America changed in the years since Wall Street made their power grab…excuse me…the Great Recession occurred.
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“Be firm, Russia loves to feel the whip, it’s their nature.”
—Czarina Alexandra Romanov, the last Empress of Russia
The above quote came from a letter that the Czarina wrote to her husband, Nicholas II.
Russia’s upper crust led quite the life back in the day. Palaces. Luxury cruises. The finest food and top-shelf drink for every meal.
The servants who waited on them hand-and-foot earned barely enough to live on. If a factory worker died on the job, the factory’s owners never worried about legal retribution. Farmers drove themselves to early graves managing the crop production on aristocrats’ estate farms.
From what I’ve read, 19th- and early-20th-century Russian aristocracy held great admiration for the peasant class. They saw a type of ingrained, natural strength in ordinary folk and would remark to each other that the levels of resilience in the common Russian were sights to behold.
This all worked out great for the fat-cats.
Right up until the moment that Czar Nicholas and Alexandra and their five children were rounded up, marched into a basement, and shot to death.
In the time before that night in July 1918 though, damn…
It must have been rad to feel like a bunch of he-men and superladies, 24/7. Since the peasant class thought of the Czar as an incarnation of the big G himself, the aristocracy could take even more advantage.
Then the aristocrats got booted.
Unfortunately, the country’s new management viewed the worker class like the old management did. Mirroring the aristocrats they replaced, the Bolsheviks thought the Russian peasantry loved to feel the whip as well.
Vladimir Lenin rocked worlds as a revolutionary leader. But once he got handed the keys to the palace, he ran Russia like an autocrat. Lenin brought a worker’s utopia to the people, all right. Only this vision of utopia came with rigid guidelines. Forgetting that long list of rules got a person killed.
(Russia’s Leninist era reminds me of investor-loving corporations who work their people to the bone and cut benefits offerings, but hold lavish, booze-heavy parties occasionally. I worked for one of these types of companies from 1999 to 2005. Memory lane…being forced to attend a “fun day” while a pile of work sat on my desk, put there by the same people who are now telling me to have the time of my life.)
Here’s the super-sucky part about the Bolshevik Revolution: Lenin died not long after taking over.
The man who replaced him, Josef Stalin, hoo-boy! Or, more correctly, pew-pew!
Stalin didn’t believe that the Russians loved to feel the whip. No-no-noooo.
He thought groups of them loved to feel getting shot en-masse and buried in mass graves. Though to his credit, a few years later Stalin beat back the Nazis. We’d be speaking German if it weren’t for the Soviet Union.
Stalin changed the country’s reality. Imagine two fellas walking down the road. Pointing out the sight ahead, one would remark to the other, “Hey comrade, is it me…or…or…didn’t that vacant village used to have a bunch of people living in it? Coulda sworn…”
In 2019, Vladimir Putin seems to be old-school and believes that Russians love to feel the whip.
You know what though? If Putin is right and the average Russian loves to feel the whip and wants to live life like an oligarch’s bitch, whatever. It’s their country.
I am concerned for America.
When I think about the transformation of the American workforce since the Great Recession, I get the idea that Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the rentier class want Americans to love the feel of the whip.
Call me crazy, but I think that a strong, vibrant middle class full of energized, optimistic people scares the living shit out of America’s investor class.
I am going to continue with a Part II for this blog piece which will look at the American landscape and the changes since the Great Recession. But one last thing, take a look at this graph. It shows the aggregate wealth.
The purple section? It represents just 1% of the income earners, the top 1%. The green section marks the next 9%. Look at their share of wealth in 1990 versus 2018.
Do you think this behavior is “normal”?
No way should America normalize the spike in income inequality.
To be continued.
Time for me to engage in some capitalism and pimp my book. Check out my new sci-fi story, Revolutionizer Alpha.
The Revolutionizer Stories. We are not alone.