Not surprisingly, Dante, in his Inferno, placed those who used fraud in a worse level of Hell than those who used force. Force is easy to recognize; those who lie sometimes have great skill at it, and can fool many people.
Here's an example: in the U.S. wages peaked in 1973, in today's money, at $33,000. Since then, they've bounced up and down, but essentially haven't gone up. Today, depending on how you measure it, they are $4,000 to $6,000 a year lower than they were 30 years ago.
There are two reasons people are surviving: wives are now working, and most people are badly in debt, from the equity in their houses, and on their credit cards. That's not going to last, I guarantee you that, and I predicted the housing crises in the middle of 2004.
Since 1973, the United States has sent trillions of dollars of its wealth to Arabia for oil (instead of drilling for our own), and more recently, over a trillon to China for its trinkets, and also to India. That wealth, had it stayed in the U.S., would have raised wages. Had it stayed, what would the average salary be -- $80,000 a year?
What wealth that has stayed in the U.S. has gone to the upper few percent, whose wealth has increased enormously. The U.S. economy has doubled since 1980, but virtually all of it has been concentrated among those already enormously wealthy,
How did this happen? By what else -- government interference in the economy, designed to divert wealth alway from the middle and working classes to the wealthy. The U.S. doesn't have a free market -- it has a mercantile economy designed to enrich the tiny few at the expense of the very many.
The chattering classes and the intellectual court whores are trying to convince the public that "free trade" with other countries (it's anything but "free") enriches the whole country, as if people who lose their high-paying middle-class jobs should be consoled that they can buy cheap imported Chinese trinkets at Wal-Mart.
Why doesn't the public rise up, march on Washington D.C., and hang everyone there upside by their heels, as was done to Mussolini?
Here's why: Pareto called the masses, Sheep. They're a peculiar kind of Sheep -- ones complacent yet bloodthirsty at times. Most divert their attention from their economic problems by going into debt with SUVS, McMansions and wide-screen TVs, hoping they won't lose their jobs or have to declare bankruptcy.
When a war comes along, the middle classes, who don't have to fight, cheer them on, giving some meaning and excitement and vicarious thrills to their not-very-meaningful and not-very-exciting lives. It's another diversion from their economic and social problems. Later, they wake up and realize they have been conned. But at first, they always fall for it.
A quick defintion of Sheep are those who believe in the federal government -- or who believe any government is their friend.
As for the working classes, who these days can't find any jobs at all except maybe at some fast-food place, they are the ones who become cannon-fodder. At least in the military they get dental and health care, and better pay than at McDonalds. The downside, of course, is getting killed or maimed.
The problem, then, is that the middle and working classes are complicent in their own destruction -- only they don't really know it. They keep voting for President and Congress, thinking it's going to change things, not realizing the federal government is about 50 times bigger than it should be, and that Republicans and Democrats are two wings of the same party, with about a dime's worth of difference between them.
It is overwhelming the federal government that has been the cause of the enrichment of the rich and the impoverishment of the middle and working classes. And the moronic Sheep keep sending them more power! That is simply astonishing.
And it is the federal government that has started every way the United States has been in.
I have for many years thought that the more political power people gain, they worse they become. There are, of course, exceptions. But overwhelmingly, those who are drawn to getting poliitical power are automatically the worse people. I need do no more than point to our current administration.
In other words, the federal government is infested with Foxes and a few Lions. But, overwhelmingly, they are a bunch of liars -- and the Sheep fall for it. That's why Pareto called them Sheep.