Middle Class

What does middle class mean?

“The most perfect political community must be amongst those who are in the middle rank, and those states are best instituted wherein these are a larger and more respectable part, if possible, than both the other; or, if that cannot be, at least than either of them separate.”                                                                                                                                                    – Aristotle

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.

– Aristotle

These arguments below speak to the different ways the strength of the middle class affect economic growth and stability:
  • A strong middle class promotes the development of human capital and a well educated population.
  • A strong middle class creates a stable source of demand for goods and services.
  • A strong middle class incubates the next generation of entrepreneurs.
  • A strong middle class supports inclusive political and economic institutions, which underpin economic growth.
  • Historically, middle class has brought around all the revolutions, and brought changes for the better.
  • Middle class is usually a healthy section of the society, where physical and mental abilities of the society usually peak.
To sum up, a strong middle class is a prerequisite for robust entrepreneurship and innovation, a source of trust that makes business transactions more efficient, a bulwark against credit booms and busts and a progenitor of virtuous, forward-looking behaviors, such as valuing education. Moreover, middle class spending usually creates the most prominent multi-layered economic multiplier effect, since most of such spending would trickle down many levels.

   “I have to live for others and not for myself: that’s middle-class morality.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Retailing Trends

I came across this excellent McKinsey China podcast on e-tailing trends and thought would share the highlights and the links with my readers. I have also added my insights into the blog post:

The super-charged growth of online retail is changing this dynamic and creating incremental consumption. Millions of newly minted shoppers can now log on and purchase goods they could only dream of acquiring just a few years ago. By 2020, China’s e-tailing market may reach $420 billion-$650 billion in sales and add 4-7 percent to the nation’s private consumption. – McKinsey China

Retailing moving from location based to occasion based: With real estate getting more and more expensive, retailing has pivoted its focus from location driven business operations to occasions-based business focused on weddings, birthdays, etc etc.

Logistics & Delivery centers: With the growing e-commerce retailing space and upcoming smaller players in the market, the logistics and delivery centers market has a lot of potential for growth.

Payment gateways: Newer payment gateways need to be introduced for different market sets. Regional or Country-driven systems would emerge and then hook up with the global payment gateways. The importance of foreign exchange management and treasury operations would rise.

Mobile based solutions: With mobile penetration growing in developing countries as well, there would be a higher need for mobile based solutions for retail sales, advertising, consumer need assessment and market reach.

E-commerce platforms: More and more players would emerge, smaller ones of which would focus on niche markets with product differentiation as their key to growth.

Supply Chain Management professionals and solutions: There is going to be more need of supply chain management professionals who would likely have a degree in language as well. A good chunk of products would manufacture in China and knowing Chinese would create a definite connection with the suppliers. Also, more organized supply chain solutions would need to emerge, systems catering to the SME end of the market, not just the big players.

Less jobs for women in retailing; more jobs in logistics (mostly for men): Since traditionally, retail has been a major employer of people, especially women, there will be a decrease in jobs in the traditional retailing sector as companies reduce their square footage of retail space. This could lead to growing number of women entrepreneurs in this vertical with the requisite experience, but energies would need to be channeled in accordingly for that to happen.

Lifestyle change from routine jobs to unstructured enterprises: The nature of work would change for a vast majority of people who would now not expect to work in the safe, secure 9-5 shifts that are time-focused, but instead work on a flexible, results-based (efforts-focused) working model.

Clearly, the retailing landscape will drastically change in the next 15 years with several new names emerging and leading the show.