GHANA’S MIDDLE CLASS, POLITICAL ACTIVISM AND ECONOMIC REFORMS

  1. Do you know that the French, Bolshevik and Chinese Revolutions were all led by discontented middle-class individuals?
  2. Middle-class status is defined by education, occupation and the ownership of assets. These are far more consequential in predicting political behaviour
  3. Higher education levels correlate with people’s assigning a higher value to democracy, individual freedom and tolerance for alternative lifestyles
  4. Those who have completed high school or have some years of university education are far more likely to be aware of events in other parts of the world and to be connected to people of a similar social class abroad through technology
  5. Families who have durable assets like a house or apartment have a much greater stake in politics, since these are things that the government could take away from them.
  6. The middle classes tend to be the ones who pay taxes, they have a direct interest in making government accountable
  7.  Newly arrived members of the middle class are more likely to be spurred to action by failure of society to meet their rapidly rising expectations for economic and social advancement.
  8. While the poor struggle to survive from day to day, disappointed middle-class people are much more likely to engage in political activism to get their way.
  9. While protests, uprisings and occasionally revolutions are typically led by newly arrived members of the middle class, the latter rarely succeed on their own in bringing about long-term political change – represent minority of the society in developing countries and is itself internally divided unless they can form a coalition with other parts of social base of the population namely working class and peasants [lower class]
  10. During the Progressive Era in the US, a broad middle-class mobilization succeeded in rallying support for civil-service reform and an end to the 19th-century patronage system.

NB: These extracts from this highly informative WSJ Article (link below) was inspired by the recent #OccupyGhana #RedFriday #OccupyFlagstaffHouse demonstrations: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323873904578571472700348086?tesla=y&mg=reno64-wsj

About the Author

Theo Acheampong
Theo is an economist and social media enthusiast who provides regular commentary on socioeconomic and political developments in Ghana and Africa at large. Theo is passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship and the role of innovative technologies in solving Africa's developmental challenges.