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The Vanishing Middle Class: Business and Economics Today

Students flooded into the Cardinal Cushing Library lecture hall on September 26 to hear a presentation from a special guest. Professor Peter Temin, a retired economics professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) joined Emmanuel students to discuss his new book, The Vanishing Middle Class. The presentation featured many economics and business majors sitting in to hear what Professor Temin had to say.

Temin began studying mathematics during his undergraduate education. Inspired by a visiting economist at his school, he later went on to receive his masters degree at MIT. Years later he became a successful professor and went on to become a successful author and associate of MIT and Harvard. Temin has published over 22 books, including his latest one. All of his books focus on the economy and currency of America as well as the world both today and historically.

Temin began by showing students a powerpoint presentation that simply put just how the middle class was disappearing from society today. He spoke about how many people have begun to fall into the category of the lower class citizen. Today about 99.99% of people fall below the radar of the .01% wealthy of America. Wealth, prejudice and education are all deciding factors about where one stands in the American economy today.

Photo by Katie Hayes ’21.

Temin described the dual systems that American citizens face based on their position in society. The justice, educational, and housing systems along with national debt all come into factor when deciding “your place” in society today. Perhaps one of the most popular topics was the economic situations in which the typical college student can find themselves within.

The worry about minimum wage and having to pay for higher education and other daily expenses was a large topic among the audience. Temin also touched up taxes and college debt opened students’ eyes. When American college students were compared to students of other countries, many in the audience found a significant difference in the rate of taxes and tuition that seemed justly unfair.

After his presentation, Temin was open to answering questions. Some questions touched upon the issue of the minimum wage gap while others spoke about the current government and economic situation we’re in. Many also asked Professor Temin about his life and career. A student asked why Professor Temin chose to study the middle class in particular.

“The economy is good coming to the end. Things are changing all the time and not enough strides are being made to ensure the basic needs and survival of those who are not in the .01% of our economy today,” he stated. “Washington should be making strides to close the ever-growing gap between our citizens and yet nothing is being done to help the rest of that 99.99% of citizens today.”

Katie Hayes ’21 is a Staff Writer of The Hub. She can be contacted at

For any further questions on this talk, reach out to the Patricia Clarke, the chair of the Business and Economics Department at

Posted by on October 4, 2017. Filed under Around Campus,Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.