Saturday, May 3, 2008

The M-Shape Society

In January 2006, Dr. Kenichi Ohmae (大前研一博士), a Japanese management guru, business strategist and writer who is being described as "Mr. Strategy", has written another book named "The Impact of Rising Lower-Middle Class Population in Japan" (ロウアーミドルの冲撃) and being translated by Taiwanese to Chinese edition as "The M-Shape Society" (M 型社会). This book was published just a few months right after economist Atsushi Miura (三浦展) published the best selling "The Emergence of Lower-Class Society" (下流社会 新たな階層集団の出現).

In his book, Dr. Kenichi put up his observation that the structure of Japanese society has emerged from the existing dome shape normal distribution pattern into a twin-peak "M-shape" distribution.

The formation of this M-Shape society is resulting from the sidelining of the middle class into the lower class, while some managed to climb into the upper class. This phenomenon is formed when majority of people in the middle class gradually experienced a deterioration in their living standard.

There may be still remarkable progress in economic development, the GNP may still rise, there may still be economic growth, and the national average salary may still rise, but the rate of inflation and cost of living moves even faster, especially in the globalized world economic whereby more and more resources are gathered and secured by the upper class, while the lower class is starving from limited fund, fuel, energy, food, job, etc.

Dr. Kenichi thrown out 3 questions to the middle class:
1. Do you feel that your mortgage loan is a heavy burden (or you dare not possess any property)?
2. Are you planning to have kids (or you don't even think about getting married)?
3. Are you worried about your kids' future education fund (or you don't want to have kids)?

If you answer a "yes" to any of the 3 questions above, you might have noticed that you're sliding from the middle class towards the lower class, and if you are answering the question in the bracket, you are already in the lower class.

In fact, these questions are fairly related to my article about the HISC5 of typical middle class person. Middle class persons are required to keep their HISC5 to be all time well managed and in good order. Life is as if rowing a boat against the water flow, if you don't advance, you will lag behind. Unfortunately, as the worldwide competition is getting tougher and tougher, the "water flow" is getting stronger and stronger, which tear apart the people in the middle, eventually forming the M-Shape society.

One must have plan to get ready for the formation of this M-Shape society, which is evolving all over the world now. In this era of K-economy world, we must get ourselves well equipped with knowledges, skillsets, innovations and productivity at least in 2 areas, which are our career and also our financial management.


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