radon wrote:Feudalism is not only an economic condition, it is a specific mindset, which was being formed over the course of many centuries. The power of the feudal was sanctified by the church, for one. The populace was illiterate and downtrodden, and challenging the existing order was a blasphemy.
That is quite different from the mindset that we have today.
Are you so sure about that? I'm not at all convinced of the difference. The Church thing has been upended of course, but the same social structure that it facilitated back then, has mostly re-formed again. And it has reformed in a way that no longer cares whether the rabble protest or not.
Why go to the walls?
Yeah, I regret using that visualization, it creates too many false assumptions.
Let them sit in their island and enjoy themselves. What one can do is to fence off a piece of the land estate that the big guy thinks that he owns. The big guy may send all his men to drive you off, but then his men may well reason that they will gain far more if they turn on the big guy himself. Especially if they have to deal with the "Occupiers of the Big Guy's Land" en masse. His men can be, so to say, democratically minded.
While there is an occasional example of such, more often, "his men" have families that are absolutely dependent upon the "Big Guy"'s success and welfare. It is in their self interest to protect the assets and capabilities of the "Big Guy". And again, I'll object to this "en masse" thing; a 4 to 1 encounter is much different than a 99 to 1. And most of the four are not going to risk their lives while their kids are still relatively well fed and not dieing. Its just not realistic to suggest such an outcome in a country where a significant amount of government effort is dedicated to insuring that we don't drown ourselves in grain. The "Big Guy" is not going to permit the rabble's children to starve; thus the rabble father will remain more interested in flipping his burgers, feeding his kids, watching football, and drinking cheap beer; sorry, but that is the way of the world. Don't expect the "Big Guy" to screw up; because he won't.
There is a story by Jack London, which I tried and did not find online. Read it ages ago. Basically, a group of gentlemen did some clever tricks and finished up owning the world, as per the legal papers. So they sit in a room and enjoy their triumph, and then a total stranger comes in and says something like: "Hi, gentlemen, would you mind vacating the room, we decided to set up a club here and we will have a party now." And they respond: "We are the new masters, the government, we own everything now." And the stranger says: "Oh, nice, congratulations, pleased to meet you! Now, would you please mind vacating this room so that we could have a party".
Again the fallacy of overwhelming numbers. 4 to 1 is NOT overwhelming in that way. 4 to 1 when most of the 4 are comfortably fed and can get out of the rain when they want, is beyond fantasy to suggest violent uprising. In the US, that "group of gentlemen" isn't ten or a hundred, its a good fifty million. If the rabble do show up at a particular club for instance and take over, the group of gentlemen leave, turn off the power, call the police, and receive an insurance company check later that covers the damages. The structure of modern America has taken away the ability of the rabble to do anything at all of consequential to our new nobility.
The big guy depends as much on the existing arrangements to preserve his position, as everyone else. Who needs his paper money in the world of scarcity.
Now you're getting closer to seeing it here. Its a fully dependent relationship; but where the failure is, is in understanding where the dependency lies. The "Big Guy" is dependent upon a very solid web built within the social structure of the upper 20% of the asset holders. He's not a king; and is not vulnerable in the way a king is; rather, there are a good 1-5 million "Big Guys" in the US, depending on how you look at it. Their income and assets are dependent upon the productivity and investment judgement of the full 20%; and the 20% are fully dependent upon the wealth, activity, and security of the "Big Guys".
This new form of aristocracy is much more resilient than old monarchical or power-lord type Feudalism. Instead of one king and a few hundred dukes and such; this time around, we have no king, a few thousand princes, a million or few dukes, and a good fifty million or so landed retainers. Its an amorphous blob of nobility.
Funny thing is, its clear for anyone that would like to observe, the upper 20%, the full fifty million or so of them, are getting raises, improved benefits, larger bonuses, easy credit, even in the midst of this economic disaster; slip off just a little, and you find falling incomes, demotions, loss of hours, job cuts, unemployment benefits, food stamps, houses that are underwater, dependency on the public school system for their children's education. The separation is still modest, but the curves in the charts are devastating. If the trends were temporary, it might not be so notable; but I see no reason that these trends won't only continue, but accelerate. They are self reinforcing.