The New Class Conflict arises from the disintegration of the middle class and emergence of two new aristocracies; the tech oligarchy and what Joel Kotkin calls the clerisy, which are policy, media, and academic elites. Neither much cares what happens to the middle class and indeed are dismissive and contemptuous of it, except for how the serfs can be utilized for menial tasks or repairing robots. Both elites mask class war goals behind facades of gee-whiz internet widgets and eco / green policies. We are really just here to help you. Right. Behind both are banksters, who are currently making big money in student loans and renting out foreclosed homes, fine ways to extract money money from the middle class to them.
An “average” skilled worker can expect to subsist on little but rice and beans in the future U.S. economy. If they choose to live on the East or West Coast, they may never be able to buy a house, and will remain marginal renters for life. Left-leaning Slate in 2012 declared that manufacturing and construction jobs, sectors that powered the yeomanry’s upward mobility in the past, “aren’t coming back. Rather than a republic of yeoman, we could evolve instead, as one left-wing writer put it, living at the sufferance of our “robot overlords,” as well as those who program and manufacture them, likely using other robots to do so.
Part of the American Dream has always been home ownership and maybe a small business. Both are increasingly out of reach for many. Homes are too expensive. The government-imposed costs of running a small business are onerous.
There are many explanations for this decline, including the impact of offshoring, globalization and technology. But some reflects the impact of the ever more powerful Clerical regime, whose expansive regulatory power undermines small firms. Indeed, according to a 2010 report by the Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost firms with less than 20 employees over $10,000 each year per employee, while bigger firms paid roughly $7,500 per employee.
Predictably, the new elites mostly favor slow or no-growth. After all, they have their big rooms, and don’t want tacky strip malls nearby. Increasing they support what can only be called neo-Feudalism, with them as nobility and everyone else as serfs.
One would expect that this diminution of the middle class would offend those on the left, which historically supported both the expansion of ownership and the creation of a better life for the middle class. Yet some progressives, going back to the period before the Second World War, have disliked the very idea of dispersed ownership; many intellectuals, notes Christopher Lasch, found a society of “small proprietors” and owners “narrow, provincial and reactionary.”
Increasingly, the media and many urbanists, who see a new generation of permanent renters as part of their dream of a denser America, also embrace this vision as being more environmentally benign than traditional suburban sprawl.
Our emerging new elites are allied in opposition to the rest of us. They don’t care about the social contract or upward mobility for the masses. They have, of course, forgotten about the pitchforks.