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The Fallacy of the Middle-Class: Overcoming Social Resentment (XXI). About the human rights of the Middle-Class.

Human Rights of the Middle-Class are measured in terms of integrity empowerment and freedom to choose for the present and the future.

Eleonora Escalante Strategy.

Is the global middle-class free? When exploring human rights for a particular group of society, there are plenty of organizations aside from the United Nations, that dedicate their time and resources to measure the human rights state for each particular nation. Nevertheless, when it comes to measuring the Middle-Class status of human rights, everything is pivotal to one variable, freedom. Is the global middle-class free? Free to choose their economic professional endeavors? Free to move from one city to another one? Free to select their own religious faith? Free to associate with others and participate in civil society activities of any good ethical rationale? Free to marry a partner from a different social class? Free to express with respect and get informed? Is it free to decide?

The main organizations that measure and keep a record of the human rights situation of societies are basically the following:

  1. Amnesty International
  2. Human Rights Watch
  3. Cato Institute  – Human Freedom Index
  4. Fund for peace – Fragile States Index
  5. Reporters without borders – World Press Freedom Index
  6. Fariss Human Rights Index Score
  7. Freedom House – Freedom scores in political rights and civil liberties
  8. Minderoo – Global Slavery Prevalence Index

Of course, there are more entities watching, but these are the principal ones. Nevertheless, none of the latter has an observatory for the Middle-Class as such. Everything we know about human rights in the Middle-Class comes from their own stories and from some academic researchers who by the way are also business professors.

“Jump”. This watercolor was painted meanwhile I was waiting for my car repair last week. It is made with love on Paper Fabriano 5. Size: 7 inches x 5 inches. Photo reference: Alamy Stock Photo.

Middle-Class Human Rights have to be protected for the sake of democracies. When only 12% of the global population belongs to the socially reduced group of families who are capable to be well educated (either by university means or by experience), then we ask ourselves if the well-being neural structure of the Middle-Class is really protected? Without considering hate utterance against any social class on earth, if the Middle-Class leaves in fear to lose their jobs, then its human rights are not well procured.

The big issue in the Middle-Class is the word envy. Those who come from poverty, and land into the Middle-Class Status, will be attacked or even tried to be damaged by those same peers who saw them rise, because of envy. Meritocracy is the foundation for democracies. In healthy ethical societies, competition is also wholesome. Success comes accompanied by meritocracy, which means that those who study harder and work arduously are also rewarded accordingly, not just in terms of the corporate career ladder promotions, but also the group of entrepreneurial people or artistic jobs. Anyone who is emerging through unyielding effort and commitment by meritocracy is recognized by his or her talents, and particularly those who additionally are “good people who help others without asking for anything in return”.

High-quality empowerment vs. productivity empowerment. The meritocracy system installed for thousands of years of history was focal to provide high-quality products, This meritocracy is of high-quality empowerment. In the past, people were buying good things at an expensive price, because the philosophy of keeping the bought object was not just to hold it during extensive years, but to stand the unmerciful effects of time in order to inherit it to the next generation. So, the good premium quality was tied to the word expensive. With the advent of the low-cost strategies when it comes to producing things, whatever is cheap we know in advance that won´t last, or at least it will have a short term life. The Chinese economy booming has been built on low-cost strategies, so the meritocracy changed to productivity empowerment. The philosophy shift from one good quality expensiveness to many cheap rotten potato inferior-class products has permeated at the core of the rewarding systems in businesses and the corporate world. This low catchpenny philosophy is damaging the concept of Middle-Class sustainability based on high-perfected education and training. To create educated Middle-Class citizens takes a lot of time, and its existence is based on a differentiation strategy, not a low-cost strategy. This differentiation comes mainly through education at the prime level.

In consequence, the traditional meritocracy system of high-quality empowerment and rewards is being disordered by a meritocracy of productivity empowerment. High-quality that comes through differentiation (high quality) has also shifted to time-based competition to reduce cycle times of production, to cut costs, to generate low-quality stuff sold at rotten potato prices, purposed to reach profits by selling more and more and more.

The term Emotional Intelligence has been used unfairly as an annihilator factor to stop the Middle-Class Journey. Each person has a set of traits, reactions, feelings, behaviors, relationships, and manners related to his or her character that are specific and individually framed. It is thought that the more educated in knowledge and in values (integrally) a person is, the more integrity holds. When honest and full of integrity Middle-Class citizens are coming out of outstanding integrity universities, to reach a position in their first job, they are faced many times, with corporations or entities that hold structural vices of envy, pride, nepotism, avarice, the cowardice of spirit, lust, dishonesty and lack of integrity. When recently graduated professionals who believe in their own integrity are faced with a lack of human rights situations at their jobs, it is reasonable that such “good Middle-Class members” won´t accept that way of working. And it is not a lack of emotional intelligence for this person to react with hostility, or to reject such immoral anti-values. If someone responds against the crooked “status-quo”, that doesn´t mean this person lacks emotional intelligence, on the contrary; it is showing its disagreement towards the dramatic awry situation. Nevertheless, many ethical top integral middle-class citizens have been misjudged and punished, sometimes fired and left without employer recommendations, that inhibit them to find good jobs or to continue their journey to find the right opportunities in their search for new endeavors with other ethical companies. Where are the human rights bureaus to help these integral middle-class individuals?

Modern Slavery happens in the Middle-Class. Mistakenly we believe that slavery was overcome 200 years ago. Not true. Modern Slavery happens in the Middle-Class when the fear of being unemployed is the trigger to accept any type of corrupted actions in the workplace. Modern Slavery happens when oppressive owners of businesses believe that they are doing a favor to hire a Middle-Class citizen when in reality is a two-way relationship. The business owner is paying for a specific job that has to be measured beyond accounting numbers. Modern Slavery happens when people are forced to work from home (WFH) 16 hours per day, under zoom videoconferencing, without a kind and pleasant office set-up, otherwise, they feel they will be fired. Modern Slavery happens when business owners do not give the credit to the ideas of their employees in public, stealing their work-force innovation power. Modern Slavery happens when companies do not provide at least 6 months of paid educational sabbatical periods to Middle-Class citizens every 5 years. Modern Slavery happens when women accept sexual harassment in the office, from peers or bosses, in exchange to continue being employed. Modern Slavery happens when there remains the impossibility of mobility in jobs of the same category in a specific society. For example in closed tiny societies, where everyone knows each other, it is perfectly frequent to see that many middle-class managers can´t resign to go to the competition by choice because there exist collusion practices between the corporate business owners who know each other and block the manager horizontal or up-mobility. Modern Slavery also happens when companies of the same industry practice monopolistic agreements to keep the salaries at the same level, so middle-class citizens can´t transcend business boundaries neither get better-paid jobs. This happens not only at first-line supervisors who earn at least or more than US$28,800 dollars per year/household; but with managerial positions, with staff specialists, and with top executives.

Is the Middle-Class prepared to walk away from the table?. The Middle-Class is one of the most suffered types of workers. Many keep themselves silent, in agony, being drilled to extreme levels in which their integrity is lost. As I mentioned at the beginning of this saga, the majority of this social group is in debt bondage. The anxiety and panic of the Middle-Class rise when its members are deeply indebted and are paying everything they have with loans. No one wants to lose their home or car or anything of value to end up filing for bankruptcy, particularly when there is family involved. In consequence, if the Middle-Class feels powerless, but wishes to flourish some kind of wealth or assets under debt contracts, they feel under subjugation to accept anything. Only those who are extremely valiant are able to leave the table… and they pay a price for it, with years of unemployment.  It requires more than ethical issues ombudsman unit, to help Middle-Class citizens to feel free to stand up for the right causes and communicate properly when things are corrupted or sour. Any deal works to win-win advantages, but when it comes to Middle-Class employees, the necessity of wonderful integral bosses is not only critical but required.

How to change the lack of human rights in the Middle-Class? Everything starts at the educational integral system. And this includes the owners of the corporations (board of directors). When people with strong ethical values with well-educated training and knowledge have the patience to arrive at the top executive director positions or are hired because of such strong ethical values, bosses can make a difference by installing human capital resources bureaus that can help to permeate the human rights at every office with middle-Class citizens. Overcoming all the sources of powerlessness in the middle class has to be the priority agenda.

Sadly, and in the words of Harvard Professor Rosabeth Moss-Kanter “What grows with an organizational position in hierarchical levels is not necessarily the power to accomplish or producing power, but the oppressive power, which is the power to punish, the power to prevent, the power to sell off, the power to reduce, the power to fire, all without appropriate concern for consequences. It is that kind of power- the oppressive power that corrupts. The absence of ways to prevent individual and social harm (human rights) causes the polity to feel it must surround people in power with constraints, regulations, and laws that limit the arbitrary use of their authority”.

At the end of the day, Middle-Class employees mistreated psychologically as slaves “are the most inefficient form of labor ever devised by man”. If a leader wants to have far-reaching influence and results, he or she must make his/her followers or employees feel free and powerfully strong to be able to accomplish things on their own (David C. Mc Clelland).

You receive what you pay for” has to change to “You get what you give”. In terms of Eleonora Escalante Strategy, the lack of human rights in the Middle-Class can be measured in terms of psychological fear, abuse of power, and business corruption. Middle-Class members who work with integrity for high-quality production have a dynamism that comes from the freedom to choose for the present and the future. These Middle-Class citizens are somewhat special because their mindset works under “You get what you give”, and are enabled to help the new Middle-Class members to be prepared and refined with ethical standards.

Sources of reference cited for one paragraph of this article:
Kanter, Rosabeth Moss “Rosabeth Moss Kanter on the frontiers of management”, HBR 2005.

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.


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