Engineering Turkey’s middle class and Maslowian po (Istanbul)
Could it really be that in our little bourgeoisie circle of secularism, we might have overlooked Turkey’s saddening reality;
Could it really be that in our little bourgeoisie circle of secularism, we might have overlooked Turkey’s saddening reality; that despite all the statistics Prime Minister (PM) Erdogan calls out in all his speeches about Turkey’s development under his rule and despite World Bank’s superficial classification of Turkey as an upper middle income country, could it really be that Turkey is in fact still poor? Could it really be that while we wine and dine and protest in defense of our ideals, there are people out there who have other unmet priorities such as food and shelter? Could it really be that while we continue to be polarized as a nation, pointing fingers at each other, the real enemy is not any one person but a simple idea that is exploited by one person?
In the past decade, there has been talk of an ‘emerging’ middle class in developing nations including Turkey. I suspect much of the talk was based on observations, not data. Based on Turkey’s household income data, it is difficult to argue there is a large middle class in Turkey. Only 10% of the households make above TRY75,000…that’s about USD35,000 a year net of taxes…a little less than USD3,600 a month. What can you do with USD3,600 a month? Not much if you are a household. Chances are you have three dependents; a wife and at least two kids. Rent, food, kids’ school, utility bills, phone bills and possibly a vacation to a beach resort every year with the family and the annoying in-laws. There is your average middle class life. Caveat; that was the richest 10% in Turkey.
The next wealthiest 10% makes about USD18,000 per household…that’s about US