Historian Michael Grant identified profound political disunity in the ruling elite as a key cause of the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Grant described this dynamic in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire.
The chapter titles of the book illuminate the complex causes of profound political disunity in the ruling elite:
The Gulfs Between the Classes: a.k.a. soaring income/wealth inequality: check.
There are many sources of rage: injustice, the destruction of truth, powerlessness. But if we had to identify the one key source of non-elite rage that cuts across all age, ethnicity, gender and regional boundaries, it is this: The Ruling Elite is protected from the destructive consequences of its predatory dominance.
We see this reality across the entire political, social and economic landscape.
If I had to pick one chart that illustrates the widening divide between the Ruling Elite and the non-elites, it is this chart of wages as a share of the nation’s output (GDP): 46 years of relentless decline, interrupted by gushing fountains of credit and asset bubbles that enriched the few while leaving the economic landscape of the many in ruins.
Though it has been billed as the main event for months, the presidential election has always been a side show–or from one point of view, a freak show.
As I write this on Monday, I have no idea who will win the side show unpopularity contest (i.e. the presidential race)–and it doesn’t really matter as much as apoplectic partisans would have us believe.
The reason why it doesn’t matter much which unpopular candidate wins is the issues facing the nation are far larger than partisan politics or the corrupt Ruling Elite that is freaking out about the possibility of a Trump presidency disrupting its self-serving skims and scams.
As I described yesterday in America’s Ruling Elite Has Failed and Deserves to Be Fired,we are in the midst of a fast-moving Industrial-Digital Revolution that is upending the political, economic and social orders. The global economy’s current mode of production is in fits and starts being replaced with a new mode of production that bypasses the Ruling Elite’s centralized skims and scams.
America’s Ruling Elite is freaking out because a significant percentage of the American public is trying to fire them. The Ruling Elite has failed and deserves to be fired, and deep down, they know it–and this awareness of their self-serving failure fuels their panic and their loathing of the non-elite Americans who are trying to fire them.
If you think this chart of soaring student loan debt is a sign of “success,” you are 1) delusional 2) protected from the dire consequences of this failure 3) getting your paycheck from this failed system. That in a nutshell is the state of the nation: those who are protected from the consequences of failure are loyal to the Establishment, as are the millions drawing a paycheck from systems they know are irredeemable failures.