FEUDALIST TARTS: Corporations No Longer Trying To Sell To The Vanishing The Middle Class


HUFFINGTON POST: As the wealthy continue to accrue capital — helped by policies like a low tax on profits from stock and real estate sales — and the less well-off classes try to make do in a pitiless economic climate, corporations appear to be finally recognizing the reality of the prosperity gap, and tailoring their product lines accordingly. Manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, the household-goods giant responsible for everything from Charmin and Old Spice to Tide, are concentrating their efforts on luxury and bargain items, putting less emphasis on products aimed at the middle class, the Wall Street Journal reports. The erosion of middle-market product lines reflects a trend where economic pressures are making it increasingly harder for Americans to maintain a traditional middle-class existence. Jobs are less secure, home ownership rates are falling and a college education is not the guarantee of financial stability that it once was. A recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that more than a quarter of Americans who were raised in middle-class families in the late 1970s had fallen into the lower-earning classes by 2006. The WSJ notes that the United States’ Gini coefficient — a measure of a country’s income inequality — was at 0.468 in 2009, nearly halfway up the Gini scale that ranges from zero (most equal) to one (least equal). A high Gini coefficient is often associated with political instability and a poor standard of living, and most first-world countries rank lower on the Gini scale than the U.S. Some other nations that have had Gini coefficients similar to the United States’ include the Philippines, Ecuador and Rwanda. MORE

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