With No Middle Class Left, Ad Age Says Top 10% Dominates Purchasing Power

Wow. Via Wonkette, here's a report that's provides capitalism0based proof of what we at AlterNet have been saying for a long time about the eroding middle class.

It's a report from Ad Age magazine declaring the "era of mass affluence" to be "over" and pinpointing the purchasing power of the tippy-top of the class pyramid--leaving the rest of us out in the cold.

The report,as the below article from "Too Much" magazine notes, is simply "following the money:"

The Mad Men 1960s America — where average families dominated the consumer market — has totally disappeared, this Ad Age New Wave of Affluence study details. And Madison Avenue has moved on — to where the money sits. And that money does not sit in average American pockets. The global economic recession, Ad Age relates, has thrown “a spotlight on the yawning divide between the richest Americans and everyone else.”

Taking inflation into account, Ad Age goes on to explain, the “incomes of most American workers have remained more or less static since the 1970s,” while “the income of the rich (and the very rich) has grown exponentially.”

The top 10 percent of American households, the trade journal adds, now account for nearly half of all consumer spending, and a disproportionate share of that spending comes from the top 10’s upper reaches.

“Simply put,” sums up Ad Age’s David Hirschman, “a small plutocracy of wealthy elites drives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending and has outsize purchasing influence — particularly in categories such as technology, financial services, travel, automotive, apparel, and personal care.”

The story goes on to note that most Americans aren't aware of this growing inequality and still believe in an ideal that remains "egalitarian," a society in which everyone has a shot at attaining a level of luxury and spending power to respond to those ads. But in reality, statistically speaking, we remain very much locked into our stark class divide.

H/t Too Much via Wonkette via Metafilter

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at June 2, 2011, 6:59am

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