The Myth of the Middle Class

In America, it came to mean: security. Financial security.

Locked in.

House, car, insurance payments—check. College $$ for the kids—check. Two, three weeks’ vacation a year—check. That kind of thing.

Of course, was the company Dad was working for secure? It sure as hell wasn’t, in the auto industry, once Japan entered the scene in the 1960s.

And nothing stays the same. A middle class worker (or anyone) should be GOING SOMEWHERE. Not just sitting in the same place for the rest of his life. He should be going somewhere better. That should be his outlook. How to Be Invisible: P... J. J. Luna Best Price: $6.87 Buy New $7.92 (as of 12:20 UTC - Details)

Fluidity. Not wheels spinning in the same rut.

But then we would be talking about different concepts of an economy, and different company structures.

A company should always be looking to expand into new areas—with a solid aim to move deserving workers UPWARD. “We’re moving you into a better position, Jones, and we’re bringing Smith up from where he is to replace you.”

This sort of thing does happen, but it should be built into a company’s idea of itself.

Again, imagination enters the scene. What can a company do to make itself better, more innovative, more daring, more visionary?

TurboTax Deluxe 2023 T... Best Price: $55.00 (as of 09:37 UTC - Details) “Jones, we’re a construction company, but we’re building a whole new branch, a really big one, devoted to fixing and cleaning up town and city water supplies. This is major. We come in from the outside, with expertise, and we really fix the water. No bullshit. No faking it. No loading up excess charges on our fee. We want you to head up this department, this branch. Because you’re relentless. Ready? You’re on a plane to Burma in two weeks.”

Jones is middle class, but he’s not Mr. Security sitting on his ass decade after decade, his static future guaranteed. He’s involved in adventure.

Think East India Company, with all the adventurism of that outfit, minus the empire building, minus the extortion and tyranny.

America built its middle class based on COMFORT. A hundred thousand companies sprang up to sell stuff to the middle class guy, to make his comfort feel real and good. “Hey, middle class guy, you’ve got a nice corporate job now, good salary, benefits, insurance, you’re locked in for life, so now buy these 500 items that’ll make your comfort REALLY COMFORTABLE and predictable. Buy all these items and you’ll swim in comfort.”

That’s a prescription that, bit by bit, sucks the energy away from a human being. That’s like television. The more you watch it, the deeper you sink.

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