Monday 20 January 2014

How to rescue the middle classes - and why Miliband may not

Here, if you want to cut to the chase, are my conclusions in the Guardian this morning about how to save the middle classes:

"It means ratcheting down the price of property, rescuing pensions and standing up to the financial elite and those who seek total economic efficiency – for whom the relative independence of a middle tier is a glaring inefficiency, just as the working class was before them.

"But the most important factor in the survival of the middle classes is going to be their own entrepreneurial zeal, to create the local businesses, local banks and local institutions we need – their ability to carve themselves a sustainable niche in the economy.

"For that, they will need powerful political support to protect them from aspiring monopolies that would devour them – and it isn't clear whether they will get it..."

Of course, there is more to it than that.  There are global trends and great UK mistakes to contend with, but the main conclusion is this: if Ed Miliband wants to talk about the middle classes, he is going to have to think a good deal more radically than the traditional stuff dragged out by politicians on these occasions - help with home-buying, help with childcare, better schools.

You can't just carry on helping people knock the edges off the economy, because - in the end - it is the structures that are against you, as they are now.  The way we have designed the global economy is actively corroding middle class life and middle class values.

And if you want to know more, do consult my new book Broke: How to Survive the Middle Class Crisis.

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