Middle Class

Pandemics and Pandemonium

Minneapolis_Police_Department_3th_Precinct_2020-05-28.jpg

Minneapolis and urban centers across America are burning, most directly in response to the brutal killing of a black man by a white Minnesota police officer. But the rage ignited by the death of George Floyd is symptomatic of a profound sense of alienation that has been building for years among millions of poor, working class urbanites.  read more »

How Coronavirus Pandemic is Bringing a Return to Feudalism

vengeance-of-serfs.jpg

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many things, but also accelerated America’s descent into a new form of feudalism. The preexisting conditions of extreme economic concentration, inequality and reduced social mobility already were painfully evident before, but the pandemic has made them considerably worse.  read more »

The Virus's Uneven Path

the-red-line.jpg

In this miserable COVID-19 spring, it’s tempting for remote workers to vent our frustrations with being hemmed in, forced to stare at screens while unable to do much else other than walk around the block or go to Costco. Yet the pain felt by the teleworking middle class is dwarfed by that of working-class Americans.  read more »

From Blue Collar Icon to Green Radical

planet-of-the-humans-movie.jpg

In Planet of the Humans Michael Moore turns his back on working class politics by embracing neo-Malthusian eco-catastrophism.

The worldwide shutdown has been greeted by many prominent environmentalists and policy makers as a unique opportunity to wean our economies off their fossil fuel-addiction and to accelerate the transition to greener alternatives.  read more »

What If College Students Simply Don't Return in the Fall?

6080599934_1af1f54db5_o.jpg

As a college professor who meets with thousands of students nationwide, I regularly tell students that the bedrock of my own college experience almost 20 years ago was the meeting and mixing with students from around the world. My classes were generally unremarkable, but what made the collegiate bubble so exceptional were the early Saturday morning tailgates, midnight runs for donuts with close friends, or long hikes exploring areas around San Francisco.  read more »

Rethinking the Social Safety Net

social-safety-net_960px.jpg

The COVID-19 epidemic wreaked havoc on the majority of American households. The USC Dornsife poll reported on April 17th that 15% of previously employed people in the country have lost their jobs because of the virus. That translates into close to 26 million newly unemployed. While many of those jobs will come back once we get through this, I do not think all of them will. Future social distancing rules will, for instance, limit the number of patrons a restaurant or a bar can serve. Fewer customers means fewer employees to serve them.  read more »

The Pandemic Road to Serfdom

Les_Tres_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry_february.jpg

Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, America, like most higher-income countries, was already heading toward a neo-feudal future: massive inequality, ever-greater concentrations of power, and increasingly widespread embrace of a uniform (albeit secular) religion. The pandemic, all too reminiscent of the great plagues of the Middle Ages, seems destined to accelerate this process.  read more »

The Lifeblood of America

storefront_southhaven_michigan.jpg

Shutdowns mandated by the coronavirus are a pending apocalypse for small businesses, which employ 48 percent of American workers. The average small business has only 27 days’ worth of operating costs in cash reserves, with many holding far less than that. Businesses that either can’t reopen or are suffering a big drop in revenue will soon be insolvent. Some have already announced that they will be shutting down.  read more »

Working-Class People Hold Society Together: Class and COVID-19

closedshops.jpg

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted class inequalities. Commentators in the US, UK, and Australia are acknowledging that working-class people are more likely to suffer as a result of both the virus and the measures put in place to contain its spread.  read more »

Coronavirus Hits Already-Vulnerable Heartland Oil And Gas Industries Hard

oil-rig-and-cows-in-the-heartland-1400x-q100.jpg

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on many areas of the economy, the Heartland's oil and gas industry is poised to take one of the hardest hits. In particular, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Louisiana are likely to face severe impacts. At a national level, the most severe economic damage from COVID-19 will disproportionately hit a handful of sectors – travel, tourism, lodging, dining and recreation.  read more »