This Umair article yearns for a past that really wasn’t there.
Or perhaps better said: there was an economic aberration in normal human affairs from 1950 to 1990.
You see, for most of history, average citizens struggled day-to-day, just this Umair article talks about. There wasn’t a big and somewhat prosperous middle class before WW2. If one was a worker, the paycheck didn’t last any more than a few weeks. If one was a farmer, two bad years usually meant bankruptcy. Financial uncertainty was part of a hard life for most of us.
And there really wasn’t a lot of social mobility either in those days. Most of us stayed in the social class we were born into. Universities were for kids from privileged families.
Something happened after WW2 in United States and Canada. My hypothesis is that these two countries had an intact economic infrastructure after WW2. In other words, they had an economic advantage over the rest of the world. And to keep the economic wheels turning, big business acquiesced to many demands of labor, which meant profits were shared more equitably.
Western Europeans caught up to North America, thanks to the Marshall Plan and wise use of fractional banking. It is a small miracle that Britain, France, Germany, and other nations rebuilt their society in less than a generation.
But all this middle class prosperity was an aberration, not a natural outcome. If anything, the trends Umair is talking about are the natural order: a 10% fairly wealthy class and 90% peasants. Look at history in different places — and what do you see?
This does not mean I advocate for the return to the GOOD OLD DAYS. My background is from the “working poor.” My father was a farmer in days when farmers took great pride in how much they struggled financially to feed the world. My father was not making enough money to send me to school when I needed to go to school. So the government picked up those bills. In the more natural order, I would net have been educated well enough to respond to Umair articles. My father would have been training me for farm labor. Thanks to government, I got my high school and university education. How many “working poor” from 1920 could have said that?
So how do we reverse the tide of regressing back to the natural order of two economic classes: 10% wealthy and 90% peasant?
Or let me ask in another way: “Should we really trust western democracy to guide us upstream against this natural order?”
Let me be more direct: “Would not how western democracy is working for the middle class today be indicative of how it will work for the middle class in the future?”
Reading more Umair articles will not reverse the trend back to the natural order. It is time for Umair readers to build a kinder, wiser democracy.