Middle Classes on Diverging Tracks

In the session on PEOPLE, it was stressed that more than 3 billion people are estimated to constitute the middle class in 2050, although “the middle class means very different things for the poor and for the rich”. Middle class is fundamental to buy consumer goods (durable or not) and today there is a mass production for a mass consumption, although what helped to create consumers also had negative effects on employment. We are only now starting to see and understand the impacts of the ongoing technological/industrial revolution in fragmented and connected societies, including on work patterns and on the welfare State. The way we produce, consume and communicate is changing rapidly, and there’s a need for new approaches that go beyond GDP and productivity measures. The global role of China was also discussed, where the word “crisis” also means “opportunity”.