These days, Americans like to believe they're much better off than the English ancestors of their Founding Fathers -- ancestors who were entrenched in a feudal system that prevented the upward social stratification of those on its lower end.
Believe it or not, Present-day America bears some startling similarities to those bygone days. Take a look:
In the English feudal system, a pyramid of power dictated life's terms almost universally.
People could move up and down the ladder of the feudal system through hard work (or the lack thereof), but serfs couldn't become kings under normal circumstances, and kings couldn't become serfs under any circumstances (a king might lose his head every now and then, but suffer the indignity of serfdom? Never!).
Finally, the Medieval feudal system relied on members of all castes displaying open allegiance to their superiors.
For those fortunate enough to have jobs, this may sound like a day at the office!
Let's be clear: America is a great place to live, and there are more opportunities in this country and more changes for success here than any other place in the world. And if it differers from Medieval England in any respect, it's that anyone can become president if he (or she!) works hard enough and is intelligent enough in the minds of his (or her!) fellow Americans. Our current president testifies amply to this point.
But while America is the best system of government Mankind has yet to produce, it is by no means perfect, and there are eerie similarities between modern-day America and Medieval England. One need look no further than the Congressional "cost of living allowance" built into the annual federal budget for proof. This underhanded mechanism casts a protective bubble over politicians by boosting their pay regardless of their performance without the bothersome attention of the public creating a stir. Thus, this small body of ruling class citizens perpetuates its social superiority and its financial predominance in perpetuity.
About.com's raging moderate, guest writer William Weiss, examines this practice in relation to the debilitating recession and the overall US economy.
From the article:
We live in a system of government that taxes the individual into poverty, then takes the tax money and re-distributes it to our “lords” -- those who operate the federal government. Peasants faced a similar struggle during the years of the early English feudal system. Your bad year was not the concern of your “lord.” The lord was paid either way.
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