Transitions of the angry middle class (Opinion)
- Few years ago, emerging markets and middle-income developing countries had an era of stability, democracy & mass consumer markets that led the world economy. But, democratic transition was not achieved despite the globally growing middle class. Instead, clashes between angry middle class and governments have become a norm.
- Brazil and Turkey were rocked by urban protests. The idea of Brazilian President Mr.Rousseff’s Workers’ Party to invest lavishly for the World Cup & Olympics by letting the exchange value of the Brazilian Real soar & subsequent raising of bus fares, hit hard on the ordinary urban Brazilian. She was forced to recast her policies thereon.
- The decision to reshape the city with new construction by Turkish president including closing of Gezi park , a deeply valued urban refuge, led to protests and his commitment to democracy was questioned.
- Angry middle class are emerging everywhere and similar phenomenon is seen (the 4 middle-income countries) from São Paulo to Caracas, from Sarajevo to Kiev & from Istanbul to Bangkok.
- As per International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the 187 countries ranked, oil-enriched Venezuela, ranks 73rd in per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power parity of its currency), Thailand ranks 92nd, Bosnia-Herzegovina ranks 99th, & Ukraine ranking 106th (poorest).
- The increasing corruption & limiting accountability makes it crucial to decide if these countries will grow with the living standards of richer countries,or fall back to the standards of poorer ones.
- The economy of Ukraine grew 0.2 % only in 2012 according to world bank,while Bosnia-Herzegovina declined by 0.7 %. Thailand GDP increased by 6.5 % &Venezuela also had a strong growth of 5.6 % .
- These short-term growth rates lack information about the gap between economic growth and political exclusion, or the amount of economic growth manipulated through corruption that can lead to eruption of anger seen through protests.
- The corruption index compiled by Transparency International (TI) mentions that Thailand (ranks 102nd), Ukraine(144th) & Venezuela(160th) are most corrupt countries in the world.The 2012 TI scale rates Bosnia as honest with a rank of 72nd in corruption.
- The frustrated middle classes who opted for change were neither always democrats or supported by majority population. In Bangkok the demonstrators are seeking to overturn a freely elected Prime Minister who has Thais support.
- In Ukraine, protesters in Kiev overturned a government who won electoral support from a majority of the country.
- Similiar to angry middle classes in these 4 countries, Indians wanted a government that is accountable, responsible, and effective in moving their country further into the modern world.
- Transparency International (TI)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)