Broke: Who Killed the Middle Classes? by David Boyle; When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence by Stephen D King - review by Martin Vander Weyer

Martin Vander Weyer

Goodbye to All That

Broke: Who Killed the Middle Classes?


Fourth Estate 352pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence


Yale University Press 287pp £20 order from our bookshop

‘I was born in a corner of central London … known as Little Venice,’ begins David Boyle in Broke. ‘This defines me inescapably as middle-class. Not just slightly middle-class, but staggeringly, swelteringly, stratospherically middle-class, as middle-class as you can get.’ ‘I count myself as one of the last of the so-called baby boomer generation,’ begins Stephen King in When the Money Runs Out. ‘We were the lucky ones.’

So here are two books with congruent titles and similar confessional openings, identifying the writers as members of elites whose privileges they believe to be slipping away under the pressures of modern financial and political failure. Beyond that, however, the books present very different theses. Broke is an idiosyncratic account of the way in which the stratum to which Boyle and his neighbours belong has gone from the ‘apotheosis’ of the Thatcher years to the position he claims they find themselves in today: shunned, threatened, impoverished, in fear for their own survival. King’s work is

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