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THE GATEWAY * volume Cl number 43 

Reuters editor discusses the 
disappearing middle class 

MA'IT houi 

Sports Editor 

The rise of a 'super-elite' in society 
is negatively impacting the mid- 
dle-class job market, according to 
world-renowned journalist Chrystia 

Freeland, global editor-at-large for 
the Reuters news service, spoke to an 
audience at the University of Alberta 
last Thursday to discuss the rise of 
society’s hyper-wealthy. According 
to Freeland, the recent growth of the 
super rich has caused a widening gap 
between the haves and have-nots. 

“There has been a shift in the last 25 
to 30 years. In the 1970s, the top one 
percent of IJ.S income earners cap¬ 
tured approximately 10 percent of the 
national income. Now that number is 
closer to 25 percent. It's a really big 
shift," Freeland said. 

"To put that into perspective a 
little bit more, in 2005, Bill Gates was 
worth $4(> billion anti Warren Buffett 
was worth $44 billion. That was as 
much as the combined wealth of the 
120 million people at the bottom 
of the US income distribution Two 
guys’ income equaled 40 percent of 
the total income made in the entire 
United States that year." 

“If you can make the 
leap into the super- 
elite. then great, youVe 
made. But if you don't 
get there, it's going to 
be a very different, and 
a much tougher, life.” 



Throughout her lecture, Freeland 
gave stark insight into the levels of 
stratification of wealth that cur¬ 
rently exists in society. Wliile she 
insisted dial the new ‘gilded age’ 
Ls often billed as merit-based in 
nature, it remains exclusive to a few 

To elaborate on this idea, she 
provided what she describes as the 
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 

situation." While there are fewer 
barriers to entry in the new econ¬ 
omy. there is also a winner-take- 
all phenomenon which eliminates 
the opportunity for large groups of 
people to succeed. 

"We see on the one hand the 
opportnnities for great success are 
greater than ever. For example, if you 
guys come up with a great internet 
idea, and you might, you could do it 
because you might have a great idea. 
My point is that it’s a golden-ticket 
phenomenon, because little Charlie 
can get the golden ticket, but there 
are only five of them. The rest of 
us are still going to become 

The result of this phenomenon is 
the "hollowing out of the middle 
class," according to Freeland. As a 
result of the globalization and tech¬ 
nological shifts that eliminate the 

need for skilled labour, there are very 
few chances for individuals to earn a 
middle-class living. And as Freeland 
explained, this creates grim prospects 
for postsecondary students looking to 
enter the workforce. If individuals are 
unable to hit the jackpot and make it 
into the elusive elite ranks, they will 
be automatically relegated to the 
lower classes in society. 

"You are entering a really tough 
job market. Returning to the Charlie 
and the Chocolate Factory analogy, it 
really is the case that the pressure is 
on. If you can make the leap into the 
super-elite, then great, you’re made," 
Freedland explained. “But ii you 
don’t get there, it’s going to be a very 
different, and a much tougher, life. In 
a way. what we used to say -— just 
follow your bliss and stuff like that 
— it’s kind of not true anymore. I feel 
sorry for you.” 

Elections Office overcame early hiccup 


Manera mentioned that the inclu¬ 
sion of the Student Life race in the 
council elections likely helped with 
voter turnout, and that her office was 
discussing whether holding refer- 
endums during council elections in 
future years would further improve 

Despite the relatively high number 
of students who voted, there were 
some problems that appeared early on. 
with voters unable to cast their online 
ballots during the first hour of voting 
last Thursday morning because of a 
tech problem. The problem affected 
217 students. 

“Right after we opened polls at 9 
a.m., before an hour of voting had 
elapsed, I started getting emails from 
people saying that they were getting 
tills weird error page. So I contacted 
die tech guy. and be fixed it within 
five minutes," Manera said. 

After the problem was fixed, the 
CRO sent out emails to the affected 
voters, and 182. or 84 per cent, voted 
again. Manera was dear that she didn’t 
feel the tech issue would "invalidate" 
the vote. 

"It was like if you were in a munici¬ 
pal election, and you put your ballot 
in a machine and the madiine doesn’t 
work," she said. "So what the poll clerk 
says is ‘sorry, dlls machine is down, 
you'll have to came back and vote later.’ 
So you have to leave and come back 
later. Some people don’t come back 
later, which doesn’t invalidate the elec¬ 
tion. It doesn’t overturn democracy." 

Most candidates in die council 
elections ran as independents; how¬ 
ever at the start of the election, there 
were two slates of candidates, a slate 
giving candidates involved the ben¬ 
efits of having both shared platforms 
and resources. While one of the slates. 
Students United for Progressive Action 

(SUPA), ran last year, this year slates 
that had multiple members in the 
same faculty were ordered dissolved 
partway through die election after the 
CRO asked the DIE Board to issue an 
interpretation on the election bylaw. 
This caused SUPA's wing in the Faculty 
of Arts to lie dissolved. 

One SUPA candidate. Aditya Rao, 
appealed the decision, and in a sub¬ 
mission to the DIE Board claimed that 
dissolving the preciously approved 
slates would cause the election to be 
"irreparably tainted" since the slate 
candidates liad been campaigning 
extensively as slate members. 

Of the six SUPA candidates in the 
arts faculty, four were elected. All seats 
in council were filled in die election. 
However. Vice President (Student 
Life) elect Yamagishi has resigned the 
seat he was elected to in the business 
faculty, and a by-election will be held 
to fill that seat in September. 

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