|Political science professor Lealle Ruhl draws on the greats for her lectures.|
Political science professor Lealle Ruhl says if you listen to people on transit or in coffee shops talking about buying property in Vancouver, you'll catch a whiff. They'll say things like, "If everybody dies and leaves me all their money, I can afford it." Won't happen, not on normal salaries, says the dynamic instructor, whose continuing education classes at Simon Fraser University fill up so fast that she's teaching the same course back-to-back this summer to meet the demand.
In her five-lecture series, "Understanding Identities in the 21st Century," Ruhl pulls together a pantheon of greats like John Stuart Mill, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Machiavelli and Marx to discuss personal and collective identity, class, citizenship and politics.
On Thursday, she drew on Thomas Frank's 2004 What's the Matter with Kansas? to talk about why the declining working class isn't fighting for its existence. One of the factors, she said, is easy credit that blurs the distinction between the classes. If you can buy a tiny slice of what the Kardashians have, you can project yourself into the delusion of wealth. Another point: The disparity between classes is as wide now (the one percent versus the 99) as it ever was in the 19th century, but the general sense in developed democracies is that class simply doesn't exist.
An interesting situation as billionaire Donald Trump moves closer to the U.S. presidency, the desperate of America behind him.