One-hundred years ago, moguls like J.P. Morgan were among the richest one-percent of Americans who possessed a third of the nation’s wealth. In comparison, modern-day plutocrats own over 80% of today’s wealth. This historical rise of wealth concentration has created alarmingly high levels of inequality and has triggered a breakdown in social cohesion that is rapidly transforming government into to a feudal state organized by money-which is just as dangerous as government organized by mob.
William Jennings Bryan aptly surmised that “Plutocracy is abhorrent to a republic; it is more despotic than monarchy, more heartless than aristocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It preys upon the nation in time of peace and conspires against it in the hour of its calamity. Conscienceless, compassionless and devoid of wisdom, it enervates its votaries while it impoverishes its victims. It is already sapping the strength of the nation, vulgarizing social life and making a mockery of morals. The time is ripe for the overthrow of this giant wrong.”
The undeniable truth is that wealth is a by-product of our democracy rather than its purpose. Therefore, a thriving middle-class is the source of American prosperity and not a consequence of it. We must reclaim the false notion, that the precedence and priorities of the middleclass are a threat to the privilege and power of the corporatocracy and the wealthy. If the country is to ever improve and ordinary citizens are to do better, we must adhere to these declarations and demand changes to the growing inequality in our economy- before we are confronted with an unprecedented era of civil unrest.