Okay, we all understand that the American “middle class” is withering away, being replaced by an increasingly wealthy top-level economic class (1% or 5% or 20% or whatever cut-off line you care to discuss); while most of the formerly middle class descends into poverty. We’ve all read plenty about wage-stagnation, or the grotesquely increasing disparities in income.
That much is old news.
Here’s an article I just saw from yesterdays NYT, that looks at the other side of the equation, which has seen less discussion: Polarization in spending trends. Businesses (retailers and service providers) are noticing, and are polarizing their product/service lines, providing more upscale or high-end goods and services, or more downscale Dollar Store quality goods and services, with shrinking offerings at traditional mid-level “middle class” levels.
The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. Nelson D. Schwartz, NYT, Feb. 2, 2014.
Just thought I’d point this out, in case anyone is interested in reading this, or discussing it here. I’ll start with this in MPSIMS, although it’s not entirely out of the question that it might belong in Great Debates if much of a discussion ensues here.
ETA: Okay, I’ll add a quote of an excerpt:
The article gives some examples of mid-level providers that are hurting, like Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants, some mid-level hotel chains, etc.