I suspect more strongly worded versions of this narrative is going to play well in the coming backlash. It's going to be VERY ugly in the US as conditions worsen.
In Aesop's fables, there is a tale of the goose that laid golden eggs. The owners of the goose, getting ever wealthier due to the golden eggs laid each morning, weren't content. They wanted grow rich faster. So, they reasoned, if we could only cut open the goose, we could get to the source of the gold and avoid waiting for our reward. However, when they killed the goose and opened it up, they found that the goose was like any other. They had destroyed the miracle and soon became destitute.
In a very real way, the US middle class is the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs for the US and the global economy. Looked at over history's long view, the arrival of the US middle class after WW2 looked like a first: a nation of educated and politically empowered workers fully compensated for their toil. The wealth it produced during the years it was in ascendence has been unmatched in history.
However, things changed. The US middle class is now in deep decline -- average incomes have been stagnant since the mid seventies and rapidly increasing costs are eating the rest. Its emergence is looking more like an historic anomaly than any self-reinforcing trend line.
The reason for this decline is that we are in the process of killing it. Here's the rogues list that killed the Goose:
- US political parties via wealth distribution. The Democrats (wealth given to the poor) and the Republicans (wealth taken by the rich).
- Corporations via profit maximization. Shifting the productivity of the US middle class to global locations (which undermines any presumption of comparative advantage). Corporations are not aligned with the interests of the US middle class, but with that of profit maximization within the global marketplace.
- The financial world running successive bubbles/scams. A natural consequence of rapid wealth accumulation (see wealth transfer above) in the hands of a global elite is that there are too few real investment opportunities at manageable scales. The result is an endless stream of speculative bubbles/scams aimed at drawing wealth out of the middle class and each other.