Thursday, October 16, 2008

Being Middle Class

One of the greatest differences in our country as I have traveled the world is the entrepreneurial spirit which created jobs and a solid middle class. While ideas were vast in many of the countries I visited there was not the sense that the individual could make an economic difference in the country with a single implemented idea. Though there were many educated people, there was a lack of implementation, a lack entrepreneurship. This may indeed have something to do with the socialist structure which evolved out of a feudal system. I might also add that today many of these countries are indeed competitive, though perhaps the structural base remains.

America was founded on a different system, a system which spurred individual responsibility and collective active participation in markets. (Even though we are going through a change now, it can be asserted that our structural base will also remain.) When considering the American middle class, I think of entrepreneurs who had an idea and implemented it, employing hundreds, even thousands nationwide. I think of these same entrepreneurs inspiring yet other entrepreneurs. I think of the many workers who moved up from the South to work at auto plants and foundries in the North, namely in Detroit, Pittsburgh and other industrial cities. We had products to produce by those less educated which provided income, stability, and hope for the next generation. This was the making of the American middle class.

What has changed? Innovation has been largely transferred to technology that does not include stateside labor en masse. Where can the middle class be rebuilt, the class that included skilled laborers and not necessarily college educated ones? Where can the masses make a living wage so that their children can be far better than their parents? Where can ideas flourish that will inspire later generations to invest in job training and careers that will have a lasting affect on their communities and the world at large? Perhaps the rebuilding on the middle class can begin with green initiatives. Innovative ideas are great. So is education. But people en masse need jobs that will provide income, stability and a hope for a better future.

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