Sunday, May 4, 2014

Watching the Watchers: The American Dream vs. The New Aristocracy

No matter where on the political spectrum you fall, it's hard to deny the undercurrent of apathy or perhaps even disillusionment in some sectors of American society. It stands at odds with the classic version of The American Dream: work hard enough and you can accomplish anything. We are now in a world where statistics, Republican opinion, and Democratic opinion all say The American Dream is a lie. What the heck happened?

Since the subprime mortgage recession, a stunning event in which nothing whatsoever physically changed yet somehow the economy was sent into a tailspin for years, it has become increasingly clear that the fate of most of our jobs are in the hands of others. Or worse, their high-frequency-trading computers. The quest to quantify the economy and in turn shuffle all the numbers so that money can be used to create money managed to destabilized even the intrinsic value of real estate. The economy has always been a confidence game, but suddenly those we trusted as bankers were exposed as grifters. Add in small to no consequences for the people responsible for the disaster, and you can see where some people might be inclined to believe the game is rigged.

That is how I try to explain it. A more eloquent description comes from a writer I've been quoting quite often around here lately, J. Michael Straczynski, in his post The Rules of the New Aristocracy. I found it to be a very illustrative read.

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