Friday, August 20, 2010

The rise of the richer worker in Asia

Although "middle class" is more a subjective sociological term rather than an objective economic definition many socialists would prefer to describe such people as simply higher paid members of the working class, as they are just as often to be associated collectively in trade unions and recognise their class unity against the real true wealthy elite.

The Asian Development Bank define India’s middle class as those who spend anywhere between $2 and $20 (Rs 93 to Rs 930) a day on purchasing power. Broken down, the lower-middle class falls between US$2 and US$4 per day, the middle-middle class spends between US$4 and US$10 per day and is able to save and consume non-essential goods, and the upper-middle class consumes between US$10 and US$20 per day.

However, more than three-fourths of India’s 274 million-strong middle class face the risk of slipping back into poverty in the event of a major economic shock as they are in the lowest spending bracket of $2-4 (Rs 93-186) a day.Another financial crisis, wars or large natural disasters can reverse people’s move into higher income categories."Asia's rapidly-growing middle class remains vulnerable ... A major shock can easily send them back into poverty," said Jong-Wha Lee, chief economist at the ADB.

Over the next two decades, the Indian middle class population is expected to touch one billion. And 55% of the world’s middle class will be in Asia by 2030, up from 25% now.China had 817 million people, or 63% of its population, in the middle class bracket in 2008.

Diabetes, heart disease and cancer on the rise among Asian middle class and that people are adopting Western eating habits that may lead to obesity. The rise in obesity in China and India is cause for concern, especially when much of emerging Asia’s population is still living in poverty. China has almost 11 percent of its population living below the minimal level of dietary consumption while over 20 percent of Indians are dealing with the same problem.
“All indications are that in the next 20-30 years, Asia will be faced with an increasing number of chronic diseases on a scale previously unseen,”

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