Mobile middle class
The global development gap has undergone a transformation in recent years. Arguably, this transformation eclipses Europe’s historic industrial revolution in terms of its overall importance for human welfare.
Since 1990, over one billion people have joined a global middle class that earns at least $10 a day. Another two billion belong to the fragile middle - a group sandwiched between the middle class and the ‘bottom billion’ (the billion people who still live in absolute poverty on $1.25 a day, or less). This is a far cry from the stark division that used to exist between the affluent ‘first world’ and a ‘third world’ composed of billions of people earning less than $1 a day (conditions which prevailed until the mid 20th Century).
The global class system is changing. By 2030, two billion people will join the middle class from emerging economies, leaving Europe and North America with less than a third of the total middle class population. This 21CC event asks: What impact is this having on people and the planet?