In its formative years, the United States of America gave rise to a large middle class. Individual freedom paired with a work ethic to bring comfort to millions. A few people gathered great wealth, and then spent their final years on projects to benefit the general population.
It evidenced an American escape from medieval society, which featured a ruling class perpetuated by great wealth and political authority over agricultural labor and a servant class.
History now repeats itself but on an international scale. A handful of people control greater wealth than most nations, and gradually forums focused upon politics and economics have gravitated from national interest to international interest, and beyond, to international control.
About a thousand years ago, when England’s King William I ascended in 1066, profound societal changes developed. William took charge of the land and built upon it. He then distributed the island’s wealth to his loyal army of invaders. But William had some remarkable leadership qualities. The gift of rewards had an expiration clause. The titled invaders would be allowed to pass their fortunes to the eldest son. If the had no son, the gift giver, in the form of the crown, took back the gifts.
The system of inheritance concentrated great wealth and power in a couple of hundred imported families. Good management brought even greater wealth and power.
The firstborn son was expected to care for the family members just as dear old dad had done – which meant the younger sons could stay at home and live off their brother, join the military and seek to establish their reputation, or they could go aboard and through business adventures build their own wealth. The only other choice was to join the church.
William’s foresight led to the bragging rights of England: the sun never sets on the British Empire. Empire was inherited and radically altered by the commonwealth.
The Industrial Revolution and two World Wars replaced the land-based agricultural manor system that had developed over the ages.
Each wave of conquerors left things of value in England. The Romans came as pagans and left in 409 as Christians. The Christian religion advanced with the use of a written language and an emphasis upon family, which meant records were kept on each birth, baptism and death. There was a sense of a national identity, a system of roads and pubic works. Also important, the 27 odd tribes first identified by the Roman conquerors began to consolidate.
For nearly 400 years, the Romans had defended the island. Their overnight departure left it defenseless, a condition not unnoticed by the Vikings. Unrelenting raids also forced consolidation of political power. When William ordered the compiling of a catalogue of the land in his kingdom to serve as the basis for taxation, the typical English humor rose to the occasion, calling it the Doomsday book.
World War II closed the coffin on the manor houses and landed gentry. In America, the great industrial base turned from war to the production of labor-saving, creature-comfort gizmos. Soon every middle class home had radios, toasters, chrome and laminate yellow kitchen tables, refrigerators etc. Every home task was matched with an electric-powered tool. The middle class sent their children off to college, secured their home and space in the suburbs. Life was good.
The middle class was so satisfied with their lot, they wanted to share it with the less fortunate. Coincidentally, it was a period of time when the supreme power of government to wage war thirsted for something to do. The welfare state was born. The trend was set to nationalize problems to enable a single solution.
President Dwight David Eisenhower in 1953 signed legislation creating the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Welfare, prior to HEW, was operated by the county, was sustained by residency requirements and time limits on support, and was limited. Education was conducted by locally chartered school districts governed by boards of education formed of parents and elected. Other than the county general service hospitals that would treat the indigent, government had nothing to do with providing or regulating health care.
HEW ended that, and today health, education and welfare have been nationalized. The USA is in the process of nationalizing the judicial system, crime and punishment, zoning laws, energy production, labor rules and capitalism. Single location business ownership, once the economic engine of America, is being extinguished by wage rules, labor participation rules, zoning laws, air pollution laws, climate control laws and more.
America has become, as a result of this uniformity, boring. Every freeway off-ramp has the same gasoline stations, fast food franchises as the next off-ramp. If the government did not take the profit out of individual free enterprise, the internet came along to strip off enough sales to force business closures. The unlimited marketplace choices of the 1950s are now very limited.
So is the middle class.
We now have a Jeff Bezos who may be worth more than $226 billion. Bill Gates is not going to go broke any time soon. George Soros has enough money to run and win with candidates for district attorney in more than two dozen American cities. Bezos alone has enough net worth to run the general fund budget of the state of California and have several billion dollars left over. And Mr. Bezos is just an ordinary member of the billions and billions club.
It costs about $2 million on average to elect a person to the House of Representatives. There are 435 House members. So a fellow such as Gates or Bezos could pick his favorites from each congressional district and spend $870 million to own the Congress. That’s not even 1% of his wealth.
That’s pretty rich. At the retail street level, however, is an out of control homeless population. The contrast is stark, and even more so when one considers the great middle class is being run of out of town by invaders from other nations.
America is rapidly becoming medieval, run by a tiny minority of very wealthy people who operate on an international level and can move assets to capture the pawns unencumbered. If the Davos group philosophy of the future prevails, there will only be two groups of people – the super rich and those who are living a bare subsistence. Equity as it is planned in ESG and CRT means the end of the middle class.
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