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BOSTON — The decline of America's middle class is the biggest story in the world's largest economy. But the story doesn't end there. Over roughly the same period as the middle-class decline in the US, huge numbers in the developing world have enjoyed substantial increases in their standards of living — notably in China and India, as well as in other countries in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. How is this complex trend playing out in shuttered factory towns across America? How is it changing lives — for good and sometimes ill — in the emerging boomtowns of the developing world? What is the future for the middle class in the US, and for those aspiring to middle-class status around the world? These thorny questions and more are the focus of a 10-month GlobalPost investigation, America the Gutted.