It honestly can’t happen soon enough
Asia’s middle class is growing faster than the West’s. In a few decades, we will replace you, a trend only accelerated by COVID-19. As the top 20% of the globe becomes more diverse, it will be our people, our economies, our art that rule the world.
So get used to BTS, and buy a rice cooker. There’s more to come.
Branko Milanovic has been looking at global incomes for years. In 2012 he published his famous elephant graph, essentially an economic dick pic of the 1%.
It shows three interesting trends.
1. High income growth among Asian middle classes
(the bump at the global median)
2. A lack of such growth among the Western middle classes
(the dip at the top 20-1)
3. Fast growth of income among the global top 1%
(what it says on the tin)
This graph became famous because the 1% were rising like an elephant’s trunk, but the real story was that Asia — especially China — was coming up hard. This Asian growth was in fact a wave, which has continued into 2020.
As you can see, the elephant’s trunk has now gone down but the median wave (China has moved from the 50th to the 60th percentile) is still cresting. While America has seen its middle class collapse into debt peonage and $800,000 dollar homes with maybe a dishwasher, the middle class is alive and well in Asia.
It honestly looks like the 1% sold out their own middle classes by outsourcing entire industries to Asia. Now the jobs — and growth — are permanently in Asia.
Broadly speaking, the post-2008 period was good for the globally poor and for the global middle class; it was not good for the Western middle classes and the global top 1% (Milanovic)
When you have such different growth rates over decades, at some point the Asian middle class will pass the western middle class and replace them. It’s like the tortoise and the hare. The west thinks they’re fast, but have missed the fact that they’re actually asleep.
This was going to happen slowly, but COVID-19 has made it happen right now. Facing a global pandemic, all the arrogant western nations that aren’t actually in Asia have completely stalled out. They’re stuck in an endless loop of half-measures which are about as effective as walking on a broken leg.
Meanwhile most of East and Southeast Asia went for elimination (and constant vigilance), and have largely returned to normal. People are going to movies in Wuhan while chains are closing in America. Children are going to school in Vietnam while an entire generation of western children is effectively held back a grade.
As the 21st century begins in earnest, it’s not just that Asia is growing faster. The west is effectively standing still. Westerners talk about returning to normal, but lol. You’re actually being left behind.
The new normal will be an entirely new reality, one where white people are no longer on top.
A new reality will then be faced by the Western middle classes. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, they might drop out the global top 20%.
In other words, the upper part of the global income distribution will become regionally, nationally and racially much more diverse, with a much greater representation of Asian populations. The change could be rather abrupt because of the size of Asian populations. As they displace the Western percentiles, they could push them relatively quickly down because the large Asian populations may, in their ascent, take over several percentiles and crowd out those who were there before. (Milanovic)
The trend Milanovic is describing here is without accounting for the pandemic. That obviously doesn’t make it better, since western economies are taking years of sick leave while Asia is up and about. Sooner rather than later, the global middle class won’t be white. It will be Asian.
The only big exception is India, which Modi has totally broken. Otherwise the academic trendline has become an immediate deadline. The west is dying while Asia trends.
The New Middle Kingdom
Perhaps you’ve noticed this shift already. I have, for years. This has been obvious to anyone that’s flown into Korea’s Incheon Airport and then JFK. Asia is obviously more advanced than the crumbling west. Now you can just see it on a graph. Development is not a destination. You’re either developing or in decline.
In reality, America is a failed state in a Gucci belt. Europe has worse public health than much of Africa. Yeah the hare had a lot of advantages, but what difference does it make when you’re passed out in a hospital bed?
What’s happening is that a historically brief colonial interlude — an orgy of global genocide and looting — is ending. Civilization is reverting to the mean, where it was for millennia — where the population is. In Asia (and Africa, inshallah, they have a demographic dividend coming).
Please note that I’m not saying that Asia is good in any particular sense — take the Uyghur concentration camps for horrific example. It’s just that Asian nations have not yet mastered the white man’s art of fucking with the entire world (though Japan did try). It’s important to remember that Britain has invaded every country on Earth besides 22. America currently has a military presence across 85% of the world and is actively killing in 14.
Whatever diverse hegemony the new middle kingdom is, it could not be worse. And we’re not even talking about any one country taking over by force of guns. This change in the middle class (really the global top 20%, it’s a misnomer) is just some different people getting money and TikTok accounts.
Dismantling The Master’s House
So yay, the end of white power, but oh shit, the world is on fire. White power might fade, but they left a hell of a heating bill, one which further ‘growth’ will only make worse.
Growth anywhere still equals climate change everywhere. China has pledged carbon neutrality by 2060 but this isn’t enough. If Asia doesn’t take the lead on this, there will be no planet worth leading. While there are many things humanity must do, the most important change is who does it.
If any business or government fucks up this bad you have to replace the entire top layer of management. We have to fire white people. In a sense, that’s what this change in the top 20% will do.
It’s not just that the Asian rich will replace white people, it’s that they must.
The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. The white people that most caused climate change cannot be trusted to change it. These arrogant fools won’t even put on a mask. If we can’t trust them with personal hygiene, how can they handle global science? Our best bet would be indigenous leadership, but barring that, anybody but white people will do.
For better or mostly worse we live in a global dictatorship of the bourgeoise, where the top 20% calls themselves middle class and dictates much policy and even perception. Changing up this crew has no guarantees (Asians are also assholes) but nobody else is as criminally insane as white people right now. White people have unbelieved themselves into COVID-19 and are going to unbelieve us all into climate change unless we replace them.
In that sense the rise of Asia has been happening for decades, has been due for centuries, and cannot happen soon enough. As white supremacists are fond of fearing, we really will replace you. Thank God.
The academic article, with less middle fingers:
Elephant who lost its trunk: Continued growth in Asia, but the slowdown in top 1% growth after the financial crisis. Branko Milanovic, October 2020.