A tumbling middle class

The fall out of the corona pandemic will be different in Western countries than in developing and emerging countries. Bloomberg cites a Pew Research Center estimate: the global middle class shrank for the first time since the nineties. About 150 million people lost the progress they made the past years and decades. Especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The developing world's shrinking middle class

While some economies seem to recover swift from the pandemic, others are expecting a rough time.

The expected rebounds will be – once again – smoother in the wealthiest nations. The past year, first world governments dropped billions of euros and dollars in the economy, and they don't seem to know when to stop.

But the other economies are not in such a luxurious situation. They will be struggling with the aftereffects of drastic lockdowns and quarantine rules. They will encounter setbacks from the slow vaccination rate, partly a consequence of export bans and a selfish hoarding mentality from the West. Uncertainty about the repayment capacity could prevent banks of lending money to the middle class and small enterprises. Different developing and emerging markets are already hit by inflation. And emergency assistance during the pandemic has emptied the government coffers which could result in undesirable austerity policies.

Bloomberg wrote down the stories of four people, from India, Brazil, South Africa and Thailand. They tell about how the pandemic set back their life, moved dreams further in the future and how they are trying to cope with the new, unexpected situation.