The New Poor Around The World And At Home Are Seething With Anger.

Over the last 30 years or so there has been a worldwide redistribution of wealth. General wealth has raised the living standard of billions of the world’s once desperately poor. Simultaneously super wealth has been concentrating within fewer and fewer hands.

The big loser in this twin redistribution of wealth has been the once privileged middle class of the industrialized nation’s, particularly France, England and the United States. These folks would be what the American social philosopher, Eric Hoffer, calls in his seminal 1951 book, The True Believer, the “new poor.”

Hoffer describes the new poor as a highly volatile mix as he writes: “Not all who are poor are frustrated. Some of the poor stagnating in the slums of the cities are smug in their decay…. It is usually those whose poverty is relatively recent the “new poor” who throb with the ferment of frustration.”

It is the new poor or those in fear of joining the new poor at whom Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have aimed their message of hope and fear. Sanders wishes to see the nation’s wealth, which mainly flows to the rich and powerful, more broadly distributed as a way to rebuild America’s once vibrant middle class. Trump wants to blame immigrants, China, globalization and politicians for undercutting the nations middle class.

Both gloss over the fact that warp speed technological advancement is a huge factor undercutting American jobs and collapsing the wellbeing of millions. It is impossible for society as a whole to keep up, particular within our form of democracy that was designed in horse and buggy times. Speed kills.

Without fully realizing what has happened, society has been totally reconfigured. Basically the old industrially based middle class of the last century has disappeared never to return. There are now the divisions of the super wealthy corporate class, the political and entertainment class, the high flying techy class, the struggling service worker class (the majority, many with near worthless college degrees) and the nations abject poor and homeless class. But it remains the new poor that drive the most social unrest, creating political chaos.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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