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By Joan Carmichael   YEET MAGAZINE | Updated 0439 GMT (1239 HKT) October 16, 2021


The upper middle class is doing everything to maintain its advantages.  |  Ivan Ragozin via Unsplash
The upper middle class is doing everything to maintain its advantages. | Ivan Ragozin  via Unsplash

These privileged people are ready to do anything to remain so by crushing others if necessary.

It is fashionable to denounce the 0.1% of the richest people in the world. Those whose capital lines up so many zeros that they alone hold as much wealth as the poorest 90%. American philosopher Matthew Stewart's new book goes against the grain. The author believes that the real cause of inequalities is rather to be found at the level of the upper middle class: the 9.9% lying between these super-rich and the rest of the population.

The title of his work (which is not translated into French) sets the tone: The 9.9%: The new aristocracy which digs inequality and distorts our culture is called . He denounces a class obsessed with success and meritocracy, and which is desperate to keep its advantages. The very vicious circle of low interest rates and inequality

They want to put their children in the best schools, grab the best jobs, live in privileged neighborhoods, even if it means expelling others. In other words, this affluent middle class is the main driver of inequality, argues Matthew Stewart.

Meritocracy

“The 9.9% are guided by the ideology of meritocracy. They believe that success in society depends only on hard work and talent, ” explains the author in an interview with Vox . This culture serves them to justify inequalities, by giving credence to the thesis that if we do not succeed in life, it is because we have not made enough efforts.

“Inequality has structural causes, and once it's in place, other mechanisms come into play to block and exacerbate it. And that's where the 9.9% come in, who thanks to their excess resources are able to overinvest to lock in their privileges, ” says Matthew Stewart.

This race for success is more or less shared by the whole of society. Almost every parent is ready to break the rules to get their offspring admitted to the best-known school. But upper-middle-class people have more leverage to implement it, Stewart continues.

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The worst part is that this famous class of 9.9% feels incredibly frustrated. She is never rich enough for her taste and never ceases to envy those famous super-rich people right above her. "I know people who are in the richest 1% and who feel incredibly poor because they look around and see other people who have a lot more and who are doing a lot better ," says the author. . It makes them do crazy things to keep their position and avoid falling. ”