Arab Today, arab today latin americas growing middle classes are restless
Last Updated : GMT 01:21:04
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Latin America's growing middle classes are restless

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Latin America's growing middle classes are restless

A supermarket in San Jose del Cabo
Montevideo - AFP

"Juan Middle Class" may be a cartoon, but the problems he faces -- expensive schools, crummy healthcare, ballooning grocery bills -- are all too real for millions of newly middle-class Latin Americans.
The Uruguayan cartoon character speaks to the frustrations of more than 50 million Latin Americans who made a mass exodus from poverty during the region's so-called "golden decade" but are now feeling the pain of overstretched public services and an economic slowdown.
Created in the run-up to Uruguay's October 26 elections by a fringe political party, the centrist Independent Party, Juan Clasemedia lays out the woes of the region's newly burgeoning middle class in online videos and on his own Twitter account.
"He sends his kids to public school, but it's still expensive. He waits three months to see a specialist at the clinic and still pays a lot of money. Every Sunday he pays more at the supermarket and, to make matters worse, he risks getting mugged at any moment," says one cartoon.
The World Bank, which defines "middle class" as individual income of $10 to $50 a day, estimates that just over 30 percent of Latin Americans now fall in that bracket, after a world commodities boom brought the region a windfall in the 2000s.
The signs of the transformation are omnipresent, from the hike in motor scooter sales in northeast Brazil to the rage for online English classes in Venezuela to the proliferation of refrigerators, TVs, cars, Internet access and smartphones across the region.But new money has also brought new frustrations.
"Purchasing power has advanced faster than the quality of public services," said Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank's chief economist for the region.
"Our lives have gotten better, of course. But public health care, for example, is terrible," said Cida Alves, a 46-year-old housewife, as she browsed at the giant Itaquera Shopping Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic capital.
In June last year, a million Brazilians took to the streets demanding better public services, a surge of discontent that threatens to unseat leftist President Dilma Rousseff in a tight runoff election on October 26.
Protests have erupted elsewhere, too. In Chile and Colombia, the anger was focused on expensive university tuition. In Venezuela, on crime.
- Fragile gains -
"The members of the middle class are becoming demanding citizens," said Gabriel Kessler, a sociologist at Argentina's National University of La Plata."Collective goods like education, healthcare, public transport, haven't improved as much as access to consumption."
Because of that, he said, "there's mounting criticism in the region that there's too much emphasis on consumption and not enough on improving infrastructure and public goods."
The economic slowdown is adding to the malaise.
Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, is in recession, and the International Monetary Fund is predicting regional growth of 1.3 percent this year, the worst since 2009.
That is putting the fragile middle class at risk, said Olivier Dabene, a Latin America specialist at Sciences Po in Paris.
"This group isn't what we'd call middle-class in Europe," he said.
"They're still in a vulnerable situation and could quickly fall back into poverty if they lose their jobs."
And they are feeling the pinch of their recent consumption boom, he said."We've seen a lot of reports on people who can suddenly afford to buy a fridge or a moped. But what gets talked about less is that they sign up to pay it off in 12 monthly installments, and sometimes by the time the 10th rolls around they have to take the merchandise back because they can't pay anymore," he said.
De la Torre said the World Bank does not foresee a "backward slide" but is concerned about a stagnation and the impact it could have in a region that has grown accustomed to fast gains.
"We're facing some difficult transition years. There's going to be tension between social expectations and the capacity to respond to them," he told AFP, saying investment in education and productivity would be key to rebooting economic growth.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today latin americas growing middle classes are restless Arab Today, arab today latin americas growing middle classes are restless

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Optimism on the front line

GMT 07:24 2017 Monday ,20 February

Optimism on the front line
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic
View News in Arabic - Business: قضايا ساخنة
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 21:49 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Scientists develop new therapy

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday