Friday, December 08, 2006
American Class System Is A House Of Cards
In the article at the link below, crime fiction legend Walter Mosley turns his literary skills to a crime that is anything but fiction - how the rich have stolen their wealth from the poor and the middle class. According to Mosley, true wealth may be defined as "when money is no longer an issue or a question". He tells us that, "Wealthy people don't know how much money they have or how much they make. Their worth is gauged in property, natural resources and power, in doors they can go through and the way that law works. Wealth moves like a shark over the rockbound crustaceans of the poor and working classes." For the rest of us, the situation is reversed. Money weighs upon our minds whether we want it to or not.
He defines poverty as "not being able to cover the basic necessities". He reminds us that, while most of us classify ourselves as middle class with relief and a certain smugness, the vast majority of middle class people are, in fact, "working class". Ridden by debt and deprived of real property of the sort that characterizes true wealth, the middle class can survive only by working - if not literally from paycheck to paycheck. The middle class live on the edge of poverty, despite our proud and sanguine assumptions otherwise. Our self-delusions do not protect us - they only cripple us. "Most Americans are working-class wage-slaves, arguing that they're better off," Mosley says. "This fantasy, more than any other confusion, hobbles us. Because we fear to see how delicate our economic state is, we cannot motivate ourselves to demand change."
The work we do is not just the source of our own economic survival. It is also source of the vast wealth of the rich. They make their money from what we do, not from what they do. Yet we see almost none of the wealth we generate. "America is the wealthiest nation in the world, by far, but we the American people are not wealthy," laments Mosley. "In the distance are towering silvery skyscrapers housing our corporations and our billionaires. But do not be fooled. This skyline does not belong to us. We are not partners in the corporation of America."
Only once we recognize the bitter truth of our own situation can we motivate ourselves to take back what the rich have taken from us. "We, the poor and working class, have built this nation and it, along with all its fabulous wealth, belongs to us," Mosley says. "From the Atlantic to the Pacific we, the workers, are the ones who hold sway. And every vault, every clinic, every drop of sweat fallen upon American soil is our democratic birthright. The rich don't own anything that we haven't built. The government means nothing that we don't endorse. These are the secrets that need to be made public."
"Show Me the Money" from The Nation