Middle Class

La Voz de Galicia – June 14, 2024 →

Cristina PatoThe other day, I was talking with a friend about how purchasing power has changed in recent years, and how the concept of the middle class has evolved. We were discussing very specific things related to access to the world of culture, but during that conversation, I began to wonder what the middle class really is today, who considers themselves middle class, and why. If we rely on the data published each year regarding purchasing power, one can draw many conclusions, but the reality of each of us is more complex than the numbers in any survey or statistic. Undoubtedly, the two places I inhabit, Ourense and New York, are very different, but in recent years the cost of living has radically changed in both, and little by little, the price of a market basket in Ourense is approaching the price of one in New York.

So, I return to the question about the middle class, which leads me to a different reflection than I initially imagined, related to our origins and our perception of ourselves in the context of society. According to your salary, statistics may say whether you belong to that class or not, and you may consider yourself part of it, but even if, following the statistics and your own perception, you decide that you are part of the middle class, what does that mean now? What differences are there between this middle class and that of, for example, 2019 or 2009?

It seems that every day there is a bigger gap between those who have a lot and those who have little. The shrinking of the middle class is already a fact, and accessing a better quality of life is increasingly complex, or almost impossible. And what can we do to prevent it? The sad thing is to think and accept that probably nothing.

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