A Visual Reminder Of US Social Stratification

Tyler Durden's picture

While many watch the revolutions starting virtually on a daily basis in the "developing world", few are concerned that these have any chance of occurring in the United States: "our society is far more cohesive and far less stratified" the rebuttal logic goes. Is it? Over the past two years, the one social class that has received the most voluminous amount of opprobrium is the ubiquitously derogatory "bankster" which represents far more a wealth and income qualification, that a job description. Americans it appears are becoming increasingly sensitive to the stratification within our own society, even if on a subliminal level. And while we have repeatedly shown before in visual terms just how polarized US society is, it worth reminding every few months or so, that the US is rapidly becoming a banana republic not only in its approach to legislative and judicial matters (not to mention regulatory), but toward the distribution of income and wealth. Not that there is anything wrong with a stratified society: after all, that is the purest hallmark of a capitalist society. However when one introduces the basest elements of socialism (and, ostensibly, communism and fascism according to some) in its midst, then things get far more transparent and subjective. Below we once again bring to our readers attention, in easily digestible format, the dramatic schisms that continue to tear through the fabric of US society. And if there is anything that the revolutions in the Maghreb should have taught us by now is that extreme social polarization can only last for so long before a violent snapback restores equilibrium, usually through bloodshed and death.

Graphics courtesy of Mother Jones'

How Rich are the Superrich

A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn't reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.

Winners take it all

The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades' gains.

Out of Balance

A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.

Who's Winning

For a healthy few, it's getting better all the time.

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prophet's picture

Equal Bitchez!

Michael's picture

Free E-Book for ZH readers. Today Only.

Feudalism aka American Capitalism
by David F.

"The book presents overwhelming evidence that masquerading behind a democratic facade, an economic elite comprising less than 1% of the population is quietly and cunningly ruling America. Their immense wealth and power enable them to exercise so much control over the governmental process, that they effectively operate the country as a Feudal oligarchy. The book will leave little doubt that Government has been serving as a tool to subsidize and legitimize their exploitation of national and international resources, while legislative tax changes have left the nation with a Feudal wealth distribution system.

Presenting the evidence to substantiate this argument is not the main reason the book was written. Documenting the methods used by the elite to manipulate, control and exploit those with less money or power is the real purpose. At least 80% of the book is devoted to documenting their very effective methodology.

While it is evident that most people are somewhat aware that government appears to cater to corporations and influential lobby groups, the average taxpayer is practically oblivious to the extent to which the wealthiest 1% directly and purposely control and manipulate the lives and destinies of everyone else on the planet.

For those who have been brought up on a steady diet of the American Dream, but notice that today's reality and the American Dream seem to be growing further and further apart, it may be worth keeping in mind that if a frog is placed in a pan full of cold water, and the heat is turned up gradually enough, the frog will fail to sense the danger, and instead of jumping to safety, it could quite unknowingly allow itself to be cooked. In a similar fashion, the media continues to be used to desensitize and/or misinform the general public into repeatedly accepting domestic and foreign policies that are very often diametrically opposed to the best interest of the majority.

While the average American does have "a vague idea" that corporations (as well as the economic elite) use plenty of techniques for avoiding taxation; how many know that the proportion of Federal Income tax derived from Corporate income tax declined steadily from 32% in 1952; to 23% in 1960; to 17% in 1970; to a low of 9% in 1985? Without vital knowledge such as this, the public will remain in the dark as to what is really causing the decline in most Americans' standard of living. .

Although the growing deficit and the near trillion dollar banking industry losses will inevitably lead to continuing cuts in the standard of living for present and future generations, most Americans feel powerless to alter their deteriorating economic conditions, and simply take consolation in the belief that everyone else is also feeling the pinch."

Nothing could be further from the truth !


Rusty Shorts's picture

 - "don't ever tell anybody that they're not free "


Easy Rider explains why 'they' hate us.


asdasmos's picture



TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzrBurlJUNk


Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown.

 - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1645089/

 - http://www.sonyclassics.com/insidejob/


Inside Job download links:





(http://www.icefilms.info/ip.php?v=126424&) Movie Site


Wait 45 secs then download it. I provided a couple in case it gets taken down. You only need to download one.


Awards & Nominations:


Winner          Directors Guild Award               Outstanding Achievement in Documentary
Winner          New York Film Critic Circle         Best Documentary
Winner          National Board of Review          Top 5 Documentaries of the Year
Winner          Writers Guild Awards                Best Documentary Screenplay

Nominated     Academy Awards - Oscar           Best Documentary

Nominated     Critics' Choice Award                Best Documentary
Nominated     Producers Guild Award              Best Documentary
Nominated     American Cinema Editors Award Best Documentary Edited
Nominated     COFCA Award                          Best Documentary
Nominated     CFCA Award                            Best Documentary
Nominated     Gotham Awards                       Best Documentary
Nominated     Sierra Award                           Best Documentary
Nominated     OFCS Award                           Best Documentary
Nominated     PFCS Award                            Best Documentary
Nominated     SDFCS Award                          Best Documentary
Nominated     Satellite Award                       Best Motion Picture, Documentary
Nominated     WAFCA Award                         Best Documentary

Carl Spackler's picture

Wouldn't be as big an issue if all Americans were better savers of their income, just like the Japanese, Germans, and Chinese.

The only way you add wealth is by consuming less than you earn.

Saving, saving, saving and investing.

OS2010's picture

I agree.  Infectious Greed was/is not unique to the upper classes.

High Plains Drifter's picture

Many of these countries have one type of race in these prospective countries. We don't. Along with income disparity, we have racial differences.  Our societies are racially horizontally integrated now. In any civil unrest, could it make for trouble? You bet.

High Plains Drifter's picture

I don't think Greek police or Army units would ever fire on Greek people. But maybe this time, things over there will get more serious.

Michael's picture

Things just keep getting better and better.

"PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every one of its 1,926 teachers, an unprecedented move that has union leaders up in arms.

In a letter sent out to all teachers Tuesday, Supt. Tom Brady wrote that on Thursday the Providence School Board will vote on a resolution to dismiss every teacher, effective the last day of school."


Zero Govt's picture

who's going to miss State education? ...nobody.

who will miss the State if we rid ourselves of this parasitical institution? .....nobody.

You might miss a business going bankrupt but nobody misses your Govt going bankrupt. 

...Bring It On...

Bobbyrib's picture

"who will miss the State if we rid ourselves of this parasitical institution? .....nobody."

The state provides security against someone coming along and robbing rich people's houses. You may have guns, but I doubt the wealthy people in RI do.

Zero Govt's picture

not only is the State the biggest robber (tax, fines, duties) in society but it's also the most violent, particularly internationally. Regards house protection the State police are useless. Note how many businesses, retail, clubs and communities now have private security because whatever the State does is 3rd rate crap.

Govt is the problem, not the solution

Bobbyrib's picture

I'm not saying government is exactly the solution, but having zero government would lead us back to a time a lot like the Old West.

johnQpublic's picture

bobbyrib fail

'The state provides security against someone coming along and robbing rich people's houses'


incorrect....but they investigate after the fact

same with cameras, they prevent nothing,only aid in solving the crime


i have never seen cops out providing security in any neighborhood as a preventive measure...ever

riding bicycles,handing out tickets to people with their dogs off leash or writing speeding tickets yes

but even that does not prevent offleash dogs or speeding

and thats a police presence.....what the hell kind of security is that?

Bobbyrib's picture

After someone's car was broken into in my friend's neighborhood, cops were driving around looking for suspicious activity.

Troll Magnet's picture

our population is collectively too dumb to change however.  if anything, those in the bottom 90% will just turn on each other.  in fact, the bottom 90%ers are pitted against one another now.

Bobbyrib's picture


That's what is going on in Wisconsin. This is class warfare and the middle class has all but lost. The clock in ticking. I would add "American middle class" to the list of species in danger of going extinct.


Carl Spackler's picture

The lefties' class warfare tactic has been used since socialism invaded American shores from Europe.  It's old, tired, and doesn't work anymore, but the mainstream media loves the drama it may/may not portray.

A bigger problem is that the U.S. Constitution is based on providing the opportunity to make one's self do well in life or to see one's self fail trying. We get opportunity that people in other societies don't enjoy (e.g. France, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Venezuela, Cuba, Burma, North Korea, Iran).

The bigger problem is that government, driven by the ruling class' attempt to maintain their stanglehold on power (and stay in office), has traded away or disintegrated personal responsibility, legislated it away from this society.  Examples: TARP, FannieMae, FreddieMac, Planned Parenthood, Tim Geithner not paying his taxes and not going to jail, Goldman Sachs getting off easy, GM and Citibank receiving a get-out-of-bankruptcy-free card from the Obama Syndicate, WaMu and IndyMac, among others, failing without any regulatory intervention for unsafe/unsound banking practices.

However, personal responsibility is a glue that is integral to the American opportunity our founders laid out.  Without it, taking a risk to do better for one's self is not merited.  The payout odds don't match the risk taken, so the overall economy plateaus or even stagnates in the absence of innovation.  And, innovation is also driven by the risk/reward payoff behavior affected by personal responsibility.







Tapeworm's picture

I didn't junk you, but do we have to continue with the frog story?

 My girls are saddled with debts as I was. I am sixty, so they and their cohort can be really pissed ast me and mine. I never took a penny from any of the gombit rackets and did pay in gobs that I knew would never be paid back to me. I saved at rates of 20%-55% of my income to fund my business with some for retirement. Buying glod at sub 300 and slAg at sub 5 pisses off the employees that were lectured upon why I did it.

 Even so, the employees that have gotten a minimum of 12.5% of their gross as a contribution to their SEP IRA are getting killed from the bank bailout on the interest rate and the forward costs of redeeming worthless assets.


 I will have to shell out gobs to maintain my buildings this year. We are quite busy at this point, so there will be several that will be angry with me for having to take a larger portion of the company income to squander on roofs that are years past when they should have been replaced. My costs are launching at the same time that my employees are getting hit too.

 Twelve years of ragging on them about what was happening to them might get a grudging hearing. It is too late now.

 My daughters eventually hear me on just how screwed their age cohort is. That isn't quite here yet. I found out that my wife signed up a local hotel room for a baby shower thing for hers and mine first grandchild.

 The little bugger is going to be born with a debt of some ridiculously unpayable amount.

  I figured that out fifty years ago, and despise the goo more every year. My kids must overthrow the boomers and their tax consuming parents so that they and their progeny can have a chance at using their efforts for themselves and their urchins.

 The cumulative debt of the banksters and the "best generation" and the boomers is too much. It is time for a showdown and I am with the real workers of the younger generation.

 Feck the teecher's union of wisconsin. Goomint skools are the enemy of all that had to put up with their applications of "equality".

zhandax's picture

Nice try.  The entrepreneurs I know who post at 3:33 are concerned with something other than building maintenance.  Now go back to your bankster sponsors and tell them you failed.  Is Lloyd's favorite movie "Throw Momma from the Train"?  Yahoo is freely available for turning idiots against each other.

slewie the pi-rat's picture


flaggin and shaggin, with fagin.  a nod of salute to all who struggle in the personal realm for the realm of today.

check out this song:

YouTube - Paul Simon - The boy in the bubble

the cassette i'm holding says 1986.


spinone's picture

Actually, the frog jumps out when it gets too hot.  I tried it.

Dapper Dan's picture

Michael thank you for the link.  This book will be brought up at the next "council of men" in my community.

Council of men = Drinking beer under the carport with the guys in the neighbourhood until the wives tell us to come home.


majia's picture

Great job David. I can see how much work went into this. I'm currently working on a book project titled, "Neo-feudalism." I do believe this type of work is publishable but you need to go through an academic publisher, especially a smaller one like Pluto press that is independent.

techperson's picture

Publish it yourself.  The model is print on demand with Lightning Source (sub. of Ingram) and distribution through Amazon.  Use a 20% short discount.  Bookstores won't carry it, but they wouldn't anyway, and Amazon will sell it at 10% off list.  You don't have to inventory books.  See Survive The Great Inflation on Amazon.

FatFingered's picture

Frog soup, anyone?  Thanks Michael.

rlouis's picture

I've been looking for a good definition of feudalism that I could wrap my mind around - not some b.s. from the likes of Carroll Quigley or even the dictionary definitions based on medieval serfs/peasants pushing and pulling plows (behind a horse if they had one) or pledged military service.  So, I give this a 2 thumbs up - thanks

"Feudalism: control by an entrenched minority esp. for its own benefit : social, political, or economic oligarchy. "

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Those damn elitists that made capital available to anyone who cold make an X at historically low rates and the end result is an economic holocaust.


Otherwise the usual razor sharp points.

takeaction's picture

I am new here.....I would like your take on this video from Joe Rogan.  I think it applies to this entire thread..


Michael's picture

Welcome. Joe is great. Thanks for the link.

takeaction's picture

I didn't know if it was appropriate to post this.  It is graphic and is on point in my opinion!  Have been a "gawker" for quite some time here....great site.  Decided to dive in.

High Plains Drifter's picture

Did you really learn anything by listening to that ?  Probably not. He is telling you what you already know. This is one of my little fat buddy's(alexander bullhorn jones) hollywood pals isn't it?  Yes it is.  He is another one of these people that is sticking his nose in patriot business and nothing of importance will ever come out of his "discussions" as it is intended.

Michael's picture

I am going to laugh my ass off when the Iraqi and Afghan people rise up by the millions and drive the US troops out of their countries, just like they are doing with their dictators in North Africa and the Middle East. The assets of those countries belong to their people, not the oligarchs.

High Plains Drifter's picture

I wonder under the circumstances if Iraq had just surrendered in the first place and allowed the invasion to go on, unopposed, would it have made any difference? I say yes. For the beast lives off of death and destruction and when there is peace, it suffers. What would they have done if Saddam had said, fine, we surrender, we were wrong. Come in, my country is yours? What then?  No war to fight, no one to kill. Hmmm......

dark pools of soros's picture

remember Bush said mission accomplished after Iraq switched back to oil for dollars and currency reserves.... looks like the world didn't really get scared about that

they staged 9/11 to buy a decade of time...  what next? Nuke Iran? 

Ray1968's picture

The bottom 99% own nearly 100% of the firearms and ammo.

High Plains Drifter's picture

Bizarre isn't it?  So tell me. If you were a ruler, how would you control this problem?

Aristarchan's picture

Decree a chemical change in the composition of the propellant in ammo that would make it explode upon initiation by the primer. A small change is all it would take.

Antipodeus's picture

It already does - that's how firearms work, you know.  Now, if you could decree that steel (i.e. the barrel & chamber) no longer had the strength of steel, well THAT might work!



Michael's picture

1) Abolish the Federal Reserve.

2) Abolish the IRS.

3) Abolish The Department of Homeland Security.

I can think of a dozen other things but I'll leave it at the 3 big ones.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Dunno, massive propaganda? Militarize the police? Huge new Stasi-esque 'HomeLand Security' battalions? Huge third world immigration? There's many things I would do...

High Plains Drifter's picture

I am curious. Do you think this is a weakness that we can exploit or am I missing something , perhaps out of ignorance but what toys they may have?  Because you have got to know they know full well that Amerika is a armed camp. So I am thinking how would they deal with his in a civil unrest situation?  Food and water perhaps?

Michael's picture

They have already made preparations with the Continuity of government programs.

I don't think it will work because they didn't factor in the power of the Internet and cell phones back then.

Continuity of Government


Congressman Steve Cohen AKA Nathan Thurm


Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

They should tax posting inane drivel on the internet and nothing else.

GreenSideUp's picture

I really, really hate to contemplate it; gives me nightmares, but how to control an armed populace?  Let me count the ways...

Shut off power grid, water supply; food supply lines for starters; apply any number of poisons through any number of delivery methods, Shock-n-Awe, tactical nukes...

And unfortunately yes, I think there are people of no conscience in TPTB crowd that are evil enough to do any/all of these things should things get out of control.  That's why I'm an advocate of starving the beast, peaceful civil disobedience and laughing at and ignoring them and their stupid-azz rules & regs rather than starting a violent revolution.