Many of my clients are middle class white-collar men, battling to hold on to their jobs or finding a job at the same level of pay. This is happening across the western world and is part of a radical change running though liberal democratic societies. The story below is an opinion piece I wrote for InDaily in Adelaide.
“The barbecue stopper this federal election isn’t about boat people, terrorists or the #MeToo movement. It’s how the wealthy elite and the splintering of the workforce are turning many middle-class white-collar workers into short-term contract fodder.
This has historical ramifications for Australia and the western world because, for the last 100 years, the middle class has acted as a socio-political buffer between the hoi polloi and the mega-rich.
Most economists define the middle class as having a median gross household income of $1600 a week or $84,000 a year.
But this drops to $850 or about $44,200 a year after tax and then adjusted for different household sizes. I suggest this is too shallow and that the median post-tax income is closer to $55,000.
It’s no wonder more than one million Australians are working two jobs.
Of course, income only tells part of the story but it gives the lie to those on $140-$180k, who think they are middle class. They are in the top 10 per cent of income earners in Australia.
There is also growing division within the middle class. The cultural middle class is battling to hold on to what it has and the trade-based middle class is pulling away with increased disposable income.
This is one reason why white collar middle-class Australians are demanding that governments maintain their historical standard of living in the face of globalisation, immigration, job-slashing algorithmic technology and offshoring of work, to name just a few of the dynamics of concern to them.
Many of my stories in InDaily have been about aspects of this revolutionary phenomena. The erosion of the middle class comes at a time when society is atomising and almost every credo in western life is in dispute, from religious intolerance to the mindless tribalism of public discourse.”