A sign of the times. This week both The Economist and Der Spiegel carry stories about the underclass. Der Spiegel writes,
The new proletariat as a homogeneous class first came into existence in the last 10 years. And it is by no means an exclusively German phenomenon: An underclass is emerging in every self-described leading industrial nation. The modern political economy clearly has nothing to offer to those who possess little knowledge.
It is no mere coincidence that the rise of the new underclass is happening in tandem with the erosion of industry jobs. In Europe, the process of de-industrialization may end up being more influential than the common currency or the effort to forge a shared constitution. The disintegration of society threatens the West today more than international terrorism, even if politicians are focusing on combating the latter.
Muslims and blacks get more attention. But poor whites are in a worse state.
Apart from election campaigns, when rising support for far-right political parties in areas such as Dagenham causes alarm, the traditional working class is largely overlooked. When politicians say that some communities are failing to integrate with mainstream society, they mean Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. When campaigners complain that schools are failing some children, they often cite black boys. Yet the nation’s most troubled group, in both absolute and relative terms, is poor, white and British-born.