In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx hypothesized that one day the working class (the proletariat) would rise up to flatten out a steep pyramid controlled by an infinitesimal ruling class (the bourgeoisie). With much of the Western middle-class feeling robbed, it’s not incredibly surprising that yesterday the Real Irish Republican Army threatened to attack London Bankers.
It’s hard not to imagine more anger spilling over when the juxtaposition between excess and struggle continues to become a bigger societal issue. For example, just yesterday the NY Post ran a Page Six feature on Wall Street workers and businesses who say greed is “back in vogue again”:
“[S]tylist Ariel Lawrence, who works with sharp hedge-funders and their ilk, says that this spring something clicked and people started reaching for their Centurion cards again, looking for the well-made suit that screamed bonus check.”
With food stamp recipients at a record high in the US and unemployment ravaging main street, I’m not sure whether the bourgeoisie will be perceived as pushing the limits. NY Post photographer Elizabeth Lippman offers a glimpse:
Students of history know that most revolutions were catalyzed when wealth disparities got completely out of whack. One of the genius components of a middle-class-based economy is its built-in support for peace and order. When the masses have food, shelter, water, and what’s perceived as a nice standard of living, there’s not much need for violence. When the masses have nothing to lose or feel desperate, social disorder is not far behind.
Last year Wall Street did the smart thing and made “discrete” the trend. If their animal spirits cannot stay under control, will those on Main Street remain tamed?