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Society, Now and Then

November 14, 2010

My friend Oliver submitted this guest blog entry to me. Much thanks for his continued participation with my blog.

It seems that elite families never have to work. Their lot in life is simply to conspicuously consume. Whether it is the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th or 21st century, the elite families of power simply have to use their names to raise capital or force favorable political conditions.

The amount of wealth amassed even at small interest rates returns enough money that the wealthy could not possibly spend it all. Should they ever do run out of money, they can engage in market manipulation, pitting one of their own companies against the other in order to induce market conditions that are in their long-term best interest. In many ways, the elite have a monopoly on power, and without trust busting it open, this will continue as long as a hierarchy surrounds our lives.

The middle class were called indentured servants during an earlier time. Originally, the indentured servants had to pay off their debt for passage to the new world, but the indentured servant system existed in many other ways as well.

An orphan may have to be taken into a family and provide housework until he has worked above and beyond his room and board to the point that he could purchase tools or accommodations so he could get out on his own. Or how about a person who uses family money? Then he doesn’t owe a transporter for transportation, but when he becomes settled, he needs to use a large portion of his income for remittances to repay his family. So we basically have a debt hole that a person can dig himself out of by sometime in mid-life; it sounds strangely like today. A person or family incurs debt with children, houses, cars, college educations, some consumer goods, and so on and so on.

Today, it is very common for persons to be heavily indebted until about late mid-life. Once the kids are out of the house, savings have been built up, the marriages are paid off and you get to the point where you are on the downhill side of your mortgage. Then you get the freedom to change jobs, move houses, use credit to your advantage, etc. Amazing how similar the middle class has lived throughout time. Their freedom comes after about 30 years of debt; similar to a mortgage in that respect. Taking risks before the debts are repaid is very risky business, so not many tread into that water.

The slaves and the permanent underclass have everything in common. Slaves in the past worked and were told how much to eat and where to live, etc. Now the permanent lower class is so heavily in debt that they can never escape. In fact, they do not even attempt to get out of debt because it is impossible, given their wages.

The simplest things like transportation, housing and education at their income levels come with a guaranteed life-long debt payment plan. Given that states respond to this, accommodations are made such as with the food stamp program, the section 8 housing program and many job service programs. So with these programs that are influenced heavily by the elite, this underclass has no other option but to eat according to the food stamp program, live where section 8 is available and work where they can get sponsorship. So possibly not as direct as the directions of a slave master, the impossible debt obligation and corresponding government options for support force the persons into having little true freedom.

As Dr. Dre once said, “Still the f$#@in same, ain’t nuttin’ changed but the name.”

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