Ruben Vardanyan: “The main problem is the crisis of the middle class” -


Ruben Vardanyan: “The main problem is the crisis of the middle class”

Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan

Mediamax offers certain remarks impact investor Ruben Vardanyan made during the online conference “Life after quarantine: Recovery and development strategies” held by Skolkovo Business School. The conference considered the scenarios for overcoming the crisis caused by the pandemic.


We are not ready for this reality This crisis is not a storm but an acceleration of tectonic changes that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. We live in a changing world and these changes take place gradually, accumulate and accelerate.


We are going through new times, not a crisis. We need to understand these times and realize that the world will not switch back to the old ways. We are entering a new reality, which will dictate the mechanisms for managing the state, the family, and the society. We are not ready for that.


The model of our dreams


The main problem is the crisis of the middle class which will inevitably “blow up” the employment system.


The middle class employment is very uncertain now. We have a fundamental crisis of the model which will not have polarization between the extremely rich and extremely poor – in terms of both income and knowledge. The gap between the strongest and the weakest is going to grow. In that regard we will lose middle class as the layer that secured certain stability and peace in the society in the past 50-70 years after World War II.


The age of surveillance capitalism


I often reference the works of Shoshana Zuboff (Social Psychology Professor at Harvard – Mediamax), who introduced the term “surveillance capitalism”. This new type of capitalism is based on the use of huge volume of data which we give away voluntarily. Big opportunities are opening for business and for governing individuals and the society.


We are leaving the resource-based, industrial model of economy and moving toward the creative and human-centric model, which will have its advantages and disadvantages. At some point, we gave away too many aspects of our lives to the state as a huge institute, and the individual’s dependence on the system is going to grow a lot.


A complex issue


I urge everyone to view the situation as a complex issue. It concerns not only the pandemic or economic crisis but also the new times which have arrived in all aspects of our life. We have to talk about it, discuss, argue, dispute. It must not be up to just one, major institute or organization. My main message to the middle class is the following: nobody earns anything to anyone. If we want a civilized, normal and reasonable future for our children, then the entire society – including the middle class – must take active part in it and not just wait for someone to provide assistance.


Sona Mirzoyan


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