All boom times are alike; each recession is unhappy, however, in its own way, writes David Brooks in the New York Times. This recession will hit hardest “people who achieved middle-class status at the tail end of the long boom, and then lost it.” Even if there’s no sign of it yet, this is where to look for the next social protest movement.
Downward mobility will strike in housing, in lifestyle, in employment, and in social capital, leaving its victims more isolated and politically alienated as well as poorer. “And it won’t only be material deprivations that bite. It will be the loss of a social identity, the loss of social networks, the loss of the little status symbols that suggest an elevated place in the social order.”