Friday, September 10, 2010

Feudalism Redux

By all indications, we are inexorably moving to a modern feudalistic state called neofeudalism The idea might not be so far-fetched, if you consider what is taking place. The gap between the rich and poor is widening. In the U.S., for example, the top 1% own 50% of the wealth, making this a ruling plutocracy.

This is similar to traditional feudalism, common in the Middle Ages [approx 476-1453], where the system of power was balanced between king and nobles, or ruling aristocrats. At the bottom were serfs or servants, essentially today's working class.

In a neofeudal system of governance, government policies are instituted with the effect (deliberate or otherwise) of systematically increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. In addition, the power of the rich is increased and the power of the poor is decreased. 

This combined effect is similar to the effects of traditional feudalism where a ruling elite, holds in their manicured hands, the fate of those workers below it. The workers in this case would be the poor, the working poor and the shrinking middle-class, all contributing to the enlargement of the aristocrats wealth.


Manufacturing Consent: Ford assembly line, 1913.
In a state controlled by the rich and powerful, modern-day aristocrats, workers can ill afford to quit their jobs, for fear of losing their accumulated possessions, including home, car and, in many cases, company pension plans to which they have assiduously contributed. 

Workers, whether tradespeople or professionals, in a great sense become a slave to work, if only to maintain a way of life. But the thinking goes further than that, says Garrett Johnson, in a recent article in the Huffington Post:
Neofeudalism isn't just about the powerful taking over everything. It's about conditioning the poor to accept their designated role in society, even fighting to defend the ability of the wealthy to exploit them. It requires working people to do things that are against their own interests, and nowhere is this more true than in our current economic system.
The rest of the article is insightful and a recommended read, including the following point: "Another manifestation of neofeudalism is the growing power of corporations, that leave the  poor dependent on private interests more powerful than the government, a situation resembling traditional feudal society." 

And in another nod to modern feudalism, the masses bow down and worship the ruling wealthy class, the privileged elites, the high priests of commerce. As problematic as that might appear to civilized secularists, it just might prove that humans have a genetic need to worship.

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Note: I would like to hear your stories and views on how the economic crisis. Many of us are going through very difficult economic and trying times. The Poor, the Working Poor, the Struggling Family should not be stigmatized. You can help make a change and a difference in society. Everyone should be able to live life with dignity and hope. I love to hear your stories. 

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