Globalizing the Middle Class


| 3/26/2008 9:25:49 AM


Tags: middle class, food prices, standard of living, population growth, population pressure,

Most of us would agree that a higher standard of living in poor countries is needed. But such a transformation might have surprising consequences. The middle class in poor nations is growing more quickly than any other part of the population, Foreign Policy reports, and that affects prices—and lifestyles—globally. Because more people can afford to eat more, the cost of food is rising. With that comes unrest. Protests have cropped up worldwide over the price of tortillas in Mexico or soybeans in Indonesia. Eventually, demand in these countries will increase for appliances, homes, and cars. Similar shifts in prices are expected. If, due to demand, prices for resources like water and oil reflect actual costs, it will change what it means to be middle class in the West. We might have to think more carefully about turning on the tap or hopping in the car as our purchasing power shrinks.

(Thanks, Yale Global Online.)

Lisa Gulya