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What about the idea of a catalytic class?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by bagamoyo, May 6, 2011.

  1. b

    bagamoyo JF-Expert Member

    May 6, 2011
    Joined: Jan 14, 2010
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    What about the idea of a catalytic class? This is the idea: the catalytic class is a group, whose expansion triggers internally driven, self-sustaining, political and economic change, a group whose exertion of pressure for better governance and economic reform leads to change when the class hits a certain size (in population or economic or tax revenue size). The interests of this class coincide with the interests of the poor.

    As noted in the Globe and Mail, the catalyst class (a) has an interest in accountability because they pay more taxes; (b) probably don't work for the state and thus don't see their loyalty and interests tied to the status quo; (c) have parents who led quite different consumption lifestyles to them; (d) probably have internet (cafe) access and cell phones; and (e) want "open business conditions, fair and honourable contracts, and a route to employment unclotted by corruption".

    That sounds more like the middle class to me.

    One in three Africans are middle class. Or are they? A new report from the African Development Bank says: 34%, or 313 million Africans are now middle class (living on $2-$20 a day), after several decades without any change, a jump from 27% in 2000.

    A similar report by the Asia Development Bank (pdf) last year found something similar in the data and noted that 56% of people in developing Asia lived at the $2-$20 a day level (all figures purchasing power parity ).

    This is all good news. However, is someone living on just over $2 a day "middle class"? Two dollars is the average poverty line for developing countries, meaning you're poor or middle class – but what about in between?

    There are various definitions of middle class in what is a burgeoning area of interest for poverty reduction research – stimulated perhaps by ideas about the middle classes as change-makers or catalysts. Think about the middle classes who voted with the poor for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as president in Brazil, or the vibrant civil society of India that brings together the poor and middle-class activists (or possibly even the middle classes who are the protesters in the Middle East).

    This Article was first published by The Guardian Newspaper:

    To read more about this article please go to this link: Who are Africa's middle class? And will they help to reduce poverty? | Andy Sumner | Global development | guardian.co.uk