One of my friends taught in an elite Mexican high-school for two years. He told me some things I did know: there are the uber-rich, almost no middle-class and a bunch of poor people. He also told me some things I did not know: there are the rich, and then there are what he called the "Mexican rich." Billions of dollars rich.
He said he knew a teenage girl who never wore the same clothes to school twice. The students were all chauffeured to school by armed guards (to prevent kidnappings). The schools had armed guards outside. These were people who had houses in Mexico, Vail and the south of France, and they thought nothing of flying out of the country for a weekend jaunt.
I call this Corporate Apartheid: super-rich, poor and nothing in-between. And guns and gates to protect the former from the latter. I also refer to corporations as Cosmodemonic Transnational Megacorporations.
Corporate Apartheid is now established in America. When one percent of the people own about 40% of the wealth, that's Corporate Apartheid.
Why do I use the word "corporate"? Because corporations are the exact opposite of the free market. Corporations have the legal status of persons, and their purpose is to concentrate wealth and power in their hands, at the expense of everyone. That is exactly what has happened, and is happening. Wal-Mart, for example, makes more money yearly than the GDP of many nations.
Contrary to the myth, the War of Independence wasn't caused by tax hikes. It was caused by a tax rebate from the Crown to the East India Company, in order to drive out of business their small American competitors. A rebate of millions of pounds.
The East India Company at that time was the biggest transnational corporation in the world. In other words, the war was caused by a Cosmodemonic Transnational Corporation, which puts money and power above human life.
It's the same thing as if Wal-Mart or McDonalds caused a world war to make a few bucks more.
The first movie that I remember that was about the deleterious effect of Cosmodemonic Transnational Corporations was Rollerball, in which the entire world is run by corporations.
Everyone is taken care of womb-to-tomb, but they have no rights and live lives of sex, drugs and ennui. James Caan, who is the best-known Rollerball champ, ends up having the love of his life taken from him and given to a corporate executive, while he's given corporation-issued whores.
The people in the movies are just cogs in the Machine State, which is exactly what corporations want. The way I see it, corporations want to turn us into the Borg. ("Why do you resist us?" complains the Borg Queen, "We only want to improve the quality of your lives.")
The second movie I remember about Cosmodemonic Transnational Megacorporations is Blade Runner, which is even more horrifying that Rollerball.
The Tyrell Corporation, which is not just international, but interstellar, creates artificial humans (called Replicants) to do dangerous off-world work. They are not considered human, which is why one police officer calls them "skinjobs."
There is, of course, the uber-rich and the poor. There was no middle-class shown at all in the movie.
The middle-class only exists under the free market. When you don't have the free market, you have the superduper rich and the poverty-stricken.
When people vote for the government to take care of them, they're actually cutting their own throats: they're voting, ultimately, to be ruled by the unholy monster that is the joining of Corporation and State. And ultimately, they are the same thing: the Corporate State.
Do you know how Mussolini defined fascism? "Corporatism." If there were no corporations, money would start flowing down to the middle-class again.
None of this will last, contrary to the paranoids who think our future is going to be a 1984 boot-on-our-heads-forever. Things always change.
The problem, of course, is what badness these changes will bring.
If the mass of people had any sense (they don't and never will) they'd rise up and march on D.C. with torches and pitchforks. Someday they might, but it won't happen until things get really bad.
Until then, the people who can see what is coming will be what they always are: prophets without honor in their own hometowns and among their relatives and families.