Stability is unstable, jobs evaporate, money vanishes. Just to make it to the end of the month is a feat. “Welcome, middle class,” is the greeting on a billboard at the entrance to one of the worst barrios of Buenos Aires. Middle-class people still live as impostors, pretending to obey the law and believe in it, pretending to have more than they have. But never before has it been so difficult for them to keep up this exhausting charade. Suffocated by debts and paralyzed by fear, the middle class raises its children in a state of panic. Fear of living, fear of falling, fear of losing your job, your car, your home, your possessions, fear of never having what you ought to have in order to be. In the widespread clamor for public security, imperiled by lurking criminal monsters, the members of the middle class shout loudest. They defend order as if they owned it, even though they’re only tenants overwhelmed by high rents and the threat of eviction.
Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World