Latin America's Working Class Rising Up

As underdeveloped economies grow, wages and respect are on the rise for Latin America's working class population. The UN calls the region the world's most unequal society.

What's the Latest Development?


Sharp class divisions in Latin America are beginning to wane, say sociologists who observe the region. As a larger segment of society enters the middle class, working-class citizensfrom parking attendants to construction workers to maidsare less tolerant of low wages and a lack of respect. In Brazil, "the income of domestic workers increased 5.05 percent per year from 2003 to 2009, compared with 1.16 percent for employers." The region's economic development has been accompanied by expanding political rights.  

What's the Big Idea?

As more people gain access to credit and a place in the middle class, demands have expanded beyond greater political rights for indigenous populations, which has been the primary battle for justice over the last two decades. "The rigid status hierarchies of the past are starting to clash with notions of quality of opportunities," says Christopher Sabatini, editor in chief of the policy journal Americas Quarterly in New York. Continued improvements will depend on employees' access to fair and enforceable labor contracts.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Related Articles

A controversial theory claims past, present, and future exist at the same time

Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.

Back to the Future.
Surprising Science
  • Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
  • Time travel may be possible.
  • Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
Keep reading Show less

Six disastrous encounters with the world’s most hostile uncontacted tribe

From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.

Culture & Religion
  • Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
  • But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
  • Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
Keep reading Show less