Friday, June 20, 2008

PBS NOW segment on the growth of the middle class in India, and strained global resources; Moyers on affirmative action

Tonight (June 20), PBS “NOW” (10 PM EDT on WETA) presented a provocative segment about the growth of the middle class in India, particularly the city of Pune, about the size of Atlanta, inland a bit from the “West Coast” of India. A shopping mall larger than the Minnesota Mall of America is being built there. The show presented a middle class family with the man employed as a software designer and purchasing a high-rise condominium on a “planned community” that encouraged walking to work.

The show presented the middle class in India as having risen from 8% in 1980 to 30% today, and likely to reach 50% (over 500 million) by 2020. This means increasing consumption in order to maintain a standard of living. That implies higher prices for food and energy around the world as the middle class grows. India and China will have an effect on the world comparable to what the United States had when it became an economic powerhouse with a large middle class toward the end of the nineteenth century.

The technocrat middle class in India is even active as a political block, having formed the PPI, the Professional Party of India.

The possible conclusion is that people around the world will have to consume less and accept a lower standard of living unless we get very creative and innovative with technology. This sounds like the "flip side" of globalization. The speakers from India expressed some optimism in that regard.

Also, "Bill Moyers Journal" (at 9 PM) discussed racial inequality. The suggestion was made that Barack Obama make a speech in which affirmative action is redefined in terms of class rather than race. Obama’s election would be transformative in the way parallel to that of the American Revolution itself.

Picture: Chesapeake Beach MD, 2008

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