stop economists from referring to it like an unfathomable phenomenon. 

What was the middle class doing five minutes before the period where they began emerging?  Hush child. Don’t trouble yourself with so many questions, my sweet darling.  They were plowing soil or getting distracted by serfdom or being deceived by biblical serpents to eat forbidden apples or sabotaged by modern-day serpents like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity to the brink of societal collapse.

A thousand years from now, teachers will instruct their students to open their history textbooks to a page at random, and odds are that the page will read of a region’s emerging middle class and their earnest but tragic efforts.  “But why must it be this way?” you ask yourself.  Well, what does the middle class love doing, besides budding and growing and emerging?  That’s right, they absolutely LOVE spending their equally budding/growing/emerging tiny capital on consumer goods.  The emerging middle class exists to briefly boost economies and break into fleeting glimmers of affluence by borrowing against their reputation to buy things at severely-inflated costs, surrender rights to affordable farming and livestock herding, pave nationalized educational systems, spearhead tax reforms to benefit the untouchable wealthy class, penetrate new markets and technology, and right when they’ve emerged a bit too far for the comfort of the upper class — the clock strikes midnight and their golden carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

“So, they never really finish emerging?” you ask.  Nope, they’ve subsisted since the beginning of time on a fool’s errand: emerging and then retreating on repeat.  England’s middle class has emerged so many times between the Battle of Hastings and the War of the Roses, they’ve finally legislated against it.  Italy’s middle class has risen and fallen a dozen times in the last 400 years.  The American middle class rises and falls nearly every election season and just blames it on condoms and the immigrants.  The Middle East is joining in on the fun this century, via rampant colonialism and hegemonic genocide.  Don’t worry so much about the destination, the middle class will tell you, because the fun is in repeating the journey as many times as possible until a pit bull in lipstick is given the nuclear launch codes.  

It’s 5 pm and I’m running late for a meeting and my non-iMac is still updating.  I want to end this with a small tribute to the fallen but never forgotten Robin Williams.  So instead of saying I have to leave you now, let’s just say that I had to go see about a girl.

xx

Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge.
It requires no accountability, no understanding.
The highest form of knowledge… is empathy,
for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world.
It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.

William H.G. Bullard