‘Two American Families’ – Frontline
Two American Families follows the story of two ordinary, hard-working families in Milwaukee — one black, one white — over two decades as they battle to keep from sliding into poverty. The FRONTLINE documentary (83:46) raises questions about the changing nature of the US economy and the fate of a declining middle class. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
The existence of a strong “middle class” seems to contradict Marx’s theory of capitalism, which imagines only two classes with opposed interests: the bourgeoisie (owners) and the proletariat (workers). Indeed, the postwar rise of a strong middle class in the United States caused many to question the utility of Marxist theory. Today, fewer Americans are able to achieve the upward social mobility once considered a birthright. Median wages have been stagnant since the 1970s and we’ve seen growing polarization in the distribution of wealth. These trends have sparked renewed interest in Marx’s critique of capitalism. From this critical perspective, some contend that the glory days of the American middle class are over, and that its heyday was actually a historical anomaly, the product of very particular historical and political circumstances that could never be sustained and will never be repeated.
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