Class in the US and world

(Promoted from the comments. This is from DJ, who has lived in third world countries for extended periods of time)

If we truly looked at the class structure of the economy, we would find that the vast majority of Americans are royalty. Our median income is more than 50 times the world median income. We burn more energy per capita than any other major country, five times the world average, and contribute accordingly to the world environmental crisis. We see it as a right to have two cars in the driveway of our 4,000 square foot home with all the appropriate electronics. And our military stalks the world protecting our supplies of artificially cheap petroleum to make it all possible. Poverty here means the government helps you pay for your telephone, while most people in the world don’t even have access to a telephone.

And we maintain this obscenely decadent lisestyle by exploiting the working poor across the world.

“Oh, no, I would never do that!! It’s the big, bad, multinational corporations!” But if you shop at Wal-Mart, have a television in your home, own a shoe or article of clothing made outside the U.S. or Europe, drive a vehicle that gets less than 70 mpg, or hold large-cap stocks in your IRA, you are complicit. No, I’m not an exception– I’ve made progress, but I can’t get off the back of the poor. It’s just too easy to live in excess.

No wonder we don’t like to talk about class: If we’re looking for the enemy of the world’s working class, we are it. Sure, we have problems. But compared to the billions who won’t get enough to eat today because they don’t earn enough to pay for the rising cost of food, we really don’t.


  1. I agree, as discomforting as it is to agree with this. However, there are people in the US who can’t afford to eat. There are people who don’t have homes or TVs or anything like that because they can’t afford it – there are well over a million homeless people, I believe.

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