Comment on: How the middle class became the underclass

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How the middle class became the underclass

by Annalyn Censky, staff reporter, CNNMoney, February 16, 2011

As many of you know, our Foundation brought Daniel Brook to Albuquerque to speak as a part of the Foundation’s Roll Your Own Lecture (RYOL) Series. For more on Daniel’s RYOL Lecture, see my posts of July 29th and 30th, 2010. For more on the ROYL Lecture Series in general, use the RYOL LECTURE SERIES link above.

During his lecture, Brook talked to us about the widening income gap: what it is, where it has come from, its history, its effect, and what we can expect. I’m drawing your attention to the above CNNMoney article by Annalyn Censky because it’s a great summary of the information Brook presents in his 2008 book The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America as far as the widening income gap is concerned. In my opinion, it is important to understand what’s driving the widening income gap because many of society’s ills—job loss, unemployment, under-employment, job insecurity, education issues, etc.—can be traced back to the widening income gap. Way back in 1995, Jeremy Rifkin saw the proverbial writing on the wall and talked about it in detail in his book The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. Rifkin talks about how the third sector—the non-profit sector including foundations—can play a role in mitigating the effects of a dwindling labor force (in part by developing a social market economy). Because Rifkin talks at length about the intersection between The End of Work and the third sector, I wrote an executive summary of Rifkin’s book. Feel free to request a copy by using the CONTACT US link above. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for both non-profits and foundations to have a handle on the widening income gap and the (continuing) fall of the middle class. Censky’s article is a great “cheat sheet.” But for the full story, check out Brook’s The Trap or Rifkin’s End of Work. You can’t go wrong with either.