The Middle Class Sense of Entitlement

by F.

Anecdotes like the following partly explain why “th’ milk of human kindness” in my breast has curdled, as least for the middle class in the rich world. The Schultes are a French couple with two children who live in Paris. He teaches gymnastics and dance, she is an editor for Larousse. The FT has a short profile on them alongside a longer piece about how globalization is squeezing the middle classes. Apparently, the Schultes are indicative of a trend.

How bad is their life? They both have to work, their mortgage payment is about a third of their income, and they can only go out “once a week, on Saturday evening.” They wish they had more time for “cultural openings” and worry that globalization will cause a “struggle for life.” So far, that doesn’t sound too bad, but there’s more:

  • they “ponder their lives in the cheery living-room of their apartment, just off one of Paris’s busiest squares,” which they describe as “pretty” and located in “the most beautiful city on earth.”
  • they “do not aspire to wealth,” and note that “richness is not having to think about material things.”
  • they seldom travel, but “love spending holidays in their parents’ second houses”—that’s houses, plural.

I’m sure their lives are filled with other disasters—flans that are overly eggy, souffle’s that fall, and day-old baguettes. Horrifying, especially compared to, say, the life of the average Nigerian.