Middle class under siege

Societies can’t survive and thrive without something in the middle

By SHLOMO MAITAL
February 20, 2013 12:56

“The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control… where the middle class is large, there are least likely to be factions and dissensions,” Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote in his treatise, “Politics,” close to 2,500 years ago. Today, however, the middle class in Israel and the West is an endangered species, and the result is a growing threat to both our economies and our democracies – divisive and expanding inequality in wealth and income, and increasingly fractious interest-group politics.

In a report published in January by the Adva Center policy analysis institute, researchers Noga Dagan-Buzaglo and Eti Connor-Atias alarmingly state, “The Israeli middle class is a myth, asserting that the country’s middle class today increasingly resembles the working class as defined by German philosopher Karl Mark, i.e., individuals who have no means of production of their own and are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live.

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