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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:38 PM

Barbara and John Ehrenreich: The Real Story Behind the Crash and Burn of America's Managerial Class

Barbara and John Ehrenreich: The Real Story Behind the Crash and Burn of America's Managerial Class
How the rise and fall of the professional-managerial class has impacted the last hundred years.

February 19, 2013 |


Every would-be populist in American politics purports to defend the “middle class,” although there is no agreement on what it is. Just in the last couple of years, the “middle class” has variously been defined as everybody, everybody minus the 15 percent living below the federal poverty level; or everybody minus the very richest Americans. Mitt Romney famously excluded “those in the low end” but included himself (2010 income $21.6 million) along with “80 to 90 percent” of Americans. The Department of Commerce has given up on income-based definitions, announcing in a 2010 report that “middle class families” are defined “by their aspirations more than their income (…). Middle class families aspire to home ownership, a car, college education for their children, health and retirement security and occasional family vacations”—which excludes almost no one.

Class itself is a muddled concept, perhaps especially in America, where any allusion to the different interests of different occupational and income groups is likely to attract the charge of “class warfare.” If class requires some sort of “consciousness,” or capacity for concerted action, then a “middle class” conceived of as a sort of default class—what you are left with after you subtract the rich and the poor—is not very interesting.

But there is another, potentially more productive, interpretation of what has been going on in the mid-income range. In 1977, we first proposed the existence of a “professional-managerial class,” distinct from both the “working class,” from the “old” middle class of small business owners, as well as from the wealthy class of owners. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/economy/barbara-and-john-ehrenreich-real-story-behind-crash-and-burn-americas-managerial-class



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Reply Barbara and John Ehrenreich: The Real Story Behind the Crash and Burn of America's Managerial Class (Original post)
marmar Feb 2013 OP
Warpy Feb 2013 #1

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:19 PM

1. I see the real rise in the PMC as a separate class

happening in the 70s. Corporations absorbed baccalaureate prepared women and people of color to placate the EEOC. The jobs often didn't make a lot of sense, too many were window dressing to make the place look good.

Having fired the PMC that had real jobs in the merger happy 80s and 90s, it's no wonder they moved on to the busy workers and micromanagers. Having eliminated much professional level work through mergers and having crushed labor by buying politicians to hold wages down and then offshoring jobs when even that wasn't enough for them, they simply had no need to placate the EEOC or any other agency.

Now the suburbs that were lavishly supported by the PMC have outstripped the inner city as centers of poverty.

It was a meteoric rise and the crash has been equally spectacular. Now we have a glut of kids with four year degrees, nowhere to put them to use, and a mountain of debt that will cripple them for life and never be paid in many cases.

Good job, corporate world. Let's hope that mountain of debt turns around and bites you all on the ass.

I also hope the displaced PMC realizes it has been scammed and joins with labor against the wealthy and powerful. It's about the only hope this country has.

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